Study Guide

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Three Act Plot Analysis

By James Joyce

Three Act Plot Analysis

Act I

Act I wraps up as Stephen leaves the Whitsuntide play in a tizzy (Chapter Two), thus ending the first period of his childhood, and launching his restless quest for identity.

Act II

Father Arnall’s brutal series of tirades about hell and Stephen’s consequent religious crisis (Chapters Three and Four) mark the end of Act II, as he begins his super-pious (and markedly unartistic) period.

Act III

With Stephen’s epiphany at the seaside at the end of Chapter Four, we see him finally find an answer to his questions of identity and self-knowledge, thus setting him on the path to… his ultimate destiny.

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