lez get this partay started :)What differences have you noticed so far between the 2nd chapter and the 1st? How have we discovered more about Joyce as a writer? As a person?
Dear AP Literature class,I was entirely confused! Is there anyone that can provide for me a rough summary? I was gone for the first day of discussion and am very confused about this book. Love,Annika
Are you confused about the first chapter or the second?
Annika, something we talked about the first day is just style and how it is so stream of consciousness. Ms. Leclaire read it outloud which really helped so to get into it try to see it as a bunch of ideas and daydreams.
so does he feel that because he can escape through art... meaning literature? that Is he an escapist or idealist?
Maria: I think the biggest difference in the chapters is the fact that Stephan has matured much more. This is possibly due to his new circumstances of living in the city and no longer going to college. It is very evident that he is no long in his little bubble of a world and is experiencing the people around him for the first time. He is not as self-centered as many children are.
ANNIKA! Me too! I have no idea what is going on, I went to Sparknotes last night and I had to get a rough idea of what was going on.Heres the link: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/portraitartist/
Dear Annika, In the first chapter we discussed how Joyce uses a "child-like" style of writing to convey Stephen's character. We compared how even between the beginning and ending of chapter one, Stephen seems to have made significant stives in understanding, and maturity. We discussed how as the story progresses, Stephen seems to be striving to understand himself and others, and how they both fit into the world around them.Love,Madison
maria- the second chapter is definitely more mature in a sense of the stream of consciousness.also stephen is proving to be more major
In this chapter, Joyce shows the maturation of Stephen as a character with developed, more sophisticateed dialogue he uses as opposed to the way he talked in Chapter 1. I think his growth will only continue as we read the novel.
Dear Maria,I think that Joyce has started to show Stephen's growth as an artist. The first chapter was very choppy and scatter brained and was Stephen telling us what he saw. Now in the second chapter it seems much more flowy and is less telling and more showing.
I talked a lot about how he escapes through literature in my reading ticket. Especially the count of Monte Cristo, but also Byron. I felt he was becoming a bit more of a Byronic hero in this chapter because he is becoming more mysterious, emotional, and downtrodden. What other ways of art do you see in the book?
While there's a summary going on, I kind of want to touch on what Chels is saying right now. I think that Stephen is only able to express himself through hihs imagination. He realizes his distance from his family, and he sees who he truly is through his characters both on stage and when he's playing the Count. It seems that he is far more comfortable when he is not in his own reality.
I agree with sally. the main thing that i noticed was how he had matured. he broke the barrier that between guys and girls and even the way that he speaks has matured. his new experiences have made him mature
Thanks everyone! This is very helpful!So how is he an artist? What do you think?
ends--I agree with you about the greater maturity, and with the Count of Monte Cristo...he just incorporates a story in his life, but in a more mature way. He convinces himself there is a Mercedes for him, too, instead of just rambling on about trivial thoughts like in the first chapter.
Is Joyce trying to make a picture of himself through Stephen? Is Joyce basing the character of Stephen on himself
How has escapism developed as a theme in this book? Is Stephen conscious of his escapism?
annika! in addition to everything everyone else said, we also talked about if you have more innocence as a child, or as an adult. I agree with Endsley, Stephen definitely seems to have absorbed so much and realizes that he is unlike the "normal" kids. I think that his mind is ahead of him.
I noticed that in the second chapter, Stephen's train of thought flowed smoother than in the fisrt chapter. When he described the world around him in this chapter, he used more sophisticated words that showed his growth as a man as well as an artist. His mind is less fragmented during this chapter and the concepts in his life seem to be coming together as if it was a piece of art itself.
good call martha. he communicates and expresses what he is feeling through imagination and fantasy. i didnt think about that
Joyce's writing gets more complicated, what does this say about Joyce? about Stephens growth as well?
Endsley and Sally--I agreee! I was wondering why there's such a big difference? It almost seems as if Joyce didn't write the shift very subtley...Also, book is called "Young Man," with no reference to him as a boy. Does Joyce mean to write him as more mature for his age?
Joyce may be trying to portray himself through Stephen. It makes sense that all of the daydreams and thoughts are so vivid...maybe Joyce truly feels/thinks about what Stephen depicts.
