Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Boy Takes Flight
A caterpillar must crawl, inch by inch, across the earth before it can mature, grow wings, and soar beautifully above the land in which it was born. So too, in James Joyce's A Portrait Of The Artist as a Young Man, must the central character, Stephen Dedalus, live a terrestrial life as that young man before he can take the skyward route of the artist. As the novel is in most respects autobiographical, the story recounts the rising (and successive falling, rising, falling) of James Joyce as a boy growing up in Ireland. Of significant interest, though, are the parallels that exist between the Greek myth of Daedalus (from which Stephen gets his surname), Stephen's own tale, and the political and social states of Ireland. All three face a conflict where being land-locked prevents them from their goal of freedom, and must make a change, or metamorphosis, in order to achieve that goal.
In Ovid's Metamorphoses, a man named Daedalus, an exile from Athens and a masterful craftsman, is imprisoned in the Labyrinth, a giant maze that he himself designed for Minos, the King of Crete. The Minotaur--a monster with half the body of a man, and half the body of a bull--ruled over this Labyrinth at one time. Understanding how wandering...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 763 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 5063 literature essays, 1531 sample college application essays, 195 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in