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Ch 3 - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

#122: July - Sept. 2013 (Fiction)
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Flann 5
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Re: Ch 3 - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

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The sermons on hell and sin were not unusual in Ireland in the past,though you would probably have trouble finding a priest today who would believe in it.Catholic funerals in Ireland today tend to assume the departed has gone to be with God, be they good,bad or indifferent.The sermons do pack a punch and I would say was typical enough of those of that time, and I would say Joyce is presenting it as it would have been and not necessarily trying to subvert it.
Stephen is16 at this time.Full of conflicts and internal tensions as Ireland itself was.We see the sadistic behavior of one priest in ch.1 though others feel bad about it but don't confront it.Likewise Parnell is struggling for rights and independence for Ireland but is brought down due to his affair with Kitty O' Shea and the loud public chorus of condemnation by the Catholic clergy.I agree with C Miller's assessment of Catholic dogma of the time as being predominantly fear orientated.Stephen is in a state of mortal sin and hell bound unless he does a huge about turn and fulfills the onerous requirements of that church.His huge conflict about confessing to the priest is well drawn.But do the distortions of that church mean there is no God,or judgement no such thing as Grace in the John Newton sense of the word?
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Re: Ch 3 - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

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Flann 5 wrote:I agree with C Miller's assessment of Catholic dogma of the time as being predominantly fear orientated.
The time spent in hell is described as a mountain of sand, and a bird will pluck away one grain of sand until it is gone, only for another mountain of sand to appear! And again, and again. This description is beautifully written, but talk about fear, its one of the scariest passages I have ever read! This sermon had to scare Stephen, and I felt so sad for him and then so relieved, as he did, when he confessed. I felt like he was being tortured and wanted him to do anything to make it stop! But his relief can't last long. His feelings and urges are natural, his life sounds like a bottom less pit of agony and torture and he lives on Earth! This sermon preaches fear not only of a life in hell, but life itself. How could anyone bare this?
geo wrote:But anyway, I think Stephen Dedalus, in the depths of despair, is very receptive to this bleak message about hell. He seems to suffer a kind of mental breakdown, occasionally hallucinating—or are they dreams?—as when he sees the goats and other beasts when he goes to be "alone with his soul" in his room.
I have grown close to Stephen, I do find myself caring about him. It does not surprise me that he would have nightmares, daymares, or horrible thoughts about this sermon.

What is Joyce's intent here? If he wanted me to feel rage, he certainly succeeded.
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