Thursday, March 27, 2008

Protrait Of An Artist As A Young Man

Feminism composes a number of social, cultural and political movements, theories and moral philosophies concerned with gender inequalities and equal rights for women. Feminist theory aims to understand gender inequality and focuses on gender politics, power relations, and sexuality. Women’s writing developed in response to the belief that woman’s lives and contributions to society have been unappreciated by men as areas of scholarly interest. Feminist language is “Semitic” not “Symbolic” blends in with the relation between a mother and a child. This theory is illustrated through out the novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The main character Stephen struggles with identifying women as being a sex symbol rather then an individual and struggles with understanding the relationship between women and the Catholic Church. Stephen struggles to decide whether he should be loyal to his family, his church, his culture of Ireland and his involvement between him self with females and transform his personality in to being an artist.
Stephen values women as a sex symbol and considers them as virgins or strumpets. He fantasizes about Mercedes and other women to repress his emotions and longings to be with his mother. He uses women to escape into a fantasized world in order to prevent him self from sinning through sexual intercourse psychically but not mentally. He begins to isolate from other women due to the power that women portray over him. This case study is proven in the article of The Bird-Girl: Aesthetic Muse when it state…..
In sociological terms this attractive young women, approached and courted, might well threaten Stephen with the kind of domestic entrapment associated with Catholic marriage. The aspiring poet knows that he may look but not touch, admire but not speak (319).
Stephen does not want to commit sexually contact with them but feels as though he’s bringing shame on to their name by daydreaming about these women in a sexual manner. However, Stephen is some how dawn back to these women for comfort and warmth. When Stephen’s friend, Davin, speaks of his encounter between him and the prostitute who was home alone, Stephen seems to have sympathy for the women.
She was half undressed as if she was going to bed when I knocked and she had her hair hanging: and I thought by her figure and by something in the look of her eyes that she must be carrying a child. She kept me in a talk a long while at the door and I thought it strange because her breast and her shoulders were bare. She asked me was I tired and would I like to stop the night there. She said she was all alone in the house and that her husband had gone that morning to Queenstown with his sister to see her off. And all the time she was talking, Stevie, she had her eyes fixed on my face and she stood so close to me I could hear her breathing. When I handed her back the mug at last she took my hand to draw mw in over the threshold and said: Come in and stay the night here. You’ve no call to be frightened. There’s no-one in it but ourselves….. I didn’t go in, Stevie. I thanked her and went on my way again, all in a fever. At the first bend of the road I look back and she was standing in the door. The last words of Davin’s story sang in his memory and the figure of the woman in the story stood forth reflected in to her figures of the peasant women whom he had seen standing in the doorways at Clane as the college cars drove by, as type of her race and his own, a bat like soul walking to the consciousness of itself in darkness and secrecy and loneliness and, through the eyes and voice and gesture of a women without guile, calling the stranger to her bed (Joyce 160).
Through out this passage the reader can see how Stephen relates and understands the emotions of the women that are the college boys interact with. Each women and Stephen have similar traits that combine them. Stephen uses these women to fulfill in the void of loneliness with out the affectionate of his mother mean while the women fill in the void of unhappiness while their husbands are a way due to working to provide for their family. So therefore it’s as if their fulfilling each others missing parts of their souls. At the end of the message it seems as if Stephen is forming a passionate connection with these women that are committing adultery. It’s as if he wanted to be with his own kind.
Stephen, as a young boy is transforming in to adulthood. He demonstrates the stages that Stephen goes through by symbolizing and through imagery and reflects Stephen’s growth through his structured, description sentences that share the concepts of Stephen thoughts and values on life. Joyce’s purpose of the passages is to conceive the reader’s attention on how the character is changing and why he chooses to change his ways. In the beginning of the book Stephen portrays himself as being immature and still a child who is having difficultly in developing his own personality but as time goes on he matures and develops a mature, adult personality and wishes that he wasn’t so young minded. From theses two massages, James Joyce demonstrates the phases of growth between Stephen’s yearly childhood and now entering puberty and adulthood.
In the beginning of the first stages of Stephen’s growth, He is portrayed to being immature and childish when showing passionate emotions towards his mother. His classmates make fun of Stephen when he confesses to them that he does kiss his mother. He then tells them that he does not kiss his mother. However either direction of answers, he is denied of acceptance and is considered a laugh.
-Tell us, Dedalus, do you kiss your mother every night before you go to bed?Stephen answered:-I do.
Wells turned to the other fellows and said:
- O, I say, here’s a fellow says he kisses his mother every night before he goes to bed.
The other fellow says he kisses his, mother every night before he goes to bed.
The other fellows stopped their game and turned round, laughing.
Stephen blushed under their eyes and said: - I do not.
Wells said:
-O, I say, here’s a fellow says he doesn’t kiss his mother before he goes to bed.
They all laughed again. Stephen tried to laugh with them. He felt his whole body hot and confused in a moment. What was the right answer to the question? He had given two and still Wells laughed. But Wells must know the right answer for he was in third of grammar…..He still tried to think what was the right answer. Was it right to kiss his mother or wrong to kiss his mother? What did that mean to kiss? You put your face up like that to say goodnight and then his mother put her face down. That was the kiss. His mother put her lips on his cheek; her lips were soft and they wetted his cheek; and they made a tiny little noise: kiss. Why did people do that with their two faces? (25-26).

