Discuss And Consider The Role Of Women In Stephen Dedalus' Creative

1639 words - 7 pages

Discuss and consider the role of women in Stephen Dedalus' creative
process, how is this reflected in the language and narrative of the
novel?

From the very first page of "A portrait of the artist as a young man",
where Stephen Dedalus writes in simplistic and linear style and uses
inarticulate expression and description in his story of the "moocow",
to the last where he writes in journalistic form with a vast array of
vocabulary and complex language, there is a progression, a maturing, a
creative development; and this is influenced by the experiences,
relationships and personal growth Stephen goes through as he grows up.
Women are certainly an integral part of this creative process, from
his experiences with Eileen, to sleeping with a prostitute, and his
relationship with his mother, and his attempts to discover what his
sensual feelings mean in this journey of self discovery, women feature
prominently and have great significance in the creative process of
Stephen's life.

Stephen is a very interesting and intricate character, and comes
freakishly close to the contemporary boy of the time, there is such a
sense of realism which is conveyed through him by Joyce, most likely
because he is based on himself. For example, Joyce had a mother
devoted to Catholicism, as does Stephen, and Joyce was also educated
at Clongowes.

I think a key reason as to why women play such an important role in
Stephen's creative development is the fact that on many occasions he
does not know quite how to relate to them, he sees them as a
completely different species and really doesn't know how to respond to
them, as his experience with the prostitute will testify.

Stephen's relationship with the opposite sex begins to develop early
in his life. Dante becomes the first to give Stephen some experience
of the world outside himself when she teaches him about geographical
features in other countries and on the moon. This physical
understanding of the exterior world may be the impetus for Stephen's
construction of a hierarchical list that defines his place within the
universe.

Both Dante and Stephen's own mother associate themselves with
punishment when they assert that he "will apologise" or "the eagles
will come and pull out his eyes". This incident results in Stephen's
composition of a poem based on "apologise" and "eyes," one of his
first artistic exercises. Dante and Mrs. Dedalus, having planted these
words in Stephen's mind, are the first females to inspire him to
create, therefore having a significan Impact on what has been labelled
"artistic development".

Young Stephen's first romantic interest in the opposite sex comes in
the form of his playmate, Eileen. She indirectly leads Stephen to the
conclusion that "by thinking of things you could understand them".
Stephen also displays his ever expanding knowledge of the differences
between men and women when he makes the observation that Eileen has
"long thin cool...

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