Tag Archives: artist

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man


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I love re-reading books. I always pick so much more up the second time around. I just finished reading one of my favorite books A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce and I am once again finding myself thinking intensely about my path as an artist. The novel is written in a stream-of-consciousness style and goes through the life of Stephen Dedalus from boy to man. As a whole, the book is sort of hard to digest, and you’ll spend a lot of time on one page, but definitely worth the read. Stephen’s journey to an artist begins as a boy at Clongowes Wood College, he later transfers to Belvedere College after having to leave Clongowes because of financial constraints. The book has strong connotations of religion, as Stephen is taught by the Jesuits, and on track to become a priest. He excels at Belvedere, but there he discovers his love for prostitutes. At the urges of his parents, he returns to the church after straying, but after seeing a beautiful girl, he decided he must describe her beauty. He decides to leave Ireland to be an artist. A beautiful quote from the book is

The ambition which he felt astir at times in the darkness of his soul sought no outlet.

Thinking about ones path to an artist is interesting, as it varies so much from artist to artist. Stephen Dedalus’ path stems from the strife in contradiction and the detriment of hypocrisy on his soul. If you think about it, the path to an artist is never-ending as the artist is constantly growing and evolving with every experience that sparks inspiration. When can one consider oneself an artist? I guess there is really no definition. But I think one becomes an artist when one makes an attempt to translate the ambition within their soul into words on paper.