Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
"Excuse Bad Writing Am In Hurry": Joyce's Women in Dubliners, Portrait, and Ulysses
Joyce's depiction of women is characterized by a high degree of literary self-consciousness, perhaps even more so than in the rest of his work. The self-consciousness emerges as an awareness of both genre and linguistic expectations. contrasting highly self-conscious, isolated literary men (or men with literary aspirations) with women who follow more romantic models, even stereotypes. In Dubliners, Joyce utilizes a clichéstory of doomed love ending in death-physical or spiritual-in "A Painful Case" and "The Dead." The former holds far more to these conventions and can be read as a precursor to the more sophisticated techniques in the latter, which draws the reader's attention to the clichénly to redirect it. Nevertheless, it is Joyce's handiwork here, his subversion of genre, that takes the main stage, and the women in the stories do fade into the background. In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, he again literalizes a stereotype, the Madonna/whore binary, showing women as nuns, long-suffering wives, or prostitutes. But this division also serves to highlight one of Stephen Dedalus's primary battles, between Ireland and exile, family and freedom, which results in a call to writing away...
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