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Portrait Of An Artist As A Young Man

921 words - 4 pages

In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce describes Stephen Daedalus’ sense that words have colors. Stephen experiences a whole rainbow of color and emotion in this passage. He works his way through all seven deadly sins in the span of a single thought, and is struggling with his self worth, desires, and his destiny. In this complex emotional state, he visualizes words and feelings as color: the gleaming gold of his pride, the dark green depths of despair, and the red fires of lust. He would visualize these colors because of his longing desire to make sense of it all. He has realized that from the sin of lust, all other sins have emerged.
Stephen is proud of his status and ...view middle of the document...

Red associated with lust in our culture but also with death or blood. We often feel guilty for lustful thoughts or actions and in religious circles “the wage for sin is death” (NIV, Rom. 6:23). The color red here is appropriate because it describes both his fiery lustful feelings towards local prostitutes, and the destination he fears he will be going because of them: hell.
Stephen explores the relationships between earthly desires and sin. He sees it in color for what it is, and you see his portrait of what he is form the true colors displayed by his emotions and actions. The gold, green and red helps the reader visualize his emotions because they are colors that perfectly describe emotions every man has felt.

Joyce’s Character
James Joyce has the innate ability to describe characters that are extremely accessible to the everyman, and yet are complex enough to draw you in and make the story interesting as the character battles their own psyche. In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Joyce first introduces you to the protagonist, Stephen Daedalus as a child who looks at the world in wonder. We get a sense of his early development as a character based on his internal monologue. Joyce shows us the intellectual and emotional development taking place under the surface of a boy who makes observations about his surroundings and doesn’t now what to make of them. An instinctive drive to change his environment stays with him throughout the book and at the end presents itself in mature and...

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