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

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message 1: by Alex (new)

Alex Winter | 7 comments I don't know if you could consider Stephen a "mock Christ" because of his own character. He is human and as humans we make mistakes.

As far as Stephen suffering because of others, I think that holds true for him. Although it doesn't show physically, Stephen is mentally and emotionally hindered by the way he was raised. His father, who is still somewhat of a mystery to me, seemed to have neglected him. Simon is stuck in the past and doesn't really spend a lot of time with Stephen. This is why Stephen hangs out so much with Uncle Charles.

Another thing to look at is the time period that Stephen lived in. Ireland was going through a tought fight for independence and the country's politics were a big issue. Because of this, Stephen may not have been able to do exactly what he wanted

Stephen definitely suffers because of other people, but I wouldn't compare him to Christ. He was in a battle with his faith the whole book and ultimately decided to abandon it. Plus, Christ sacrificed himself while Stephen didn't.

message 2: by Alex (new)

Alex Winter | 7 comments Just another thought, a little off topic:
On Pg.176, Cranly tells Stephen to go to the Easter service for his mother even though he doesn't have his faith anymore.

What would you all do in this situation? Would you just go to make your mother happy or would you stick to your guns?

It would be a tough decision for me, but I think I would go to the service. I have my beliefs, but it doesn't mean that I can't hear the views of others. Stephen's mother has suffered a lot because of Simon, so I think he should've gone just to make her happy.

message 3: by Allison (new)

Allison | 13 comments Good question Alex it reminded of something that happened to me the other day

SO I met some Mormon guys on my road- which is really weird my house is way out and they offered to take down my Christmas tree for me which was a bit creepy-


they kept asking me when they could show me around their church

and I said no thanks, my mom studied your religion and I dont believe it- although more polite then that

they kept drilling me though but I stuck to my guns and said no.

It is a hard situation but to quote Dumbledore "truth is generally preferable to lies" and stephen attending the Easter service would be a lie. I think stephen has had his eyes opened to the hypocrisy of the catholic church and that to return to it even for one service, after having had his childhood steeped in it, would be completely going against his beliefs. It would be a lie to his mother.

on the other hand, his poor mother has suffered and it I think it would have been a nice thing to bring his mother some scrap of comfort, and enduring one service would not sway his beliefs.

quite a dilemma I'm glad I'm not in it. Thanks Alex for bringing that up

message 4: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 5 comments Allison I totally respect you for sticking to your beliefs, but I feel like it'd be different to please your mother as opposed to pleasing two strangers, however nice they may be.

If it were my mother, I would probably go to the service as well. I do have my own beliefs, and I stay with them quite thoroughly but I feel like after having been put through so much Stephen's mother deserves at least one sitting through an Easter Service.

This kind of reminds me of my grandma and my cousin. My cousin is a Buddhist and really thinks differently than my strictly Catholic grandma. My family as a whole just tends to avoid ever telling my Grandma that my cousin is a Buddhist, and although my cousin has totally different beliefs than my Grandma, she will still put up with her thinking not because my cousin is weak in her religion, but she doesn't want to upset my grandma.

And to respond to the actual post, I agree with Alex. Although Stephen does suffer from others, in my eyes, I can't say that Stephen is a good parallel to Christ. Stephen was being held back considering the time and place, and just the general circumstances that he was in, but he doesn't ever show a truly significant sacrifice like Christ did.

message 5: by Allison (new)

Allison | 13 comments Good point Jessica about your family it really makes sense

yeah the mormon example I just wanted to share because it was pretty funny to me, and I agree with you about going to the service, as a favor for my mother even if she didnt suffer like Stephen's mom

message 6: by Alisa (last edited Jan 04, 2009 09:41PM) (new)

Alisa Padilla (alisaisthebest) | 7 comments I also agree with alex, you cant quite fully compare stephen to christ, while stephen has walked a path that has led him into mental suffering, it is in a different context to the pain that christ suffered. it was interesting when alex said

He was in a battle with his faith the whole book and ultimately decided to abandon it.

and then continued to say that stephen didnt sacrafice himself like christ did, but you could look at the situation and say that stephen did sacrafice in some ways, his lifestlye change during the fourth chapter was told as if stephen suffered emotionaly because of the sacrafices a priest makes.
While stephen couldnt make the exact same sacrafices as christ, the more i write the more i change my mind that he could be a candidate as a mock christ, not to the literal extent, but you know.
if i am wrong in my thinking tell me!

message 7: by Hanna (new)

Hanna | 7 comments Stephen doesn't seem to commit his life to other people, which I think is a primary legacy of Christ. However on the last page Stephen says, "I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race...Old father, old artificer, stand me now and ever in good stead." Is Stephen about to begin a life of leading people in a new direction: creating the "conscience of my race," and asks for God's, his father's, blessing?
I don't know--

message 8: by Riley (new)

Riley | 8 comments This is definitely a tough one, but I have to agree I don't really think that Stephen can be paralleled with Christ he didn't sacrifice himself for anyone and he doesn't seem to put others before himself the way that Christ did. But maybe we could consider him a mock Christ in a this world, only human sense, like the gravity of his actions won't have a huge impact on as many people but maybe he can have an impact on a smaller group of people, like Hanna pointed out, he might be beginning to lead people in a new direction...

message 9: by Zach (new)

Zach Moore | 5 comments Religion has become a greatly influential tool that critics compare and analyze to literature today. Whether the author is intentionally making a connection to particular themes in religion or not it seems that many people will find minor details or connections that can relate to a particular scene or character in religion. As for Stephen I didn’t find his character, or actions to relate to those of Christ. Alex brought forth a good point when he considered Stephens suffering to reveal similar characteristics to Christ. He is both emotionally and psychologically deterred by his childhood and relationship with important influences as a child. This internal struggle is prevalent especially towards the later part of the story when he is no longer child. The sufferings are bound by different pains, physical and mental, but even if the both were the same I still don’t think I would consider a correlation.

message 10: by David (new)

David Tennyson | 5 comments I truthfully cannot find a true connection to christ in this book. actually to Stephen to me trully represents a christian veiw of how the path of humanity went or is still going. So bear with me...

In the beginning Stephen was young and innocent, he did not really do anything wrong. he was looked down upon and though all was good. In the beginning Adam and Eve were holy and pure in the Garden of Eden they lived well and enjoyed happy and pure lives. God looked down and smiled.

Then there was temptation and our friend Stephen fell for it. after sleeping with a prostitute his whole world changed, he was cast out of his earlier existence and was thrown into a world of danger, sin and evil. he could never go back to the way it was before. Then there was temptation Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden fruit and were cast out of the paradise Eden. they were thrown into a world of danger, sin and evil. they were never allowed into the Garden for it was blocked by the angels of the All High.

Then came the speach and Stephen was reborn into a pias life and he was once again a child of god loved and "protected" by faith. Then came the Messiah and all men could once again embrace the Father and be protected from sin.

so i believe he does not represnt a christ fiquer he actually represents christ effect on man.

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