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.
His throat ached with a desire to cry aloud, the cry of a hawk or eagle on high, to cry piercingly of his deliverance to the winds. This was the call of life to his soul not the dull gross voice of the world of duties and despair, not the inhuman voice that had called him to the pale service of the altar. An instant of wild flight had delivered him and the cry of triumph which his lips withheld cleft his brain. (4.3.18)
The spiritual transformation that Stephen undergoes is tied here to a visceral sense of physical transformation as well – we have a brief and dazzling sensation that Stephen is turning into the wild, winged man of his imagination.
It is a curious thing, do you know, Cranly said dispassionately, how your mind is supersaturated with the religion in which you say you disbelieve. Did you believe in it when you were at school? I bet you did.
I did, Stephen answered.
And were you happier then? Cranly asked softly, happier than you are now, for instance?
Often happy Stephen said, and often unhappy. I was someone else then.
How someone else? What do you mean by that statement?
I mean, said Stephen, that I was not myself as I am now, as I had to become. (5.3.86)
The declaration that Stephen’s transformation was necessary indicates that perhaps the person he is now is who he was somehow destined to be all along.