Friday, May 23, 2008

Development in English

As stated, and it is obvious, we need to start somewhere to begin developing our writing skills. I have one of my earlier pieces of work here, and it is easy to see some potential but also some errors.

1 comment:

Steve T5 said...

According to research and statements from people like James Joyce, toddlers grow up and are affected by many factors that result in the toddler's ending personality and behavior. That is something we all have observed and know to be true, to the point of it being obvious. Though knowing what factors affect which specific outcome is not so obvious. There are so many of these factors that there are an infinite amount of personality potentials given the amount of combinations the factors can make. People can only guess what actions lead to in terms of results, and as far as literature goes, most stories have characters, and most characters are given to be read and understood by the reader, given the fact that following the character's development in their situations is what makes the story. Now here in James Joyce's literature, specifically in the book "A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN," readers can do just that and read along the story of Stephen Dedalus' life, and not only just a piece of his life. James Joyce has written specific, significant times in Stephen Dedalus' life, from being a young toddler, up to the point of being an adult. Evidently, Stephen Dedalus is an only son, and lives with both his father and mother. He was born in the christian church, and was also enrolled in a private, religious school for his educational studies. Most likely, he was raised catholic, to believe in god and the words written in the bible. Aside from religion, he loved English, and planned to major in that area. He loves poetry, and furthermore, he loves the arts . Stephen Dedalus is very smart, and yearns for knowledge, making him a good student, but like every other student, they run into trouble along the way. James Joyce does not leave that out. Even Stephen Dedalus, who was raised to be catholic and
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is very intellectual, can have times where temptations of wicked things are strong, sometimes too strong. So Stephen Dedalus sins, and like most people, he regrets it and pays a price. Then, the story goes on, and Stephen ends up choosing to ask for forgiveness from his god, and from his church. Stephen Dedalus belittles himself before god, and begs to "him" for that forgiveness, to once again feel welcomed and belonging to the church. Therefore, since the god of the christian’s is merciful and forgiving, Stephen Dedalus becomes well, and lets rid of his guilt; Stephen is once again a noble Christian, studying the arts of literature. Though temptation on the earth never disappears, and Stephen is warned of that throughout his studies in the church. So naturally, Stephen would fall right back into temptation, but the manner in which he does so, may or may not be different to how he first fell into temptation and eventually, it isn't. Stephen Dedalus, instead of sinning, observes the source of which the sin sprouts from, and the sin itself. He becomes someone who doesn't only want to learn about what is taught in school, but in his community, and in the world. He is born to be a Christian and a nationalist, like his father, meaning he was to believe in Ireland, and fight for Ireland, his hometown. Though Stephen Dedalus decides to reach out further, past Ireland, and decides to learn about the world. He becomes so obsessed with answers to temptations, and to everything else that is trivial and interesting, that it becomes his life calling, that it becomes a part of what art really is, in his mind. Seeing how he is in love with both his new obsession, and art, he puts them together as some divine calling and path for which he can follow. He continues down that road, and ends up following that path to the near end of the book, where he eventually believes he must leave Ireland to find real answers
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to his questions. This is because he believes the nationality of the nation has nothing to do with the answers he seeks, seeing that the whole other sides of the world may hold answers, and the people in Ireland only distract him from his real goal and wanted answers. Though at the same time, he admits that he is confused. He's not exactly sure about females and their seductive ways. He doesn't know exactly what to make out of the church anymore. Then, on top of everything, he doesn't even have an exact idea on how to start looking for his answers, but he decides that it won't be in Ireland. Ireland sprouted all this confusion, and distractions, constant distractions, and he figures it would continue to get in his way if he continued to stay. So, by the end of the book, he decides to literally leave Ireland, in course for his new journey. Now even though the story of Stephen Dedalus can be summarized, like any other character or situation, it holds a lot of depth, considering the amount of pages written in the book. Each page obtains information of a large portion of Stephen Dedalus' life, and furthermore, there are still many years Stephen Dedalus has yet to live that weren't written down. So, to continue the story of Stephen Dedalus, a reader can only guess what happens next, from what we know of Stephen Dedalus' personality. Though even then, the possibilities are endless, considering all the factors that could be put into play in his life. His ride out of Ireland may crash, or he may run out of money, or he may become rich and corrupted. Though if the reader thinks realistically, using the facts from the text, the reader may get a good idea of what may happen in the next year in Stephen's life. The reader can observe the last statements of Stephen, measure his motivation, and imagine how far that'll get him in his road for answers. There is a lot of information on Stephen's life. In fact, there are full
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years of Stephen's life told inside the book. So, in the same way a person may guess the outcome of the following year in Stephen Dedalus' life, after leaving Ireland, a person should be able to make a guess, a hypothesis, on the outcome of the end of the book, just before the end of the book. Then, after reading the book, the reader may see how close his hypothesis really was. Therefore, the reader needs to analyze Stephen's developing personality, and the factors that cause it to develop in such a way, backing up the reliability of the analysis of Stephen's developing personality to the end of the book. To start off, we obviously know how Stephen was brought up in the church. It's also known that Stephen Dedalus' father believed very much in his nationality. Though even though he was taught both to be a nationalist, and a christian at the same time, there are situations where both a nationalist and a christian clash politically throughout the book, and in particular a scene Stephen partakes in, in his youth. Dante, who is highly loyal to the priests and the church, argues with Mr. Casey and Stephen Dedalus' father, Mr. Dedalus.