Laura- I agree with you about Mercedes. I think he tries to find it in E C (is this is in "first" part?). But I think he is almost incapable to have that kind of relationship. I think he can when he transcends into his world, but I don't think he is able to when it comes to reality.
SallySome other influences of art of I have seen in the novel is Stephen's diction. Stephen uses flowery diction, specifically focusing on colors and the senses. This makes me think that Stephen will become a writer and this shows that Joyce believes that writing is an art form.
Maria,I do not think that Stephen recognizes himself as an escapist or an idealist, and I don't know if a true escapist or idealist would describe him or herself as such. However, I do think that Stephen realizes that he feels different; he doesn't feel like he is like all of the other people around him. He fails to understand the concerns of his parents, the expectations set for him by his peers, and the "restless impulses" of his heart (p 61). I think that as the story progresses, and as Stephen matures, he gains a greater understanding of who he wants to become, and in order to understand this person he wants to become, he must compare himself to the set standards of the society around him. I think this process is very confusing to Stephen, and I feel that this book embodies his struggle to understand whether or not to become who he feels that he is supposed to be, or to become who every one else feels that he should be.
Kayla I really liked your comment about how life seems to be coming together as if it was a piece of art itself! I never thought about that! Can you maybe elaborate a little so I can understand more?
Maria, one thing I noticed more in the second chapter is Stephen's development as a Romantic. His fascination with The Count of Monte Cristo really contributes this. At first I thought that Stephen was just really young for his age, but now I think that Joyce was developing him into a romantic and an artist.
Maria, I think that Joyce has developed into the tortured artist... The difference I most readily noticed is his relationship change involving God. Chapter One greatly elaborated Stephen's curiosity and awe and fear. He "repeated his prayers quickly, fearing that the gas would go down" (pg 13) and trembled for fear he'd go to hell. Chapter Two, though, shows his change in godliness. His Uncle Charles prayed quite a bit, and "Stephen knelt at his side respecting, though he did not share, his piety" (pg 56). He's separated himself from God and focused more on himself and defining himself as this artist image that fits with his family's financial troubles.
Martha,I feel like he is in somewhat of a fantasy world. Like he doesn't truly know what reality is and how to survive in it
Kayla do you think that is because he has matured and he is starting to think in more of a way that we would think? But thats what i talked about in my reading ticket. I think that his new flow of thought and elevated diction is due to him maturing through life experiences.
Sally-I loved your point about the Byronic hero. I think that definitely comes through in this chapter in that he kind of separates himself from his family. I'm kind of listening to the inner circle right now and Jess just said that distance is evidence of him being an artist.
One difference that I've noticed from the first and second chapter is that Stephen is a much more mature in the second chapter and we can see his development and growth artistically. He seems more like an adult in this chapter rather than a kid.
Martha- I agree with that. I feel like his innocence still makes him over analyze things...but isnt that what artists do also? Like Andy Goldsworthy? Other than his diction, I'm still confused on what defines Stephen as an artist.
Zach, I think that Stephen has been conscious about his escapism. He talks about how he feels he is without a family, and I think that maybe his love of literature has become an alternate reality because of his lack of actual emotional relationships. I think it is a coping mechanism for him in his awkward time of adolescence.
Laura, I agree. I think that the book may be somewhat autobiographical for Joyce. Just as The Bell Jar is semiautobiographical, I think Portrait may be semiautobiographical for Joyce. Maybe Joyce wishes to surface how he came to be the person (artist) that he feels that he has become.
I agree with what Emily just said in the circle that his thoughts portray his "artistic" qualities instead of all of the tangible evidence of him being an artist.
erin- Exactly. I think that we're kind of missing a big part. I think that the inner circle is talking around the issue of him being a developing as an artist. But, they're missing the part that this guy is weird. He's eccentric, and most "artists" don't fit into their society, whatever that may be. This guy isn't playing by any of the rules that everyone else is. And I don't think we can characterize him into any other box.
I agree with Erin in that he kind of lives in a fantasy world however I think that he knows what reality is, he just does not want to go to it. He is more comfortable in his own little world and does not want to be vulnerable in the real one.
