Stephen Dedalus

The Experiences of Stephen Dedalus at Clongowes and Belvedere

Stephen Dedalus is educated at two Catholic schools, Clongowes Wood College and Belvedere, during his childhood and adolescence in the novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. His experiences at the schools show that Stephen is non the same as other people and is cognizant of it, which is obvious from the beginning of his instruction because he differs from his classmates. Because Stephen is different ( physically, mentally and in footings of his societal position ) , he does non organize any existent friendly relationships and ne’er seems to suit in in either of the schools, and is even bullied although he is a successful pupil and does nil to arouse hostility from his schoolmates.

From the beginning of the novel, the reader is lead to the decision that Stephen Dedalus is non merely an mean male child and that Stephen notices it himself. This difference is invariably emphasized from the point when he starts school and is foremost contrasted with other male childs of his age.

Stephen ‘s first school-related memory is that of the football game at Clongowes. The readers are told that Stephen ” & amp ; hellip ; kept on the periphery of his line, out of sight of his prefect, out of the range of the ill-mannered pess, shaming to run now and so. He felt his organic structure little and weak amid the multitude of the participants and his eyes were weak and watery ” ( Joyce 8 ) . Stephen first notices that he is different from his classmates in physical terms- he is among the youngest pupils at Clogowes at the clip and realizes that he is rather little and undistinguished and could even acquire injury if he participates actively in the game. Joyce is demoing that Stephen is insulating himself from the other male childs right from the beginning because he is different.

By giving us insight into Stephen ‘s head, Joyce is stating us that Stephen is besides different from most other male childs because of the manner he thinks from a immature age. Although he thinks about mundane affairs such as his household, and traveling place for the vacations, which is likely something all other male childs think about excessively, he besides considers complex subjects, such as the enormousness of the existence. He wonders: ”What was after the existence? Nothing. But was at that place anything round the existence to demo where it stopped before the nil topographic point began? It could non be a wall ; but there could be a thin thin line there all unit of ammunition everything. It was really large to believe about everything and everyplace. ” ( Joyce 17 ) . His train of idea is instead impressive for a kid of his age. Another impressive thing is his ability to understand that poesy is non merely a group of words put together, which indicates his artistic esthesia. His schoolmate Fleming writes a short verse form in Stephen ‘s book and Stephen reads the poetries backwards and realizes that ” & amp ; hellip ; so they were non poetry. ” ( Joyce 17 ) . He understands that the words must be ordered in a particular manner in order to hold significance and represent a verse form.

Joyce does non emphasize Stephen ‘s being different merely through his actions and ideas, but besides through the background events at school. Michael Bruce McDonald suggests that the fact that Stephen is different from other male childs is reflected even in the school sounds Joyce writes about and Stephen ‘s reaction to them ( 377 ) . In the playground scene we are told that all other male childs are doing a batch of noise: ”The broad resort areas were teeming with male childs. All were shouting and the prefects urged them on with strong calls. ” ( Joyce 8 ) . Stephen, in contrast, is wholly soundless. McDonald besides gives the illustration of Stephen ‘s control of the noise made by his classmates in the refectory by covering and opening his ears which shows that ”Stephen ‘s sense of his place at Clongowes as a slightly fringy one is therefore clearly tied to his consciousness of the omnipresent noise of the school as an overpowering menace to his really individualism & A ; hellip ; ” ( 378 ) .

The individualism that McDonald references is something that Stephen himself considers while he is ill with febrility and observes the other male childs at tea: ”All the male child seemed to him really strange. They had all male parents and female parents and different apparels and voices. ” ( Joyce 13-14 ) . He besides notices that ” & amp ; hellip ; every individual chap had a different manner of walking. ” ( Joyce 14 ) . B.L.Reid claims that at this point Stephen is already fighting with the job of individuality and is inquiring himself, ” & amp ; hellip ; who or what is anyone ; most pressingly, who and what am I? ” ( 403 ) . Thinking about his individuality is the consequence of detecting that he is different than others, but he is non the lone 1 who finds an involvement in finding who he is. His classmates question his individuality in order to make up one’s mind how to handle him. Stephen remembers how one of his classmates, Nasty Roche, asked him the undermentioned inquiries: ”What is your name? ” , ”What sort of a name is that? ” , ”What is your male parent? ” and ”Is he a magistrate? ” ( Joyce 8-9 ) . Tracey Teets Schwarze claims that this is the manner for Nasty Roche and other male childs to find where Stephen belongs in the hierarchy of Clongowes and what his societal position is ( 249 ) . Stephen tries to avoid replying the inquiry about his male parent ‘s profession and says that he is a gentleman, but so Nasty Roche straight asks whether his male parent is a magistrate to find whether Stephen comes from a rich and of import household. Stephen ‘s societal position is lower, which is something confirmed in the scene when the male childs are at tea:

But he drank off the hot weak tea which the clumsy scullion, girt with a white apron, poured into his cup. He wondered whether the scullion ‘s apron was moist excessively or whether all white things were cold and moistness. Nasty Roche and Saurin drank chocolate that their people sent them in Sns. They said they could non imbibe the tea ; that it was bunk. Their male parents were magistrates, the chaps said. ” ( Joyce 13 ) .