A traitor to his country! replied Dante. A traitor, and adulterer! The priests were right to abandon him. The priests were always the true friends of Ireland. -Were they, faith? said Mr Casey. He threw his fist on the table and, frowning angrily, protruded one finger after another. -Didn't the bishops of Ireland betray us in the time of the union when bishop Lanigan presented an address of loyalty to the Marguess Cornwallis? Didn't the bishops and priests sell the aspirations of this country in 1829 in returns for catholic emancipation? Didn't they denounce the fenian movement from the pulpit and in the confessionbox? And didn't they
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dishonour the ashes of Terence Bellew MacManus? His face was glowing with anger and Stephen felt the glow rise to his own cheek as the spoken words thrilled him. Mr Dedalus uttered a guffar of coarse scorn . -O, by god, he cried, I forgot little old Paul Cullen! Another apple of God's eye! Dante bent across the table and cried to Mr Casey: -Right! Right! They were always right! God and morality and religion comes first... God and religion before everything! Dante cried. God and religion before the world! Mr Casey raised his clenched fist and brought it down on the table with a crash. -Very well, then, he shouted hoarsely, if it comes to that, no God for Ireland! -John! John! cried Mr Dedalus, seizing his guest by the coatsleeve. Dante stared across the table, her cheeks shaking. Mr Casey struggled up from his chair and bent across the table towards her, scrapping the air from before his eyes with one hand as though he were tearing aside a cobweb. -No God for Ireland! he cried. We have had too much God in Ireland. Away with God! -Blasphemer! Devil! screamed Dante, starting to her feet and almost spitting in his face. Uncle Charles and Mr Dedalus pulled Mr Casey back into his chair again, talking to him from both sides reasonably. He stared before him out of his dark flaming eyes, repeating: -Away with God, I say! Dante shoved her chair violently aside and left the table, upsetting her napkinring which rolled slowly along the carpet and came to rest against the foot of an easychair. Mrs Dedalus rose quickly and followed her towards the door. At the door Dante turned round violently and shouted down the room, her cheeks flushed with quivering rage. -Devil out of hell! We won! We crushed him to death! Fiend!
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The door slammed behind her. Mr Casey, freeing his arms from his holders, suddenly bowed his head on his hands with a sob of pain. -Poor Parnell! he cried loudly. My dead king! He sobbed loudly and bitterly. Stephen, raising his terrorstricken face, saw that his father's eyes were full of tears. (pg. 47-48)
This scene can clearly be defined as conflict, especially between nationality, and religion; Ireland vs. the priests, and in addition, Stephen Dedalus witnesses it. He even sees his father cry, which is not something most sons see their father's do occasionally. Now, this conflict could be a developing factor in Stephen Dedalus' youth. He may see and think that religion and Ireland do not work well together, and that they do not correlate well. If he leans to being a nationalist, he may think badly of religion, and there's the vice versa of being religious, and disliking people like Mr Casey. All these possibilities, from this one outcome, could sprout true in some combination and degree. Stephen Dedalus could go towards religion and hate nationalist, or he may go towards religion, and only slightly be confused by the thought of radical nationalist. The point is, that this conflict, this one moment in time, has been included in the book, and is a part of Stephen Dedalus' life as significant; the scene leaves a large scar in Stephen Dedalus' mind, and consciously or unconsciously, he'll remember that day of conflict, in some form or another, and that's because the day religion and nationality fought each other was so tragic. So, we already see some conflict of religion and nationality that rubs off on Stephen Dedalus' mind. Then later on, after getting slightly older, a similar conflict arises with his fellow students in grade school.
