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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

by James Joyce

Dissatisfaction Quotes

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Quote #10

His thinking was a dusk of doubt and self-mistrust, lit up at moments by the lightnings of intuition, but lightnings of so clear a splendour that in those moments the world perished about his feet as if it had been fire-consumed; and thereafter his tongue grew heavy and he met the eyes of others with unanswering eyes, for he felt that the spirit of beauty had folded him round like a mantle and that in revery at least he had been acquainted with nobility. But when this brief pride of silence upheld him no longer he was glad to find himself still in the midst of common lives, passing on his way amid the squalor and noise and sloth of the city fearlessly and with a light heart. (5.1.12)

Joyce describes the process of thinking and revelation in such beautiful detail here that it’s practically worth noting just for that. We see Stephen’s philosophical adventures as a series of intellectual transformations that impact him profoundly. Stephen is finally able to reconcile his interior world with the outside one a little better, and the everyday dissatisfaction of earlier chapters is gone.

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