Madison - I love this part of one of your comments:"I think this process is very confusing to Stephen, and I feel that this book embodies his struggle to understand whether or not to become who he feels that he is supposed to be, or to become who every one else feels that he should be."I originally though that Chapter 2 was just difficult for me to understand, but now I think that Joyce wanted to make it that way. Maybe he deliberately composed Chapter 2 to connect the reader to Stephen's confusion.
sorry, I meant how the bell jar is somewhat autobiographical for Sylvia Plath...I realize I forgot to include that in my last comment...I was just trying to make a comparison
I'm confused about that too Shauna! I don't understand what makes him an artist. Are his words and thoughts his art? I guess I just don't understand how he is an artist quite yet. I definitely see his growth between the chapters, but to me it's more of growth as a person, not specifically an artist.
Kayla- I agree. I think that at first he was just kind of free-spirited and young, but now he is noticing that he is different. And he likes being different. I think that this shows that he is figuring out that the way he thinks is more creative and he happy that he is creative and different.
Dylan, I agree with you. And I also think that a shift from the first chapter is that Stephen does understand reality more, but chooses not to be pulled into it.
Tana, do you think his move into adulthood will continue or will he remain at this maturity level? Do you think his family's financial trouble made him grow up faster?
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Going along with Dylan and Erin, I think it's interesting how he is so dedicated to Byron as a poet. Just as Chelsea is talking about in the inner circle
Madison-I loved your response to Maria which reminded me of the passage on the bottom of page 56, "The hour when he too would take part in the life of that world seemed drawing near and in secret he began to make ready for the great part which he felt awaited him the nature of which he only dimly apprehended." This quote shows a huge level of maturity in Stephen. He knows something greater is coming to him, but more importantly he knows that he doesn't understand the magnitude. He has no idea and he knows he has no idea. I think that's an incredibly mature attitude to have towards something as children tend to think along more self-centered lines.
ZachI don't think that Stephen's stream of conscious is a form of escapism but a from of self awareness. Stephen is developing his emotions and artistic abilities by focusing on his thoughts. Through Stephen's stream of conscious, he learns to deal with reality and the "... the slight shocks to his boyish conception of the world" (Joyce 39).
Madison--Wow, I like the way you described that! Do you think this is why he feels so drawn to Count of Monte Cristo? How does he unleash/release his frustrations? I think maybe Joyce is building his background as an artist, defining how an artist becomes an artist, and his purpose.Ty--I agree with that. He seems to be escaping and more mature than the world around him, becoming more Romantic with his mindset. Do you think this is what defines him as an artist? Is this a way of escape?
I would agree with Madison and Laura, I think that Stephen reflects Joyce's character somewhat and is a reflection of him. I think that Joyce is using Stephen's character to reveal himself and find out who is as a writer. Like Jess said, I think that Joyce feels trapped as an artist and Stephen's development and growth as an artist in the book is symbolic of Joyce's growth.
Going off what Jess just said in the middle, I feel like Stephen has a secret or something that we have yet to find out. I feel like we don't really know his story so well since its alot of stream of conciousness writing.
Exactly Laura. He is trying as hard as he can to resist and put off as long as he can entering the real world. And Zach I think that he will start to make the shift into becoming a mature adult in that he will talk to and be a part of society and will contribute to the real world. I think he will start heading that direction, but just in his own time...
I think that he matches up with Byron maybe in his thoughts. But wasn't this the pansy kind who got beat up on the playground? Maybe when he's in his fantasy world he can be that.Also, let's keep in mind that this is an autobiography.. Do we think Joyce is playing himself up?
Sara and Shauna. I agree too. AH!Zach. I think that he will still continue to mature. I think that as he grows older his ideas and understandings of the world will shape around him and mature him as well. I do believe his family's financial trouble made him grow up faster. Any hardship in a family will make the kids grow up faster because they have to deal with the situations and contribute to them as well.
Sara and Shauna - I think that one of the qualities of an artist, like Andy Goldsworthy, is the constant attempt to figure out more of who he or she is... For example, a singer who's a singer will sing for the fame, but a singer who is an artist only sings for their soul, and to satisfy that part of the self. Emily Dickenson is considered a great poet and artist, and she originally had no intention of having her work published - she simply wrote to satisfy that part of her soul.Stephen as the artist is the same in the way that his train of thought leads to a discovery about himself.=]Hope that helps.
