A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
How is Stephen influenced by his Irish nationality?
Discuss Joyce's use of religious imagery and language. Why are Father Arnall's three sermons so successful in overcoming Stephen's religious doubt?
What role does Stephen's burgeoning sexuality play in his development as a character? How does his Catholic morality complicate his experience of sexuality?
Compare and contrast Stephen's perception of art with his perception of religion, family, school, or country. What makes art such an appealing escape for Stephen?
Why does Stephen turn down the offer to become a Jesuit?
Suggested Essay Topics
How do Stephen's parents affect his development throughout the novel? How does he react to his father's patriotic nostalgia? To his mother's solemn Catholicism? At the end of the novel, why does Stephen feel he needs to escape from his family?
The passages at the very beginning of the novel recreate Stephen's early childhood in a sequence of memories and perceptions. Are these passages effective in recreating the thoughts and feelings of a very young boy? Why or why not?
How does Stephen's aesthetic theory relate to the doctrine of Christianity or the behavior of hedonism?
Compare and contrast Stephen with some of the other boys and young men with whom he associates. How is he different from them? How does he feel about being different?
How does the setting of the novel affect the characters and the plot?
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