A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
by James Joyce
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Transformation Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Section.Paragraph). Within each chapter you will find unnumbered sections. These sections are separated by asterisks; in our citations, we’ve numbered these sections for simplicity’s sake.
He hoped there would be stew for dinner, turnips and carrots and bruised potatoes and fat mutton pieces to be ladled out in thick peppered flour-fattened sauce. Stuff it into you, his belly counselled him. (3.1.1)
In the midst of Stephen’s brief "I’m an Unrepentant Sinner!" phase, his soul is mired in sensuality. He’s reduced to a bestial state, and his thoughts are dominated by his body’s primal desires for sex and food.
A cold lucid indifference reigned in his soul. At his first violent sin he had felt a wave of vitality pass out of him and had feared to find his body or his soul maimed by the excess. Instead the vital wave had carried him on its bosom out of himself and back again when it receded: and no part of body or soul had been maimed but a dark peace had been established between them. (3.1.5)
Stephen is astounded to find that succumbing to sin hasn’t damaged his soul or body – as far as he can tell. But you get the sense that the "dark peace" between his body and soul is only a temporary truce.
But he could no longer disbelieve in the reality of love, since God Himself had loved his individual soul with divine love from all eternity. Gradually, as his soul was enriched with spiritual knowledge, he saw the whole world forming one vast symmetrical expression of God's power and love. (4.1.9)
Stephen’s immersion in Catholicism coaxes his cynical soul out of its doubt. He believes fully in the notion that the whole world is a simple and "symmetrical" forum for God’s love. This is all very nice, but it also seems suspect – where is the skeptical Stephen we’re used to?