Overcoming Profanity, Penance, And Piety: Stephen's Journey To Freedom In Joyce's Novel A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man And The Cinematic Adaptation Of The Same By Joseph Strick

  • Pradip Mondal Assistant Professor in English, Govt. Degree College Munsyari (Uttarakhand)
Keywords: faith, Catholic, freedom, profanity, penance, piety


Debate about faith and religion is one of the focal points of Joyce's famous novel A Portraitof the Artist as a Young Man (1918). Joyce's rejection of Irish Catholicism reflects the more universal tendency of the age: to replace any form of institutionalized religion with a more personal concept. Stephen is found to have a very big identity crisis, from being a God-fearing Catholic to a very hormonal teenager. When Stephen hears the 'hellfire sermon' preached breathlessly by the Jesuit Father Arnall, he feels remorseful of his own precocious sexual adventures. Hearing this sermon, Stephen decides to lead a life of “resolute piety”, trying to adhere rigidly to the rituals of the Catholic faith. Stephen comes up against the social, political, and religious institutions that want him to conform. But he discards them all for the artistic life, without being cowed by anyone.Strick's film adaptation nicely captures Stephen's vis-à-vis Joyce's ambivalent vision of Ireland. This paper is going to show from the Jungian perspective how Stephen overcomes the staunch Catholic doctrine of profanity, penance, and piety and finally undertakes an artistic journey to freedom.