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Chapter OnePerformative Activities:Obstacles to Self-Possession
A.Recreational and Theatrical Playing:Disguise of the Self
Playing,as a polysemic word,is taken in this thesis particularly in two of itsmultifaceted meanings:one is related to engagement in sport or recreation,and theother refers to the dramatic performance.There are two prominent scenes of playing inA Portrait:Stephen’s recreational play in his childhood and his performance in atheatrical play in his adolescence.Generally speaking it is the case that children’sgames take place in spontaneous and unembellished conditions and thus reflect theparticipants’genuine selfhood.It is revealed soon,however,that Stephen’s recreationalpractices draw their energy from fiction;therefore,they can be also categorized as aform of performance in which he does not play himself but other imaginary characters.The two kinds of play that Stephen practices are distinct from one another at firstglance,but they share one common feature with further examination:they are bothbased on texts,The Count of Monte Cristo and other books of adventure in the formercase,the written text of play in the latter case.Texts are disciplinary powers inscribed, as de Certeau argues,and accordingly Stephen’s performances of these texts becomeacts of activation of the implicit powers which in turn exert negative effects on theperformer.In both of the performative activities Stephen assumes a role that is nothimself but is rather prescribed by the texts,and in acting out the texts he is coveredtemporarily with disguises working to efface his true identity that yet awaits to takeshape,and trying to incorporate him into the power system.The protagonist has to tearup the constraints of disguise and break free from the disciplinary powers so that he iscapable of finding the path to his authenticity.


B.Carnivalesque Consuming of Commodities:Alienation of the Self
It is an indubitable fact that Joyce’s Dublin is a city of capitalism wheremerchandise and commodities prevail,inciting and inviting whoever sets eyes on themto launch a purchase.Drawing a comparison between eroticism and consumerism,JeanGagnon argues that the city is itself arranged as a pornographic landscape in terms ofits large quantity of goods and commodities for the purpose of boosting commerce:“The city draws the look of residents and visitors alike,offering itself to be decipheredand read.It is an urban landscape which,unlike the countryside,becomes a culturalreservoir where individuals draw the representations that they more or less consciouslyincorporate into their lives and value-systems”(25).One of the representations that thecity infuses into its onlookers is the consumerist logic to buy perpetually for all sorts ofpurposes and the unquenchable desire to buy.This logic and its correspondentconsumerist desire are so powerful and pervasive that they have managed to saturateinto every living being in the city no matter how resistant they may be.And Stephen, as a city-dweller often walking about the city,is not exempted from being the prey ofconsumerism.Capitalism,along with its endless derivative results such as Marxist ideaof alienation and Lukács’s commodity fetishism and reification,has infiltrated into thethe fundational fabric of the whole society and individuals’everyday life,resulting inan undeniable effect of universal alienation.Lefebvre who has inherited Marxistthoughts states that‘“man’is alienated,torn from his self and changed into a thing,along with his freedom”(Critique II 206).Empowered by his prize money,Stephennow resigns himself to the allure of the seductive and glamorous world of commodities,and in immersing himself in consumerism he is elevated to the social strata of thebourgeoisie in temporary terms,completely dominated and alienated by“artificialdesires and phoney needs”(208).
Chapter TwoSpatial Experiences:Tours of the City and the Self
A.Walking in the Center of Paralysis
Beginning from his childhood in the countryside of Blackrock,the novel does notintroduce a Stephen who is born into an urban environment.Before his entrance to thecity,it is in doubt that Dublin exists solidly in young Stephen’s mind as a geographicalconcept since he skips from County Kildare directly to Ireland in listing places in anincremental order(Joyce,AP 14).It is not until his family moves to Dublin because offinancial incapability in the second chapter that Stephen is officially initiated into theurban scenario.
The beginning of the fifth chapter sees Stephen navigating through waterlog andwet rubbish so as to go on his way to attend lectures.By the time Stephen entersUniversity College,he has already made piece with Dublin’s ugliness that many yearsago has shocked his then-unpolluted vision,so that he is able to pass“amid the squalorand noise and sloth of the city fearless and with a light heart”(Joyce,AP 221).Inaddition,as he grows,walking in the city is no longer the pure operation of space itself;instead this everyday practice provides space for his reflections on politics,religion,artand self,whether induced by the spaces surrounding him or things irrelevant to thespatial present,to be incorporated to form an complex of the spatial practice.InRichard Lehan’s words,“Stephen realizes that urban objects have an equivalent forhim in aesthetic and literary terms,that cityscapes evoke the spirit of the literary artist”(106).
B.Dwelling and Travelling in Familial Decline
In addition to the public institutions of British government and Roman CatholicChurch,there is a factor in his personal sphere that also exerts influence over Stephen’s“gradual move towards a diasporic vocation”,that is the declining condition of hisfamily(Boes 782).
When it is concerned with financial matters the decline of the Dedalus familyevidences itself most unmistakably.In the Christmas dinner scene a graphic picture ofa cozy comfortable home and of a luxurious banquet is presented to readers throughStephen’s contented and longing eyes:“A great fire,banked high and red,flamed in thegrate and under the ivytwined branches of the chandelier the Christmas table wasspread”(Joyce,AP 29).Stephen expects“the servants to come in,holding the bigdishes covered with their heavy metal covers”,one of which,“pearled around the edgewith glistening drops”,reveals a plump turkey that“his father had paid a guinea for”(29,32).During the procession of the dinner,Stephen again anticipates the sweetprospect of desert:“when dinner was ended the big plum-pudding would be carried in,studded with peeled almonds and sprigs of holly,with bluish fire running around it anda little green flag flying from the top”(32).Decently furnished home and festivelydecorated food constitute a sharp contrast with the previous scene in Clongowes WoodCollege which is cold to the skin,grey and dark to the eyes,full of children’s noisesand strange stinking smells and marked by the scantiness of food.What dominates thetwo adjacent scenes is the recurrent image of coldness and water in Clongowes WoodCollege and the central image of warmth and fire in the Dedalus household.Unfortunately the scenario of abundance and affluence does not last long before thefamily has to move away to Dublin,and Stephen,although only a child,is already ableto detect from this displacement a dim knowledge that will leave an ineffaceable effecton his tender psyche:“The sudden flight from the comfort and revery of Blackrock,thepassage through the gloomy foggy city,the thought of the bare cheerless house inwhich they were now to live made his heart heavy:and again an intuition orforeknowledge of the future came to him”(78).
Chapter Three Language Practices: Attempts at Artistry ......................... 36
A. Reading as a Way to Differentiate Literary Tendency ...................... 37
B. Speaking as a Way to Assert Artistic Identity ................................... 39
C. Writing as a Way to Renegade against the Restrictive Forces .......... 43
Conclusion .................... 48
Chapter ThreeLanguage Practices:Attempts at Artistry

