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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?
Ace your assignments with our guide to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man!