The purpose of the passage is to declare how immature that Stephen was. He was going through the immature phase of trying to impress his friends by denying his affections towards his mother. He was in a puzzle and was confused. What was the right way? Should he tell his friends that he does or doesn’t kiss his mother? He allows his friends to influence his emotions and his decisions. He contains no reflection of his own thought of mind about what is right or wrong. He only values what his friends think rather then to contain his own value of life. He struggles to find the meaning of saying goodnight to his mother and giving her kiss after. He questions himself with if it was right to kiss his mother. Why did the other kids laughed at both responses? He was caught in the moment and wanted to laugh as well but found himself blushing as a child would when they had an accident. He could not find why Wells laughed at him twice. In this passage the reader can find Stephen still caught in the early phase of struggling in finding his identity and caring what others think of his actions. Joyce gives Stephen the portrait of an innocent little boy caught in between making the right choice without the influence of his heart but more of his friend’s reactions to his decision making. This declares how psychologist Freud, states how marrying your mother is an unconscious thought is in all males and this is proven through the thought of mind that Stephen contains when he images himself kissing his mother every night when telling her goodnight.
As time goes by Stephen escapes the earlier phase of childhood and being embarrassed by his friends and does not run away from showing his emotions any more as he enters the phase of adulthood. He deals with his forever changing emotions. He is opening his eyes to the outer world and is noticing more of his surrounding more then ever. He does not deny expressing his emotions as he has done in his previous experiences. He now contains traits of adulthood.
For some time he had felt the slight changes in his house; and these changes in what he had deemed unchangeable were so many slight shocks to his boyish conception of the world. The ambition which he felt astir at times in the darkness of his soul sought no outlet. A dusk like that of the outer world obscured his mind as he heard the mare’s hoofs clattering along the tram track on the Rock Road and the great can swaying and rattling behind him…..He returned to Mercedes and, so he brooded upon her image, a strange unrest crept into his blood upon her image; a strange unrest crept into his blood. Sometimes a fever gathered within him and led him to rove alone in the evening along the quiet avenue. The peace of the gardens and the kindly lights in the windows poured a tender influence into his restless heart. The noise of children at play annoyed him and their silly voices made him feel even more keenly than he felt at Clongowes, that he was different from others. He did not want to play. He wanted to meet in the real world the unsubstantial image which his soul so constantly beheld. He did not know where to seek at or how: but a premonition which led him non told him that this image would, without any overt act of his, encounter him. They would meet quietly as if they had known each other and had made their tryst, perhaps at one of the gates or in some more secret place. They would be alone, surrounded by darkness and silence: and in the moment of supreme tenderness he would be transfigured. He would fade into something impalpable under her eyes and then, in a moment, he would be transfigured. Weakness and timidity and inexperience would fall from him in that magic moment (66-67).

