Youth: A Portrait of the Artist As Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Youth: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

In James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the main character Stephen says that great art carries the qualities of Wholeness, Harmony, and Radiance. Yet Stephen is making this statement as an adolescent, one who is not yet whole nor harmonious, but one who is still developing and adapting to himself and his world. As literary art, the problem this leads to is how an adult reader can create an adolescent character honestly, a character less developed then they are. The reader then has the same challenge, to read about this character and judge them on who they are, without directing their own biases on the character. The writer and the reader can both be guilty of viewing the adolescent character either condescendingly or sentimentally. As well as this, the writer and reader either creating or reading about the adolescent character tend to be overwhelmed by the yearning for lost youth, rather than focusing on the character themselves. These are biases that impact on how effective literature with adolescent characters can be and are a danger the writer must strive to avoid. Yet, a good writer is capable of creating powerful literary works with adolescent characters and can use a number of methods to achieve the intended effect. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a good example of a novel that qualifies as literary art, with the author using various techniques to avoid the dangers associated with the adolescent character. There are three main methods used to achieve this. Firstly, that the book is written in first person and narrated by the adolescent character. Secondly, that how the narrator speaks is linked directly to his inner state of mind and thirdly, that it is an honest account of the journey of youth.

Firstly, the adolescent narrating the story is important in keeping the adult point-of-view out of the story. An adult voice looking back at youth, or a third person account would be more likely to incorporate the author's own perspective on the youth and so have the yearning for lost youth feel. For the reader also, this first person narration emerges them in the world as the youth sees it, not in the world as they see it. Reminding the reader of how the adolescent sees the world does not allow the reader to place their own biases on the understanding of the story. Instead…

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