Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Portrait of the Artist -- Chapters 4 and 5

Post your comments about the last two chapters of the novel here. This would be a good place, once you've finished the book, to record your final thoughts about motifs and repeated symbols that have persisted throughout the book, and to try to formulate a theme.



Blogger Dayna Z said...

Since I wasn't in class on Friday the 2nd, this is my ticket for that day:

“It needed an immense effort of his will to master the impulse which urged him to give outlet to such irritation. Images of the outbursts of trivial anger which he had often noted among his masters, their twitching mouths, closeshut lips and flushed cheeks, recurred to his memory, discouraging him, for all his practice of humility by the comparison. To merge his life in the common tide of other lives was harder for him than any fasting or prayer, and it was his constant failure to do this to his own satisfaction…” (145-146).

Everyone needs an outlet for whatever strong emotions they feel, and some people find this release by creating art. Yet while Stephen tries so hard to live a sacred life in Chapter 4, he denies himself the opportunity to do what he naturally needs to do to be happy. The fact that he has to use “an immense effort” to restrain himself from acting on his emotions shows that that action is probably not good for him. If a decision does not feel good, it is usually the wrong one, so although Stephen believes he should swallow his true self for the sake of living a sacred life, this probably will not be good for him in the end.

This is also probably why he decides not to become a priest later in the chapter – he notices how the priests have developed twitches to suppress their feelings, and he understands that he could not live that holily for an entire lifetime. I also just wanted to point out that he talks about merging his life “in the common tide,” which again uses the water imagery we keep discussing in class, and also demonstrates that he has difficulty conforming, as most artists do.

Sun Feb 04, 07:58:00 PM 2007  
Blogger MeganF said...

This is my ticket for class on Wednesday the 7th.

I found it very interesting that the book ends in first-person narrative point of view. This could represent Stephen finally becoming his own person and realizing what he truly believes in. Instead of quoting others who inspire him like Aristotle and Aquinas he develops his own theories.

By the end of the book Stephen is finally at peace with himself. This is later proved when he comes in face to face contact with Emma and is able to close that chapter in his life. "Then in that case, all the rest, all that I thought I thought and all that I felt I felt, all the rest before now, in fact...O give it up old chap! Sleep it off!" This quote allows Stephen to move on with his life and no longer be tormented by women. He is able to make a personal encounter which portrays women as actual humans instead of idols to be questioned.

Wed Feb 07, 09:50:00 AM 2007  

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