Portrait of Artist Although Told Essay

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Descriptions of women are primarily if not entirely based on mundane physical appearances: stockings, legs, and other features rather than character. The lack of strong female characters impedes the novel from exploring truly liberating themes, and there is a nearly complete lack of social justice issues in the novel. Historical and literary allusions omit the presence of female from the cultural canon. Joyce remains solidly concerned with the male coming of age and personal development experience, and women are but ancillary characters in supporting roles.

Still, The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man does not pretend to be anything but a coming-of-age story that centers on an Irish male protagonist. Moreover, Joyce does paint Dedalus's portrait as a man who has trouble escaping the shackles of his past and his culture. Dedalus's upbringing had a powerful influence on his socialization and his perception of gender.
His father is a womanizer, and in fact, Dedalus rebels against sexual debauch. Even if Dedalus's experiment with asceticism is rooted in religious fervency rather than a desire to alter gender norms, the step is a significant one. Dedalus represents a shift in consciousness from his father's generation to his own. The shift does not yet overtly entail the liberation of women from patriarchy. However, the usurpation of the Church and of traditional family values is a step in the right direction. Dedalus seems to intuit the inherent problems with prostitution, and genuinely craves intimacy rather than mere physical pleasure from sex. Much of Dedalus's personal development parallels that of women trapped by the conventions of culture. The crux of the novel is self-liberation, self-creation, and breaking free. Dedalus does all this: achieving feminist goals and ideals albeit within a patriarchal….....

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