This concept of home is massively important on two levels. First of all, the familial home is a constant source of instability and unhappiness throughout the book. The Dedalus family loses wealth and status throughout the novel, and they have to move around a lot to save money. Secondly, the uncomfortable idea of Ireland as home influenced both our protagonist and his real-life contemporary, Joyce. The novel asks us to examine how connected one should be to a homeland, especially when that homeland is trying to clarify its own political and cultural identity. That said, Stephen continues to reassert his Irishness in subtle ways, and he feels connected to his people even as he leaves – perhaps he’s even more connected to his people because he leaves. Chew on that for a while.
Stephen’s unstable home life makes it necessary for him to create his own identity, which is totally independent of his family.
For Stephen, art is essentially a tool to bring about social and political change.