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"Joyce's fictional recreation of himself. Stephen is the hero of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and all events of the book are filtered through his consciousness. He is extremely sensitive and imaginative, and we watch as he develops into a fiercely independent young man. He is the oldest son of Simon and Mary Dedalus, Irish Catholics with ten other children. Because of his intellectual gifts and his position as the oldest child, the family scrapes together enough money to pay for his education. Stephen is an extremely dynamic character. Although he keeps the core traits of imaginativeness and sensitivity throughout his life, Stephen evolves from a shy, almost awkward boy to a brave and brilliant young man. He finally comes to realize that Ireland is a trap for him, and that he must escape the bonds of family, religion, and country if he is to be able to create."