He is now acknowledging the changes that his mind and body are experiencing. He is transferring into adulthood physically and mentally. In the beginning of the passage he is starting to leave his boyish traits behind and developing new mature trait. He is realizing that his hormones are controlling state of mind when he thinks of Mercedes. His body rises in temperature and his hearts beats faster. He is now allowing himself to be opened minded with his emotion even though before he was embarrassed by his friends and kept his feelings conceal. Before he was afraid to unmask himself but now he shows his reflection as a mature adult. In the middle of the passage he found himself denying the voices of the children and refuses to be playful land foolish like the children. Instead he wants to release his soul into the real world but does not know how to. The passage ends with him telling himself that one day his split personality of his child traits and adulthood traits will collide and will transfer him into one but all this will happen in the eyes of Mercedes. His portrait now contains the traits of a child finding his inner meaning to his emotions and allowing himself to transfer into the early stages of adulthood without being ashamed of whom he will become.
His mother was unable to protect him from the society of men and their controlling the world in a male’s perspective rather than a female’s perceptive. As a younger boy Mary Dedalus was able to comfort and hid Stephen from the cruel world but as he is developing in to his own skin, she is then unable to furnish him with love, tender and care. This case is evidential in the article Mother and Child when it states…..
When Stephen returns to Clongowes, he realizes that his peacemaking mother, a mollifying agent of social arbitration, has failed to offer a viable sanctuary from the male- dominated power structure that controls the outer world. He must learn to survive in a society that protects bullies like Wells and sadists like Father Dolan, condones brutality, and takes advantage of the weak and the helpless….. According to Slater, single-sex education and the separation of young boys from maternal nurturance promotes misogyny, narcissism, and a residual terror of the female. Little boys suffer from an “unconscious fear of being feminine, which leads to ‘protest masculinity,’ exaggeration of the difference between men and women” (Slater 416). Once the child is deprived of his mother’s affection, he “seeks compensation through self-aggrandizement- renouncing love for admiration….he becomes vain, hypersensitive, invidious, ambitious…boastful, and exhibitionistic (439) (311).

In these passages the reader can see how Stephen’s experiences provoke him to increase his growth and allow his self image portrait to transform from his childhood into adulthood. This is proven through his train of thought and how he illustrates his surroundings around him and releases his soul, mind, and spirit into the real world without the guidance of his mother and searches for the comfortnance of other women that resembles his mother and struggles with identifying with balancing of his masculine and feminine side. He releases the need of desire for his mother through his relationship with other females.
He then uses art to express and symbolize his sexuality and his desire as women use their writing to relate to their emotions. His art is similar to his life mean while women interpret their views on life through their writings. Art is Stephen’s unconscious and conscious form of sexuality.
Inspired by his vision on the beach, Stephen devotes himself to art and begins to formulate his system of aesthetics. These theories fashion art into a means of protection and a means of escape from entrapment by the past and by crippling fixations. Stephen is anxious to prove that art can be isolated from intense personal feelings. To this compulsive end he seizes on Aquinas’s statement that art satisfies the mind, not the body, and expands it into his idea of stasis (263).

Stephen is using art as a mirror reflection of his sexuality and how he perceives women in society. He thinks of women as virgins or strumpet due to what society has taught him to view women as lower class. This is similar to how males view women’s writings. Women contain the ability to write with their emotions but a man writing is with a straight forward goal.
Kristeva, who associates feminine writing with the female body, is joined in her views by other leading French feminists. Helene Cixous, for instance, also posits an essential connection between the woman’s body, whose sexual pleasure has been repressed and denied expression, and women’s writing. “Write your self. Your body must be heard,” Cixous urges; once they learn to write their bodies, women will not only realize their sexuality but enter history and move toward a future based on a feminine economy of giving rather than the masculine economy of hoarding (Cixous 250). For Luce Irigaray, women’s sexual pleasure cannot be expressed by the dominant, ordered, “logical”, masculine language. She explores the connection between women’s sexuality and women’s language through the following analogy: as women jouissance is more multiple than men’s unitary, phallic pleasure (“woman has sex organs just about everywhere”), so “feminine” language is more diffusive than its masculine counter part. (“that is undoubtedly the reason… her language…goes off in all directions and… hi unable to discern the cohence, Irigaray writes [101-03]. (297)

Women all have their own style of writing but men have one main shared idea to get across the reader. Feminine language is “semiotic” not “symbolic” blends in with the relationship between a mother and a child. Men focus on one thing in life and language and sex while women focus on many things, reflecting the males’ one sexual organ to the women’s many organs of their body parts. This perceptive reflects how Stephen visions women as being all over the place and he is intimated by the power that women are engaging and hides from his fear through his art work.
When at a young age, Stephen had the guidance of his mother and people around him. However, as he got older he begins to be overwhelmed with confusion. He was confused between the church and women because he had never experience those influences before during his early childhood. As time went on he learned to express his sexuality and emotions through art. Before he must become a true artist he must go through the stage of gestation, the process of something forming into some thing else.

1 comment:

ashley S5 said...

I choose to post this writing because it's a reflection of my best work that I've done through out the year. This was the most challenging writing assignment that I have ever completed through my English High School Career. But i was very pleased with this accomplish.