A.Reading as a Way to Differentiate Literary Tendency
In de Certeau’s notion,a society is itself a text,“increasingly written,organizedby the power of modifying,things and of reforming structures on the basis of scripturalmodels(whether scientific,economic,or political),transformed little by little intocombined‘texts’(be they administrative,urban,industrial,etc.)”(167-168).Inaccordance with this idea,he then proposes that“to read is to wander through animposed system(that of the text,analogous to the constructed order of a city or of asupermarket)”(169).The ordinary man in his wandering among the words andsentences,is also capable of tactics to deviate from the designated meaning,as thatwhich he does in a spatial wandering.“He invents in texts something different fromwhat they‘intended’.He detaches them from their(lost or accessory)origin.Hecombines their fragments and creates something unknown in the space organized bytheir capacity for allowing an indefinite plurality of meanings”(de Certeau 169).Thisis the case of Stephen Dedalus in A Portrait,who derives from his readingsimpressions and messages unique to himself,therefore differentiating himself fromothers,as someone with a hypersensitivity to the world,a literary tendency,and arebellious spirit.
As a voracious reader from a very early age,Stephen devours books with greatinterest and attention and invests in them his own imagination.Joyce details one ofStephen’s reading activities,showing his complete absorption into and imaginativerendering of the original text:“His evenings were his own:and he pored over a raggedtranslation of The Count of Monte Cristo.The figure of that dark avenger stood forth inhis mind for whatever he had heard or divined in childhood of the strange and terrible”(74).As he builds up the physical miniature representing a scenario in the novel,heactually constructs his own wonderful island cave where he can nourish hisimagination and escape from the adult world of debates.


Regarded as a Buildungsroman,Joyce’s autobiographical novel A Portrait of theArtist as a Young Man chronicles the surrogate protagonist Stephen Dedalus’s growthto an literary artist in exile.Joyce documents the seminal moments in Stephen’spsychic growth in an episodic manner and therefore delineates a panoramic landscapeof Stephen’s everyday life in Ireland,particularly in Dublin,a landscape dotted withtactical daily practices that resist the invasion of various disciplinary powers prevailingin Ireland.
As a Catholic born and raised in modern Ireland,Stephen has to struggle througha net of multiple binding forces in order to develop an authentic selfhood.GeorgSimmel points out that“[t]he deepest problems of modern life flow from the attempt ofthe individual to maintain his independence and individuality of his existence againstthe sovereign powers of society,against the weight of the historical heritage and theexternal culture and technique of life”(“Metropolis”324).It is exactly the case ofStephen in A Portrait,who against all odds devotes himself to the quest of spiritual andartistic autonomy from which his authentic identity emerges.

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