A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
How we cite our quotes:
I can't understand you, said Davin. One time I hear you talk against English literature. Now you talk against the Irish informers. What with your name and your ideas - Are you Irish at all? (5.1.110)
Stephen himself is grappling with this question. He feels the weight of English oppression but can’t connect to the Irish nationalist cause – the reality of his Irishness is impossible to avoid, but confusing nonetheless.
– Look here, Cranly, he said. You have asked me what I would do and what I would not do. I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it call itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use – silence, exile, and cunning. (5.3.112)
Here, finally, Stephen demonstrates a clear and precise understanding of who he is at that exact moment. He is defined by his artistic goals and by his idealistic ambition to be true to his beliefs. However, do we, like Cranly, think he’s being too coldly idealistic?