Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Essay

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Portrait of Artist

Although told from the perspective of a young white male, Joyce Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is based on feminist principles. Dedalus actively breaks free from the confines of restrictive social norms, including those related to sexuality and sexual identity. The structure of the novel is itself liberating and liberalizing: a stream of consciousness that is a far cry from the rigid, linear hierarchies of patriarchy. At the same time, Joyce's novel also conforms to gender stereotypes. For example, Dedalus idolizes and romanticizes female beauty. His childhood socialization was strongly gender segregated as he recalls how "the wide playgrounds were swarming with boys," (chapter 1). Dedalus's internalizations of his parents' voices also highlight the strict gender norms that characterize and constrain Irish society during the time in which Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is set.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Essay on Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Assignment

Religion is an especially problematic institution in Dedalus's life. An inherently patriarchal institution, the Catholic Church is a guiding force in Dedalus's life. Even as the protagonist struggles to balance his desire for spiritual salvation with his desire for physical gratification, Dedalus cannot escape the power the Church has over his conscience and consciousness. The Church and its abnegating teachings have a particularly strong impact on Dedalus's coming of age. Dedalus's transition from boyhood to adulthood is mitigated by the Church teachings on the horrors of sex and the human body. The liberation of Dedalus by his own volition is a powerful feminist statement, but one that would be more fairly executed with a female protagonist. A male protagonist breaking free of social norms has far less transformative value than a female who succeeds at the same.

The role of women in The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is particularly problematic. Dedalus's first sexual encounters… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.  (2011, October 15).  Retrieved October 31, 2020, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/portrait-artist-young-man/719771

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"Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man."  Essaytown.com.  October 15, 2011.  Accessed October 31, 2020.