James Joyce's A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man Chapter Analysis

Throughout the novel Stephen has had many conflicts about Irish independence, politics and religion. This suggests that James Joyce had wanted to become more interested in these subjects but was distracted from achieving this goal. “A brief anger had often invested him but he had never been able to make it an abiding passion and had always felt himself passing out of it as if his very body were being divested with ease of some outer skin or peel” (161). This suggests that Joyce did not always feel the way most (his family) did about Irish independence and politics because the anger/passion is representing Irish independence and that he could never make it into a big concern for him like it was in his Family during the Christmas dinner which caused a family argument and division when he was younger.

This could be saying that his Faith/religion is represented by the outer skin/peel that is stopping him from making his brief feeling about Irish independence into a passion he can pursue and believe in. Later in chapter 4 “The world for all its solid substance and complexity no longer existed for his soul save as a theorem of divine power and love and universality” (162). This quote is saying a very similar thing as the last, it is saying that the world (Ireland) and all the things he loves there do not mean anything as all that matters is his Faith in religion and the savour of his soul and gods love for him. This could also be saying that the difference between England and Ireland did not matter as they both had similar religion and Irish independence is not that big of a problem if you Believe in God and religion because in the eyes of God both England and Ireland are equal and do not need to be separated due to the equality of their people as they are no different. This could also be saying that because Religion sees both countries as equal so Ireland should have its independence because if they are no different and they deserve to rule themselves as they are just as competent as the English to rule.

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