The high quality of the male childs whose male parents are magistrates is confirmed even in mundane things such as at repasts ; they drink cocoa sent from place, while Stephen has to imbibe the ”hogwash ” tea. Stephen ‘s male parent is non a magistrate, and Stephen is little and weak which is why the male childs coming from better background allow themselves to bully him. A male child from a rich household called Wells toughs Stephen on two occasions. Once he makes merriment of him in the rumpus room by inquiring him if he kisses his female parent every dark before he goes to bed. Stephen first answers that he does, and after all other male childs laugh at him he says that he does n’t, but everybody laughs once more. Stephen is entirely, and the remainder of the male childs all act as a group and have the same reaction. Stephen tries to express joy with them but it does non work because he merely does non suit in and feels confused and uneasy. On another juncture, Wells pushes Stephen it the horrid square ditch because ” & amp ; hellip ; he would non trade his small snuff box for Wells ‘s seasoned hacking chestnut, the vanquisher of 40 ” ( Joyce 15 ) . This is physical strong-arming which accordingly makes Stephen ill with febrility. At Belvedere, when Stephen is a spot older, he is bullied by Heron. Heron is Stephen ‘s school challenger ; they are the two smartest male childs in their category and the leaders of the school. On one juncture, Heron and two other male childs confront Stephen and coerce him to acknowledge who he considers to be the best poet. The male childs insist that it is Tennyson, but Stephen claims it is Byron. Heron repeatedly hits Stephen with his cane in order to coerce him to acknowledge Byron was non a good poet and that he was a heretic. Stephen battles until he manages to interrupt free and the toughs leave, express joying at him. Stephen is bullied in this instance because he has a different sentiment than the bulk. On another juncture, before the Whitsuntide drama, Heron foremost ridicules Stephen because he does non act like all the other male childs: ”No, said Heron, Dedalus is a theoretical account young person. He does n’t smoke and he does n’t travel to bazars and he does n’t chat up and he does n’t curse anything or curse all ” ( Joyce 86 ) . Then he hits Stephen with his cane once more to do him squeal that he has feelings for a miss in the audience. He does it in a playful manner, but still expects Stephen to give, as he finally does and recites the Confiteor. In all four instances, the intimidation is the consequence of Stephen ‘s being considered inferior either because of his societal position or his independent thought.

Several episodes from the period of Stephen ‘s instruction at Clongowes and Belvedere show that he did non do any existent friendly relationships and ne’er belonged to a group, although his schoolmates at times showed that they are impressed by him or expressed that they felt sorry for him. After being pushed into the square ditch by Wells, Stephen says that this was a average thing to make and that ” & amp ; hellip ; all the chaps said it was ” ( Joyce 15 ) . However, there is no reference of anybody standing up to Wells and supporting Stephen. When Stephen wakes up sick one forenoon, his classmates do experience sorry for him and repetition that Wells was mean in forcing him into the ditch but cipher corsets by his side- they all get dressed and travel to mass and Stephen is taken to the infirmary by the prefect. Another illustration that shows that Stephen does non truly hold true friends is when he goes to see the curate of Clongowes, Father Conmee, and tells him that he was unjustly punished by Father Dolan. All of the chaps from school tell him that he should kick to the curate, but Stephen knows that they are merely utilizing him because they do n’t desire the same occurrence to them: ”The chaps had told him to travel but they would non travel themselves ” ( Joyce 62 ) .

Despite that, he sees the curate and the curate promises he will talk to Father Dolan and halt him from penalizing Stephen once more. After stating the chaps what happened, they treat him like a hero and throw him in the air as a manner of observing. A few proceedingss subsequently, nevertheless, they all leave, and Stephen is entirely once more: ”The cheers died off in the soft Grey air. He was entirely ” ( Joyce 66 ) . At Belvedere Stephen is one of the most successful pupils and that produces enviousness in his schoolmates. Stephen is particularly good at composing essays and this is acknowledged in his English category. During one of the lessons the instructor accuses Stephen of unorthodoxy in forepart of the whole category. Stephen realizes his error and explains that he wanted to state something else. The instructor is satisfied with the account, but the whole category shows some sort of satisfaction because of Stephen ‘s failure: ”But the category was non so shortly appeased. Though nobody spoke to him of the matter after category he could experience about him a obscure general malignant joy ” ( Joyce 90 ) . Stephen has no support among his schoolmates, and it seems they have all been waiting for him to neglect at something he does good.

Stephen Dedalus ‘ experiences as Clongowes Wood College and Belvedere serve the intent of stressing that Stephen is non and ordinary male child, and subsequently an ordinary immature adult male. His place in both schools is inferior to others because he does non come from a rich household which causes some of his schoolmates to handle him severely and even with force while his endowments provoke enviousness. His experiences in school besides show that he does non organize any strong bonds with any of the chaps which makes him a lone wolf.

Plants Cited

Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. London: Penguin Popular Classics, 1996.

McDonald, Michael Bruce. ”The Strenght and Sorrow of Young Stephen: Toward a Reading of the Dialectioc of Harmony and Dissonance in Joyce ‘s Portrait. ” Twentieth Century Literature. Volume 43, Number 4 ( Winter, 1991 ) : 361- 389. Article

Reid, B.L. ”Gnomon and Order in Joyce ‘s Portrait. ” The Sewanee Review. Volume 92, Number 3 ( Summer, 1984 ) : 397-420. Article.

Schwarze Teets, Tracey. ”Silencing Stephen: Colonial Pathologies in Victorian Dublin. ” Twentieth Century Literature. Volume 43, Number 3 ( Autumn 1997 ) : 243- 263. Article.

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