Religion and Identity in James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Catherina Akca


This paper examines the crucial role played by religion in the construction of the identity of Stephen Dedalus’, protagonist of James Joyce’s novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, as he makes the transition from childhood into young adulthood during a period in which loss of faith pervaded much of western European society, but in which the Catholic Church continued to be a potent cultural and political force in Ireland. It also considers the extent to which Stephen’s eventual assertion that by embracing art he has freed his soul from the constraints of religion is justified by the text.

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