A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
From plot debriefs to key motifs, Thug Notes’ A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Summary & Analysis has you covered with themes, symbols, important quotes, and more.
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) | Written by: James Joyce | Published by: Wordsworth Classics
Sup homeslice? This week we flyin high with A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce.
Aight slick, let’s get sumethin straight up in here: Dis book flowin bout one main thing: the development of the artist, Stephen Dedalus. And we jumpin from one episode to another as he grindin through all sorts of sh** from his time as a young thug. At the start, we checkin his only memories from da baby days: smells, sensations, and a story his pops once told him bout a moo-cow. Mm-hmm..
Later, Stephen gets sent to Clongowes Wood College. And even though he just a little G gettin schooled with other homies, he realize he ain’t like the rest of these simple scrubs. But soon Stephen don’t gotta go
back to dat trap no’ mo. His daddy been actin a straight fool and the family all outta dat cash money. So The Dedalus crew high tail it to Dublin, and Stephen starts thuggin in a new school. One night Stephen starts wanderin
round town and peeps a fine lil number turnin tricks. So he throws her some dough, and ends up dippin his pen in more than just ink. Naw mean? Stephen starts chasing tail and rubbin it raw on the reg til one day he hear some tight-ass preacher rhymin’ bout fire and brimstone.
Stephen just bout sh**s his pants, and decides it’s time to hit that bible HARDCORE. Our boy keepin it so church that one of the priests axe him to join up with his holy posse, and enter the priesthood. Eventually Stephen all like “Nah. Preesh, blood, but that ain’t my style.”
Then one day while Stephen lurkin’ round the beach, he catches a glimpse at one of da finest asses he’s ever seen- An ass so fine that it changes a brutha’s life. Forever. After dat, he decide he gonna spread those wings and create like a true blue artist: wit a free and proud soul. Like a boss.
But all the cats he kickin it with-family, friends, religious peeps- they all just crimpin his style. So Stephen keeps it real, and chunks up the deuce to the world he know.
Lemme lay this game on you, B. This book bout a sensitive lil’ G comin up in a family, religion, and country that tryna drill a certain view of the world in his head. But as he grow up, Steve-O decide he just can’t flow with dat mess. Like Cranly say, Stephen wanna:
“discover the mode of life or of art whereby [his] spirit could express itself in unfettered freedom.” (246)
And the only way to keep it dat trill is to throw up yo middle finger to all dat old sh** holdin you back. Now if you goin hard in the paint, you gotz to peep Joyce’s mad artistry up in here. See, dis sh** right here is one of the first books in which da motifs are the most important element of the text, and Joyce flippin dem literary devices like a muthafu**in hustla.
Dis cat packed just bout all the novel’s images, motifs, and symbols in the first few pages: daddies, roads, water, ladies, roses, birds, I could go on playa. Matter of fact, some-o-dat sh** so similar to ol Jim Joyce’s life, that some gangstas think this book straight autobiographical and dat Stephen reppin Joyce himself.
See, like Stevey, Jimmy-J had the balls to stick it to his upbringing and define himself outside his country and religion.
Even though Stephen’s story starts off wit his biological daddy tryna school him by droppin some verses bout how the world be, our main man ends up gettin learned by a different pops- the one he’s named after:
“Old father, old artificer, stand me now and ever in good stead.”
Stephen actually goin off bout a character in Greek myth named Daedalus- and Daedalus one of da baddest muthas you ever seen.
Fool could invent like nobody’s bidness: matter of fact, he and his son Icarus actually busted outta the slammer by ghetto riggin some DIY wings.
Just like the Greek Daedalus, Stephen just wanna create and be free. But before he can fly high, he gotta grind through an earthly prison full of weak-ass chumps.
And they ain’t no betta way to stay
fly than hittin’ dat subscribe button and gettin you some Thug Notes threadz. See you next week. Peace.