Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

Now this book is exactly why I started reading these books!  I had never heard of James Joyce.  Or, if I had heard of him, it didn't mean anything so I don't remember it. 

I thought this book was fascinating.  Joyce's writing style was so different from anything I have ever seen.  He goes in and out of the thoughts of characters and you find the craziest things. 

I didn't really enjoy the book, but I respect it.  I could definitely respect the genius of it Joyce and how revolutionary his writing style is. 

My favorite part was when Stephen Dedalus is trying to decide whether or not to repent of his sins against the law of chastity.  A very big chunk of the book is a sermon Stephen listens to on Hell, and the immense suffering the souls there will go through.  It describes it such pains taking detail...  Plus, as I mentioned before, we get the details of Stephen’s thoughts as a result of the listening to the sermon. Interestingly, it is effective, sort of... Stephen knows he needs to confess and forsake his sins.  However, he has to leave his Catholic school and finds another church to confess in.  He gets it all out and considers becoming a priest.  But then the same image of hell that moved him to repent is just too much to believe in and leads to him forsaking God the same way he forsook his previous sins. 

I bet we do this all the time.  We try to get people to be good by describing how awful the consequences of bad choices are, when the lasting result is to fear the Being that would make such awful consequences. 

This was no easy book to read but I am very glad I did. 

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