05 August 2008

Stream of consciousness

The style in which Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is written has a different feeling in its stream of consciousness. I am comparing it to the type of stream of consciousness found in Mrs. Dalloway. In Mrs. Dalloway I would be reading and the point of view would jump from one person into another. It's as if you could jump into other characters' minds for that moment and listen to what they were thinking. We are privy to many opinions and ideas.
The emphasize changes in the Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man to one person, Stephen. Although I have not finished Portrait, we are primarily in Stephen's mind then out. When we are out of his head we get descriptions of what is happening around him. It seems like we are looking at the world through his eyes.
I don't know which style I like better but both are challenging to read. One last thought, I wonder if the gender of the writer had an influence on the way the stream consciousness was written. I know Woolf wanted to write a book in the manner in which a woman would think. Did Joyce have the same motivation? Did he want to model his writing after the thinking of a young man?

1 comment:

Richard Rossi said...

I don't know that the gender issue would ever have occurred to Joyce but I think he was trying to write from Stephen's point of view in every period of his life. I'm not sure that this is true stream of consciousness writing, certainly not when you compare it with "Ulysses." Joyce very definitely filters what thoughts we are privy to in "Portrait." In "Ulysses" he not only gets inside the head of his character but virtually stands back and lets us experience everything that passes through the character's mind without any kind of filter.

Here's a passage I found online from Chapter 4 in "Ulysses." there's nothing like it in "Portrait."

He crossed to the bright side, avoiding the loose cellarflap of number seventyfive. The sun was nearing the steeple of George's church. Be a warm day I fancy. Specially in these black clothes feel it more. Black conducts, reflects (refracts is it?) the heat. But I couldn't go in that light suit. Make a picnic of it. His eyelids sank quietly often as he walked in happy warmth. Boland's breadvan delivering with trays our daily but she prefers yesterday's loaves turnovers crisp crowns hot. Makes you feel young. Somewhere in the east: early morning: set off at dawn, travel round in front of the sun, steal a day's march on him. Keep it up for ever never grow a day older technically. Walk along a strand, strange land, come to a city gate, sentry there, old ranker too, old Tweedy's big moustaches, leaning on a long kind of a spear. Dander through awned streets. Turbaned faces going by. Dark caves of carpet shops, big man, Turko the terrible, seated crosslegged smoking a coiled pipe. Cries of sellers in the streets. Drink water scented with fennel, sherbet. Wander along all day. Might meet a robber or two. Well, meet him. Getting on to sundown. The shadows of the mosques along the pillars: priest with a scroll rolled up. A shiver of the trees, signal, the evening wind. I pass on. Fading gold sky. A mother watches from her doorway. She calls her children home in their dark language. High wall: beyond strings twanged. Night sky, moon, violet, colour of Molly's new garters. Strings. Listen. A girl playing one of those instruments what do you call them: dulcimers. I pass.