Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Religious Elements of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit College

Religious symbols, narratives, and language play prominent roles in both A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. In the Portrait, religious symbols and language permeate the consciousness of Stephen, such that his spiritual and physical experiences are inextricably entwined. While Stephen attempts to deny and distance himself away from the dominant discourses provided by the state and religion, his artistic sensibility is ultimately entrenched in the language of religion. In Oranges, through the retelling of biblical myths and fairytale stories, Jeanette liberates herself from the hold of narratives that entrap her in a system of patriarchy, fundamentalist religion and heterosexuality. In doing so, Jeanette opens the text to a fluidity of interpretations, which results in a destabilization in the narratives of fairytales and biblical texts. As such, she has succeeded as an artist where Stephen has yet to succeed, in her use of narratives and language to subvert dominant discourses such as religion.

In the Portrait, the religious and sacred associations are “reshuffled” (Akoi 301) with the secular and physical associations. Spirituality and physicality becomes inextricably intertwined, as seen...

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