A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

James Joyce
Quotes

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

26 April: I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.

27 April: Old father, old artificer, stand me now and ever in good stead.

These final lines of the novel proclaim Stephen's aim to be an artist for the rest of his life. The phrase "the smithy of my soul" indicates that he strives to be an artist whose individual consciousness is the foundation for all of his work. The reference to "the uncreated conscience of my race" implies that he strives to be an artist who uses his individual voice to create a voice and conscience for the community into which he has been born. The final diary entry, with its references to "old father" and "old artificer," reinforces Stephen's twofold mission. He invokes his "old father"—which can be read as either Simon Dedalus or Ireland itself—to acknowledge his debt to his past. He invokes the "old artificer"—his namesake, Daedalus, the master craftsman from ancient mythology—to emphasize his role as an artist. It is through his art that Stephen will use his individuality to create a conscience for his community.