Stream of Consciousness in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Stream of Consciousness in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1)

Writers of the primary decades of the 20th century turned fascinated by the internal lives of teeming impressions, and by the psychological actions of meaning – making which represent our personal internal lives. The works of Irish author James Joyce are distinguished by their eager psychological perception and use of varied literary techniques; most notably “stream of consciousness” which is an attempt to write down within the manner through which ideas and memory really work in our minds. Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) is among the biggest of contemporary novels through which he makes use of the ‘stream of consciousness’ approach. Joyce organized his novel in 5 chapters which trace the protagonist’s life, Stephen Daedalus, from boyhood to young manhood.

It was within the psychology that the term “stream of consciousness” was first launched. In his book, The Principal of Psychology(1890), American thinker and psychologist William James launched the term to indicate what he referred to as ‘the mind stuff’ in human mind. It may be understood because the multitudinous and chaotic move of impressions, sensations, memories and psychological images by means of the human mind. James in his book says, “Consciousness, then, does not appear to itself chopped up in bits…It is nothing jointed; it flows. A ‘river’ or a ‘stream’ are the metaphors by which it is most naturally described. In TALKING OF IT HEREAFTER, let us Call it the stream of thought, or consciousness, or of subjective life.”

‘Stream of consciousness’ writing is available in a wide range of stylistic varieties, most significantly narrated stream of consciousness and quoted stream of consciousness. Narrated ‘stream of consciousness’ is most frequently composed of a wide range of sentence types together with psycho-narration (the narrative report of character’s psychological states), and free oblique type. Interior monologue is the direct quotation of character’s silent speech, although not essentially marked with speech marks.

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In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Joyce makes use of the inside monologue very extensively. In interpreting Stephen’s private world, Joyce applies this varied time in the course of the novel. Use of this method begins with the very opening pages of the novel where the story told to the infant Stephen is given.

“Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow…His father told him that story: his father looked at him through a glass: he had a hairy face.”

The identity of the storyteller just isn’t associated, however the reader imagines that Stephen’s father is reading to him. There are not any quotation marks as in standard dialogues. One realizes that these should not actual phrases, however the in medias res stream of pre-consciousness. The story, within the language of a young child, turns into indicative of the standard of, or the epiphany of Stephen’s thoughts at that age. As Stephen grows, the language modifications to that of an adolescent, and eventually turns into the philosophical phrases of a young aesthete about to launch his career as an artist. The type shifts in keeping with the epiphany.

The inside monologue just isn’t used all through, however when it’s, it can be crucial that point conditions may be leaped, in order that with out formal rationalization, the narrative shifts from scene to scene as the association patterns allow. So that Stephen, seen from the Clongowes schoolroom, can abruptly be on the Christmas dinner at home, as a result of one thing in his “stream” has suggested Christmas to him. Thus, by revealing the thoughts of Stephen, Joyce provides the reader his character’s conceptions of absolute actuality. Stephen’s attitudes towards Dublin should not black and white objective statements, however Daedalus – colored impressions, because the progressive narrative of the story is given in reflections from the mirror of his consciousness. The entire story displays the peculiar viewpoint of a lonely, introspective boy rising right into a lonely, introspective young man.

Three totally different devices are employed to present the experience of the growth of Stephen. In the early sections, the oblique inside monologue is used. Incidents are given by way of objective details which the young boy just isn’t sufficiently old to judge. As he grows older, he grows more selective, in order that his first extensive monologue is self questioning. In it he ponders his identity. Because there is no such thing as a complete use of the device, the monologue appears indifferent from the remainder of the chapter.

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The use of the third person pronoun signifies that this device is the in direct inside monologue. Stephen’s thoughts has grown in order that he can associate his name with all of the symbols of Daedalus and may consider himself as belonging to all ages as the mind before him.