-And who do you think is the greatest poet? asked Boland, nudging his
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neighbour. -Byron, of course, answered Stephen. Heron gave the lead and all three joined in a scornful laugh. -What are you laughing at? asking Stephen. -You, said Heron. Byron the greatest poet! He's only a poet for uneducated people. -He must be a fine poet! said Boland. -You may keep you mouth shut, said Stephen, turning on him boldly. All you know about poetry is what you wrote up on the slates in the yard and were going to be sent to the loft for. (Boland, in fact, was said to have written on the slates in the yard a couplet about a classmate of his who often rode home from college on a pony: As Tyson was riding into Jerusalem // he fell and hurt his Alex Kafoozelum.) This thrust put the two lieutenants to silence but Heron went on: -In any case Byron was a heretic and immoral too. -I don't care what he was, cried Stephen hotly. –You don't care whether he was a heretic or not? said Nash. -What do you know about it? shouted Stephen. You never read a line of anything in your life expect a trans or Boland either. -I know that Byron was a bad man, said Boland. -Here, catch hold of this heretic, Heron called out. In a moment, Stephen was a prisoner. -Tate made you buck up the other day, Heron went on, about the heresy in you essay. -I'll tell him tomorrow, said Boland. -Will you? said Stephen. You'd be afraid to open your lips. -Afraid? -Ay, Afraid of you life. -Behave yourself! cried Heron, cutting at Stephen's legs with his cane. It was the signal for their onset. Nash pinioned his arms behind while Boland seized a long cabbage stump which was lying in the gutter. Struggling and kicking under the cuts of the cane and the blows of the knotty stump Stephen was borne back against a barbed wire fence. –
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Admit that Byron was no good. -No. -Admit. -No. -Admit. -No. No. At last after a fury of plunges he wrenched himself free. His tormentors set off towards Jone's Road, laughing and jeering at him, while he, torn and flushed and panting, stumbled after them half blinded with tears, clenching his fists madly and sobbing. (pg. 82-83)
His fellow students got into an argument about Stephen's current, favorite poet. In this passage Stephen Dedalus disregards that everyone calls his favorite a heretic, and praises the poet for his skill. Now, the students may not be correct about the verdict of naming the poet a heretic, it is unknown, but regardless, the young students speak against the poet in the name of religion. They call the poet immoral, and a heretic, so to Stephen, they represent the thinking of someone, or a group, of high religious standards. Though to Stephen Dedalus, those standards should not make his favorite poet, a bad poet; the poet may be a bad person, but definitely not a bad poet. So, Stephen Dedalus feels it is unfair to call his favorite poet a novice in literature, and etc, and his students feel as though Stephen is also a heretic, just like the poet. Then, the students feel as though they should take the matter in their own hands, and attempt forcing Stephen into believing that the poet is evil with violence. Obviously, Stephen declines to succumb, and is beaten. Now normally, and in the text, this would make Stephen and people who feel unjustly victimized mad towards the evil-doer, thus in this case, it would be the students who were representing the church. Naturally, this would make Stephen want to push himself away from the church to some degree, and perhaps, this is uncertain, feel more passionate in literature, and what he believes about literature. Now, this means, considering he loves
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art and english, he has pushed away from religion and nationality to some degree so far and most likely, and has gotten closer to art and English. Though this probably isn't enough to fully have Stephen Dedalus decide to leave Ireland and abandon the church, so more potential times of conflict should be looked into. There is a section in the book where 1. He sins against the church, and 2. wants to learn about how the sin works and why the sin exists; he wants answers. It starts off with Stephen Dedalus looking and purchasing a strumpet for a night.
