01 August 2008

Sin in Portrait of an Artist

I'm not sure whether people have delved into Portrait of an Artist, but I'd like to discuss sin and the religious extremism portrayed in the novel.  Although I haven't finished the novel, I would like to discuss religion in the first few chapters.  Stephen appears to be tortured by his ideal of religion and the religion that surrounds him.  Although he fears sin, he goes against his moral upbringing and still sins.  It's almost like he has a dual side to his personality.  He tries to be over pious and christian, which leads him to denounce Christianity and give into his desires.  I'd like to pose a question to the class:  Is Joyce making a commentary on religion extremism, and if so, what are the pitfalls for a young man such as Stephen?  How does this yo-yo between sin and morality help carve his identity later on in the novel?  

1 comment:

Snehal said...

Religion is constitutive of Joyce's (and Stephen's) identity as a writer, both in his being influenced by it and in his reaction to it. There are other forces in the novel which produce similar reactions: family, politics, the English language. You might want to consider the encounter with religion in the context of the development of an artist (how much of his language and his form are dependent on his religious past).