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

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Stephen's Father

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message 1: by Alex (new)

Alex Winter | 7 comments What do you guys think about Stephen's dad? He isn't exactly the model Catholic and really digs his family into a huge hole.

In my opinion, Stephen's father influences his choices in life a lot. After seeing what happened with his dad, why would he want to be raised the same way? I think that Simon draws Stephen away from the Catholic church a little bit. Because of his dad's failures, Stephen has to be a little more independent and therefore creates his own views that are unlike those of his family.

Do you think that Stephen would have chosen a different path if his father was different?


message 2: by Kyle (new)

Kyle (knowlesey) | 5 comments To answer your question, yes i believe he would have chosen another path instead of going down the same one his father did.

I think Simons friends and brother were bigger role models in his life. For example..

Charles and Stephen’s day usually involved a walk through the town market place then onto the park where they would meet up with Mike Flynn, an old friend of Simon, Stephen’s father. Mike would put Stephen through his paces, as he wanted Stephen to be a good runner. After the exertions in the park Stephen and his uncle would often go to the chapel where Charles would involve himself in making ardent prayers presumably for the family."

Then Simon comes in a little bit...

"At the weekend, Stephen, Simon and Uncle Charles would participate in long walks"

So 2 out of the 7 days in week were spent with his father as 5 of the 7 were spent with Charles and Mike. Now you could make the argument that he was at work all the time, but then how did Charles and Mike make time for him? So i believe Stephen made his decisions based on what he learned from Charles and Mike, not Simon






message 3: by Alisa (new)

Alisa Padilla (alisaisthebest) | 7 comments That was a good idea Alex, looking at stephens father to understand the path he has taken and what justifies it. Stephen takes the path of his father even while he isnt the perfect catholic follower, because maybe that is all he has known. I believe that the role a father plays in a childs life, especially a young mans life is critical. It seems that Stephens father is dragging him back because he represents stephens past of sinful days and he feels that to get away from this past he must become pure. This is the only way i can find that explains why Stephen chooses the life he did.


message 4: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 5 comments I pretty much entirely agree with Alisa. The role of a father is one that is the most influential in a young boys life. What a young man sees from his birth becomes all that he knows. So Stephen wouldn't know another path from his fathers, because it has been all he has ever seen. But on the other hand, there are instances where a child sees what their parent is and strives to be the opposite of that. But this is definitely not one of those cases.

I do believe that if Stephen's father had been different then Stephen would have chosen a different path because his father would have influenced him in a different way.


message 5: by Tia! (new)

Tia! (tiapia) | 6 comments I think Stephens dad is a total idiot.
When stephen's family is running low on money Stephen and simon take a trip to Cork and there relationship is totally ruined after that.

At Cork Simon sells a property for a lot of money and to celebrate take a trip to a bar.

First off taking your son to a bar doesn't sound like a very fatherly thing to do, and Catholicism doesn't endorse getting drunk, especially encouraging your son to get drunk with you.

At the bars Simon runs into his friends and starts to talk about his memories with them, and while doing so he spends all the money from selling the property on drinking.

Stephen watches his drunk father brag about all the things he had done with his life. He also begins to talk about how much better he is then his son.

After seeing his father at the bar Stephen looses all the respect he had for him. Any relationship they had was destroyed. He was mean and rude and embarrassing. Stephen says about his father during that night..

PG 242 "A medical student, an oarsman, a tenor, an amateur actor, a shouting politician, a small landlord, a small investor, a drinker, a good fellow, a story-teller, somebody's secretary, something in a distillery, a tax-gatherer, a bankrupt and at present a praiser of his own past. "


message 6: by Riley (new)

Riley | 8 comments I definitely agree with Alisa, Jessica and Tia. A child's parents are the most influential people in a person's life, kids spend the majority of their childhood with their parents, observing their actions. Young kids are like sponges picking up on everything they observe, even if they don't full understand it. I don't think that Stephen's father was a very good influence, he wasn't a responsible man in the slightest and didn't set a good example for his son. Maybe if he had been a better role model and taught Stephen what was right and wrong he wouldn't have committed such great sins.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

I do think that parents, (especially the father for a young boy) are the most influential people in a child's life. I think that after Stephen becomes disillusioned with Simon, it would be natural for him to reject what Simon stands for--namely, someone who is to an extent stuck in the past. Stephen's father is enraptured (for lack of a better word) with things that Stephen sees as holding himself back. If Simon represents the past, and Stephen the future, then Stephen kind of resents Simon's hold him, not as a father, but as a person very concerned with things that hinder Stephens progress. Even though Simon is not a "traditional" Irish Catholic, he still represents that sentimental portion of society.


message 8: by 唐柏翰 (new)

唐柏翰 (ddrmaniac300) | 5 comments When you ask if Stephen would have chosen a different path had his father been different, the answer will surely be "Yes." The focal point of the idea behind the question is, rather, how Simon influenced Stephen's life as a father. Now, suffice to say, parents are single-handedly the most influential component of a person's life, whether the child spent a lot of time with his or her parent or not. In this case, Stephen got to look at two different lifestyles: the independent life, and that of his father. Because Stephen spent so much time away from home, growing up at school, he established a daily independent routine, that he felt was his own life. When it came to spending time with his father, he obviously felt alienated by his father's personal habits, and this distanced the patriarchal connection. The extreme disconnection and discomfort, I believe, furthered Stephen's preferences of an orderly and "good" life.


message 9: by Heather (new)

Heather (ilikepiealot316) | 4 comments Parents are definitely a major part of what influences a child in their earlier years. After hearing his father rant on about different events and such in his younger life, Stephen seems to go into a state of shock, " he could respond to no earthly or human appeal, dumb and insensible to the call of summer and gladness and companionship, wearied and dejected by his father's voice." (pg. 65)
This seems to be one of the turning points in Stephen's life. I can really relate to Stephen when he goes through this, since I also am the offspring of a man who causes his family much grief but can still boast about the most arrogant things. As a child, it is harder to want to become your own person, but Stephen is at a point where he wants to find his own way in life and not turn into a man like his father.


message 10: by David (new)

David Tennyson | 5 comments I believe that his father played a huge impact on his life and his desicions. I say this from reading the book and from personal expierence. Parents no matter how close or distant always play a definite role in the life of a child. For example with his father driving them into debt and drags his family down around him. Even as a child he knew he could not become his father. And this is shown as Stephen grows up. While his father was the perfect example a ball and chain holding back everyone around him, Stephen finds his own path and excels.


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