Joyce’s awareness of the significance of sense impressions is introduced out in fixed allusions to Aristotle’s concept of possibility. This, within the stream of consciousness approach, signifies that sight and sound make impressions on the human thoughts throughout perception and afterwards in memory. Stephen’s view of the world is thus affected and his “stream becomes an expression of ineluctable modality in the mind, a realm of seemingly infinite possibilities whose realization is uncertain and often subject to chance.” In the next lines Stephen’s reactions to his senses will be perceived:

“A smell of molten tallow came up from the dean’s candle butts and fused itself in Stephen’s consciousness with the jingle of the words, bucket and lamp and lamp and bucket.. The priest’s voice too, had a hard jingling tone. Stephen’s mind halted by instinct, checked by the strange tone and the imagery and by the priest’s face which seemed like an unlit lamp or a reflector hung in a false focus. What lay behind it or within it? A dull torpor of the soul or the dullness of the thundercloud, charged with intellection and capable of the gloom of God?”

Throughout the book, Stephen’s consciousness reveals an intellectualism which sets him above his friends. He is revealed as one who hordes experiences for his personal contemplation. Thought somewhat than motion characterizes him, however his ideas pain him and leave scars on his character. His ideas on the rector’s sermons on Hell because the consequence of Sin are examples of this in addition to his reactions to his classmates on the Jesuit school. Stephen’s bother is the mingling of the conscious and unconscious states, or the refusal of the degrees to maintain their places; he’s unable to manage the images from his thoughts, however must look forward to them to subside.

The fourth chapter of the book is sort of an entire indirect monologue. It is the second stage of the growth of the consciousness and divulges Stephen as he contemplates and ponders the choice which is able to form the rest of his life. Should he turn into a Jesuit priest or should he commit his life to art? It is the old question of participation vs. withdrawal. What occurs to Stephen’s thoughts at this stage is maybe probably the most essential themes for the remainder of the book and for Ulysses. At this level, Stephen realizes the significance of the inside world of consciousness over the exterior world of physical phenomena. He takes upon himself the duty of experimentation with the “contemplation of an inner world of individual emotions.”

It is simply within the fifth chapter that Joyce comes nearer to the dramatic technique or the entire inside monologue within the direct method. The reveries of an older Stephen in Ulysses are anticipated within the daydreams of young Stephen on a younger girl. The creativeness of the artist is proven to be extra elaborate than the actual world and in extremely elated states, Stephen, the artist, is ready to the “liquid letters of speech, symbols of the element of mystery, which flamed forth over his brain.” But if one in contrast Stephen’s pre-conscious thoughts on this book with these of Molly in Ulysses, one can see that Joyce, in A Portrait of the Artist as a young man, has not arisen to his biggest heights as a stream of consciousness author. Here are Stephen’s thoughts: The immediate of inspiration appeared now to be mirrored from all sides without delay from a multitude of cloudy circumstances of what had occurred or of what might need occurred. The immediate flashed forth like a degree of sunshine and now from cloud on cloud of obscure circumstance confused type was veiling softly its afterglow. In the virgin womb of the creativeness the phrase was made flesh. Gabriel the seraph had come to the virgin’s chamber. An afterglow deepened within his spirit, whence the white flame had passed, deepening to arose and ardent light….”

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In this passage there may be the hint of the free association technique which is for use more extensively in Ulysses and in Molly’s rambling flux. However, be aware that in Stephen’s ideas above, Joyce has not fully deserted his conventions. Time, place and action are aligned in order that Joyce’s function as “chorus” to the “action” remains to be noticeable. Joyce admitted the significance of language in following and recording the stream of consciousness.

So Joyce’s devices for following the stream of consciousness have been fairly mechanical and ephemeral. It is as if he lays down the principles; to not say that there’s nothing noteworthy about using the technique in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, fairly the modifications in style from chapter to chapter to indicate the expansion of the hero’s thoughts is anticipating the modifications in style from episode to episode in Ulysses. The last chapters of the earlier book depict Joyce’s progress as a technician to a certain stage. During the interim between the 2 books, there was an excellent spurt of progress. The reader has been left in great expectancy by the closing lines of the novel. 

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Shaheer

Shaheer, owner of Literature Times, is a BS (Hons) English graduate and loves to write literary articles. Apart from that, he loves to explore technology, reading books and writing about his own life.

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