A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
by James Joyce
Character Role Analysis
In her role as Stephen’s beloved, Emma is elevated and held at a distance. Emma, as conceived by Stephen, remains a remote and impossible ideal for the greater part of the book – we don’t see her in action until the last few pages. The concept of the beloved is so abstract for Stephen that we don’t even get a description of her beauties or inner qualities; Stephen’s "love" for her is so intellectualized and aestheticized that it’s practically theoretical.