PHS AP Lit: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man discussion

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chapter 4 disucssion topic

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message 1: by Hanna (new)

Hanna | 7 comments I agree that the water symbolizes baptism, rebirth as an artist. The water is also like him flowing on into a new life: the rivulet on the beach flows to the intangibly deep and wide ocean: from the small, constricted world of the church and school to the whole world out there. "There was a long rivulet in the strand: and as he waded slowly up its course...a new wild life was singing in his veins" In the presence of the ocean's vastness Stephen is inspired to go out into the world--explore, experience and develop new ideas. "There was a lust of wandering in his feet that burned to set out for the ends of the earth."
The setting of the seashore is pure and full of light, reflecting the rebirth, baptizing theme: twice Joyce describes "lightclad figures" the sound of the shore is angelic: "gayclad lightclad figures of children and girls and voices childish and girlish in the air."
The girl he sees in this heavenly setting is like a spirit: he cries out "in an outburst of profane joy...singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him" This is like a new religion--as you said, a religion of beauty--opposite to his old one, Catholicism, this one is full of light, happiness, love. The bells "faint bells of sleep" celebrate his rebirth. Stephen is more passionate than he has ever been.
Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead--this goes along with the theme of rebirth.
Although, this deed led to the decision that Jesus must be killed.


message 2: by Riley (new)

Riley | 8 comments I too agree that Stephen is being baptized in this passage- pages 122 through 124. I think that Stephen is feeling like he is ready for a new life, he has a "flame in his blood." (pg. 122)which to me represents the sins he has committed, it seems as if he has some lingering regret and that is being sybolized by the "flame" a recurring image of hell. Another thing i noticed was the way he described the ocean with its "emerald and black" seaweed and its "drak and endless drift" (pg.122). Stephen used to be afraid of the darkk and everything concerning it, but now he speaks of it with an excitment, of "a new wild life" "singing in his veins" (pg. 122). He is no longer afraid he is ready for a new life and what it has instore for him; he has lost his fear of the unknown.

After he is baptized, I agree that Stephen creates a new religion, one of beauty. He describes the "woman" in a awed tone, he is amazed with her beauty, but not in a way to want to commit sin with her but as he now sees everything in his life, beautiful. Stephen sees life as beautiful, he is happy now with a good outlook about things.


message 3: by 唐柏翰 (new)

唐柏翰 (ddrmaniac300) | 5 comments This may seem like a "Me, too!" response, but I also agree with the baptism imagery. The water acted as a way to cleanse his soul and emotion from its previous turmoil. "His body was aglow" and "no word had broken the holy silence of his ecstasy." This sight provoked a "sudden realization" type of experience where his inner state of being had completely turned 180 degrees. Stephen was invigorated with a new, unfamiliar life experience to which he wanted to calm the "riot of his blood." This new feeling essentially catapulted him into a state of metamorphosis, to which his rest would allow for the renewing to settle in its new body.

The rising soul of the second question ties into the imagery of transcendence created by the water/baptism. This mindset of transcendence and uprising is only solidified by his newfound sight, or even quite possibly enabled this realization to occur. His newfound "religion of beauty" as you so put it is his way of putting his thoughts of the inner good into his own life's context. It's most certainly a "mind over matter" situation where he now sees the world, as a whole, to be a beautiful creation of God.


message 4: by David (new)

David Tennyson | 5 comments Oh no another person is agreeing. well crap i gave it away. I too agree with the baptism image. it is a theme used throughout the entire story. but in the case of him seeing the girl in the water it is more of an anti-baptism. he is finding his salvation away from Christ and the faith. it is kinda twisted in that regard but whatever. Go REBELS!!! Any way he seems to find his comfort zone in the middle of the two extremes. instead of being completely holy or a pityfull masturbating bastard he simply enjoys the beauty of life. so of all these changes this "baptism" is the most important


message 5: by Luiz (new)

Luiz da Motta (clavileo) | 1 comments In deed the water may symbolize baptism. No doubt that there's nothing casual in this book. But I didn't intend to scrutinize every metaphor. While I was reading, I just admired all those amazing images Joyce has created.


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