"Her room was warm and lightsome. A huge doll sat with her legs apart in the copious easychair beside the bed. He tried to bid his tongue speak that he might seem at ease, watching her as she undid her gown, noting the proud conscious movements of her perfumed head. As he stood silent in the middle of the room she came over to him and embraced him gaily and gravely. Her round arms held him firmly to her and he, seeing her face lifted to him in serious calm and feeling the warm calm rise and fall of her breast, all but burst into hysterical weeping. Tears of joy and relief shone in his delighted eyes and his lips parted though they would not speak. She passed her tinkling hand through his hair, calling him a little rascal. -Give me a kiss, she said... With a sudden movement she bowed his head and joined her lips to his and he read the meaning of her movements in her frank uplifted eyes. It was too much for him. He closed his eyes, surrendering himself to her, body and mind, conscious of nothing in the world but the dark pressure of her softly parting lips. They pressed upon his brain as upon his lips as though they were the behicle of a vague speech; and between them he felt an
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unknown and timid pressure, darker than the swoon of sin, softer than sound or odour. (pg. 98-99)
So Stephen sins in this passage, he has sex, which is unlawful for his age, by the church's judgment. Stephen later repents for his sins, and is forgiven for them, but later Stephen Dedalus ponders on that moment, and moments similar to it. Here is a section a friend of Stephen Dedalus, Davin, was telling a story to Stephen.
I went up and knocked at the door. A voice asked who was there and I answered I was over at the match in Buttevant and was walking back and that I'd be thankful for a glass of water. After a while a young woman opened the door and brought me out a big mug of milk. She was half undressed as if she was going to bed when I knocked an she had her hair hanging: and I thought by her figure and by something in the look of her eyes that she must be carrying a child. She kept me in talk a long while at the door and I thought it strange because her breast and her shoulders were bare. She asked me was I tired and would I like to stop the night there. She said she was all alone in the house and that her husband had gone that morning to Queenstown with his sister to see her off. And all the time she was talking, Stevie, she had her eyes fixed on my face and she stood so close to me I could hear her breathing. When I handed her back the mug at last she took my hand to draw me in over the threshold and said: Come in and stay the night here. You've no call to be frightened. There's no-one in it but ourselves. . . . I didn't go in, Stevie. I thanked her and went on my way again, all in a fever. At the first bend on the road I looked back and she was standing in the door. (pg. 164-165)
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The last words of Davin's story sang in his memory and the figure of the woman in the story stood forth reflected in other figures of the peasant women whom he had seen standing in the doorways at Clane as the college cars drove by, as a type of her race and his own, a batlike soul waking to the consciousness of itself in darkness and secrecy and loneliness and, through the eyes and voice and gesture of a woman without guile, calling the stranger to her bed. (pg. 165)"
Davin, ends up telling a story about how he avoided sin by running away, and how this women tempted him to do sin. Stephen, on the other hand, has had experience in seeing females like the one in Davin's story, and finally, he's curious to why these particular females do such actions at times. He figures that the woman is lonely, and perhaps, desperately needs comfort to such a point where the women overwrites her natural, good instincts, with calling a stranger to bed, because her loneliness that bad. Stephen may then think further- well there's an answer to this; there is a reason why the woman got so low, and perhaps she can be fixed, along with the people like her. Now, Stephen Dedalus sees that Davin has overlooked the situation as Stephen used to in the past, but Stephen feels now as though those women do indeed need to be helped, but not through sex. Maybe, talking with them, instead of doing sin with them, may help, but it isn't certain Stephen Dedalus has thought so far into that subject yet, and may have only skimmed the surface. Now that is because Stephen Dedalus is much too busy with art, and nationality, and religion, and all these other things in Ireland to be caught all up on female's problems and the answers to them. Though in the end of the book, he breaks away from those things, and looks for answers like the ones lonely females need, and art. From the
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beginning of the book, there are clues that lead readers to the conclusion that the church and the nation aren't for Stephen; that those aren't what he'll want in his future, and it ends up being that way: Stephen Dedalus plans to leave Ireland, and search for art, and answers. Though, he says in the last sentence, "Old father, old artificer, stand me now and ever in good stead. (pg. 224)” This means he still believes in god, maybe not religion, but god. That's a good observation though: those instances in his life never ruled out a god, it just pushed religion away. There are just so many clues in this book, and in every other; there are those clues in every character's story to efficiently guessing the next step in that person's life. So readers, analyze the text, and have fun with the book before the ending is spoiled!