A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
by James Joyce
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Youth 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.
No life or youth stirred in him as it had stirred in [his father and his friends]. He had known neither the pleasure of companionship with others nor the vigour of rude male health nor filial piety. Nothing stirred within his soul but a cold and cruel and loveless lust. His childhood was dead or lost and with it his soul capable of simple joys and he was drifting amid life like the barren shell of the moon. (2.4.21)
After the realization that the world, like his imagination, is full of corrupt and sinful things, Stephen feels a cold alienation and brutal lust. This is the point at which he feels his childhood innocence leave him; from this point in the chapter, it’s inevitable that he must succumb to his lustful thoughts.
A dim antagonism gathered force within him and darkened his mind as a cloud against her disloyalty and when it passed, cloud-like, leaving his mind serene and dutiful towards her again, he was made aware dimly and without regret of a first noiseless sundering of their lives. (4.3.4)
Stephen’s childhood actually starts to crumble and fall away here. Even though he feels like he already left it behind in his sinning period, there were still vestiges of his childlike self in his relationships to his family and to religion. Now, though, he even begins to break away from his mother’s expectations.
His soul had arisen from the grave of boyhood, spurning her grave-clothes. Yes! Yes! Yes! He would create proudly out of the freedom and power of his soul, as the great artificer whose name he bore, a living thing, new and soaring and beautiful, impalpable, imperishable. (4.3.20)
We get the Christ-like image of the new Stephen rising from the grave of boy Stephen, finally certain of his fate. Will Stephen become his own savior?