Books and Movies Reviews

portrait of the artist as a yo

ird Imagery in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man The works of twentieth-century Irish writer James Joyce resound vividly with a unique humanity and genius. His novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, published in 1916, is a convincing journey through the inner mind and spirit of Stephen Dedalus. Portrayed with incredible fluency and realism, imagery guides the reader through the swift current of growth tangible in the juvenile hero. Above all heavy imagery in the novel is the recurring bird motif. Joyce uses birds to ultimately relate Stephen to the Daedelus myth of the "hawklike man;" however, these images also exemplify Stephen's daily experiences, and longing for true freedom (page169). By using imagery of birds as threatening, images of beauty, and images of escape, the reader can unify the work and better understand Stephen's tumultuous journey through life. The opening scene of Chapter one portrays a conversation between a very young Stephen and Dante, Stephen's nanny. She scolds him for an unconventional thought, warning him that "the eagles will come and pull out [your] eyes"(8). This obviously graphic image suggests to Stephen the threatening presence of eagles that are minding all his thoughts. Joyce's vividness with such gruesome imagery has a real effect on Stephen; he repeats Dante's caution in his childish song, chanting: "Pull out his eyes, Apologize" (8). A playful, yet sensitive Stephen must immediately conform Pfeiffer 2 even his innocent unorthodox actions in fear of the threatening phantom eagles to save the consequences they will bring. His thoughts are threatened again by birds when he meets an acquaintance named Heron when walking down a dark street. Stephen immediately notes the peculiar image of Heron's "bird face as well as a bird's name"(76). Through descriptive images of Heron's "mobile face, beaked like a bird…

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