Mythology Explored in Joyce's Portrait Research Proposal

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Mythology Explored in Joyce's

Portrait of the Artist as a Young ManGet full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Research Proposal on Mythology Explored in Joyce's Portrait of the Assignment

Mythology plays a significant role in James Joyce's novel, a Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, as the protagonist in the story searches for significance. By utilizing the mythology of Daedalus, Joyce emphasizes the journey of Stephen, who must break free from the prison in which he lives and strike out to find new ground that allows him to fully embrace who he actually is. Stephen can only achieve this when he escapes from the prison of the life that has held him prisoner for so long. Through images and symbolism, Joyce illustrates how Stephen is much like the mythological character that must break free from where he is imprisoned to discover new life. Stephen's prison is his home life, his school life, his friends, and his family. This fact is compounded by the fact that he lives in Ireland. Daedalus, too, is imprisoned on an island and must resort to his own devices to break free. Symbolism of birds associated with Daedalus represent Stephen's flight toward freedom, which is finally realized at the end of the story. Joyce utilizes mythology to establish a presence of xxx throughout the novel and to the most obvious parallel in the novel is Stephen's last name, Dedalus. This reference operates as a symbol as Stephen begins searching for his identity. The first chapter establishes the mood and tone for the novel with this parallel and symbol as we learn about Stephen, the young boy that is embarking upon his journey to self-discovery. Dedalus parallels Daedalus in that the myth of Daedalus is one of escape and discovery. Daedalus is a smart man and a great artist. As a result of his art, he suffers. The ultimate plan is to escape captivity on Crete and this is the only way to any sort of freedom. On the island, there is oppression. In a Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Stephen encounters figures of authority at an early age and his desire is to escape from them. The first forms of authority in Stephen's life appear in the form of his parents, Dante, and his uncle. Later in his life, he yearns to be free from his friends and teachers because of their expectations of him. Stephen is similar to Daedalus in that he wants to be free from his immediate surroundings. This intense desire manifests itself through rebellion in Stephen's early years. As he grows up, this changes into a more intense desire for freedom. The only escape for Daedalus was by air and the only escape for Stephen is to leave the island on which he was captive. For Stephen, the realization that he must leave his homeland becomes clear at the end of the novel.

Aspects of Stephen's behavior are associated with Daedalus' flight. For example, he is rebellious because he feels as though he must preserve his values as they stand in opposition to everyone else's values. It is interesting to note that even as he attempts to discover more about himself, he feels the need to conform. This notion can be traced back to Daedalus, who is trapped on an island on which he does not want to be. Stephen experiences isolation even when he is at school and surrounded by other people. We read that while he is at school, his friends are "talking together in little groups here and there on the play ground. The fellows seemed to him to have grown smaller" (Joyce 41). They sound like crickets when they speak to him and their voices are like "drops of water in a fountain" (41). Here we see Stephen's early attempt to break free from his surroundings. Since he is not completely able to walk away from school, his distances himself in a form of psychological isolation. This isolation is associated with the isolation that Daedalus felt on Crete. In addition, Stephen's interaction with his schoolmates early in the novel leaves a lasting impression on him. The experience is one that he wishes he could escape. It begins with a confrontation in… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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