Martha,I completely agree, being an artist is unconventional. And this kid doesn't fit in with all his peers in society. Dylan brings up a good point, he is too scared to live in the real world where he would have to interact with his peers.I don't think Stephen could be a byronic hero because he is such pansy..
Ty, do you think Stephen's independence will prove helpful or harmful in the future? Will he need the help of someone else or will his self-reliance be enough to face a future challenge?
Shauna, that's an interesting thought since it seems like we know everything Stephen thinks about considering the style is so much of his random thoughts, but maybe thinking we know so much covers a secret Stephen may have. Do you have any ideas of what secret he would have?
Shauna. I agree with that you said going off of what Jess said. If that makes sense.... I do believe he has a secret. Maybe his secret will be that he is in bread... Sorry I had to say that! Good times from Honors American Lit! :)
Does anybody else see a connection to "Dorian Gray"? I connected this quote to Dorian Gray:"...he went into his mother's bedroom and gazed at his face for a long time in the mirror of her dressing table." (pg. 65) I think he's trying to find himself by looking in the mirror and trying to find his soul.
Annika--What connections do you see between Stephen and Andrew Godslworthy? Do you think that Goldsworthy was able to do his art because he didn't plan it out? He was built on how nature is flexible, and how all he;s doing is making use of what's already there. Do you think Stephen, in the midst of his maturity, is relating to this?
Zach- I feel like Stephen's character will continue to grow as he is developing more into an artist and discovering himself and the world around him because he is the type of character who sits back and watches the world happening around him and I think that he will continue to do this and grow from it.
Just to clarify, I don't think that Stephen is a true Byronic hero. I do think however, that he is becoming MORE of one because he identifies a lot with Lord Byron. But I feel like he is a bit self-depricating, emotional, and a bit more troubled now in his youth than in his childhood. He is so lost among his own world and he uses that "fantasy" world that Dylan brought up as a way to find himself again.
Jordan-That was brilliant! I 100% agree with you. His own version of art is getting his thoughts out.
Melissa, good connection! Do you think that him trying to find his soul through physical appearance will lead to his destruction like Dorian Gray??
ends and shauna- I agree about the secret. I guess my next question then is that do you think he is aware of this secrete? Or do you think that it's something he's still waiting to figure out himself?
Do you guys think that his style of random thoughts fits in with the idea of modernism and that he writes in a style that is the written equivalent of modernistic art?
Jordan!I totally agree with your comment about Andy Goldsworthy. I wrote my reading ticket about that and found many parallels between Andy and Stephen. They are almost exactly the same.
Endsley,Haha "Wait he's in the bread?"Probably is what I'm guessing...
Jordan. That's a really good point. That reminds me of the day the Kakos had us define what we thought an artist was and what art is. I guess a good way to define it is doing something for the good of your soul and to grow, not for money and fame.
Maria, I actually missed the part about Monte Cristo while I was reading!! I must have been very tired..haha. But I really liked Sally's reading ticket which elaborated on Stephen's developing awareness of the art within literature. Perhaps in order to reveal his own artistic nature, Stephen must first understand himself through the artistic talents of other artists, such as Lord Byron, whom he idolizes, and through The Count of Monte Cristo. I think we all do that: connect with literary characters who either embody a trait we wish we had in ourselves, or embody a trait we do already have within ourselves. I know the inner circle has already talked about Byron, but maybe Stephen admires Byron's ability to be himself without worrying about the opinions of others. And even if Byron did worry about what other's thought about him, he didn't make it evident. Maybe Stephen wants to be able to live his life in a manner similar to that of Byron: without worrying about the expectations of the world that surrounds him.
Going off of what Chelsea just said, Zach has asked if Stephen's background and troubles with his family could have contributed to his maturity level. I think that his family and money problems contributed to his development somewhat because he had to learn how to deal with these adult issues much sooner than the other kids around him.
Does anyone else think that Stephen will have a division with his family? I feel that Stephen is isolated through his differences and his lack of social abilities. I think the division will arise because Stephen will accept his differences and strive to prove his family wrong by surpassing them.
Laura- There is a book called Speak, and I don't remember who the author is but the style is kind of the same, with the whole stream of conciousness aspect, and at the end you find out this awful incident this girl went through, causing he to be so reserved and strange and locked inside her own mind. I feel like Stephen is this way also, and there is just something we don't know yet but once we do, I feel like everything that has happened so far will make more sense. It could be along the lines of tragedy or witnessing something horrible.
Martha I think that it is something that he is still waiting to figure out himself. I do not think that he is fully aware of it or even that he has one.
Melissa-The entire time I've read this I've felt a huge huge connection to Dorian Gray. He stands out from the rest of the crowd and thinks of himself in a completely different way than everyone else. In a way almost egotistical. But not in a negative light, if that makes ANY sense at all. I'm not sure.
Sally - In the first chapter I felt like experiencing what Stephen was thinking was like seeing a modern painting or poem for the first time. His thoughts were erratic in that he changed from one memory or experience to another with no transition. Joyce used odd words such as "moocow" and repeated those words constantly which made them lose there meaning and it was hard to grasp what he was thinking. It was also hard to connect to what he was feeling in the first chapter. Just like seeing a modern painting or poem for the first time, it seems like a bunch of mumbo jumbo and it is hard to realize what the artist is trying to portray with the work. In the second chapter, however, Stephen seems to mature more, and with that so does the art. Joyce uses stronger verbs that make it cleared what Stephen is really thinking such as the word "dismantle" and "tramping." The word choices become more sophisticated and so the emotions leak out. The train of thought is more clear to the reader by getting used to the style and with Stephen's new maturity. Stephen reveals his emotions when reading THE CONT OF MONTY CRISTO and when he talks about his crush. Stephen, to me, starts to seem more human with the revealing of his emotions. This is like a modern poem or painting in that when all the concepts start to come together into a theme that the artist is trying to portray. Everything seems to flow more and make sense in the modern artwork and the emotion of the artist leaks out onto the canvas, or in this case Stephen's life.
Laura, I really liked what you said about how Stephen might have a secret that he's hiding behind his stream of conscious thoughts. Maybe he's hiding something that contributes to his tragic Byronic hero flaw or something in his past that has caused him to be the way he is now.
Maria- I think that it could be what defines his beginnings as an artist, but I don't know if we can call him an artist yet. I definitely think that his personality is the basis for a romantic. I agree that reading The Count of Monte Cristo is an escape. He likes the more romantic world more than the one he is in.
Do any of you guys have a literary character that you "look to" for guidance just as Stephen does for The Count of Monte Cristo? If so, who is it?
Melissa, Yes! I did see a connection. I think Dorian and Stephen are both molded (Dorian, obviously much more severely and rapidly than Stephen) by their peers. Dorian is shaped into what his "friends" want him to be, and I feel like Stephens peers are also trying to make him into a more 'normal' person. After all, they criticize him for being a "model youth" (pg. 70)...
Josh, I agree completely about his detachment from the rest of his family. I think he'll reach the point (if he already hasn't yet) where he does not look for the acceptance of his family and will grow to be independent of them and disregard their standards for him.
Laura-The book Shauna is talking about, Speak, is also a movie. It is really really good. I would recommend it!
Maria-Stephen seems to base everything off of his observations, which is exactly how Goldsworthy was an artist. Andy didn't sit at a desk in the morning and think, okay I think I will use this medium to create exactly this. He created off of impulse and observation around the world around him. Goldsworthy's art is essentially a stream of consciousness, much like the book!
Kayla, Thanks so much for that explanation. It's such a great point, and I really agree with your insight.
Ty- I do see the connections to the more romantic views. But that is an interesting take on what kind of an artist Stephen is, if is one yet at all.
SallyThe literary character I look to for guidance in Captain Yossarian from "Catch 22" by Joseph Heller. Yossarian is a character that disregards other people as irrelevant and can recognize the sickness of humanity, all the while joking around.
Just a random thought, in psychology we are talking about schizophrenia.. I feel like this kid might have a mental problem
Zach, I think that Stephen's independence will later lead to his downfall of his character. Melissa mentioned in her ticket that this could be similar to Dorian Gray and I think that these characters are similar in that Stephen is independent and growing artistically but I think it will reach a point and become too overwhelming that it will lead to downfall like Dorian.
Laura and Annika! Yes, I definitely can see a possible downfall coming. I'm not sure if he sees himself as better than society. He knows he's different and I believe he says that he gets annoyed by the kids playing. So yes, I can see an egotistical side coming through. I think we will find out soon!