“And she felt quite continuously a sense of their
existence; and she felt what a waste; and she felt what a pity; and she felt if
only they could be brought together; so she did it. And it was an offering; to
combine, to create; but to whom? An offering for the sake of offering, perhaps. Anyhow, it was her gift.” (Woolf, 108).
Clarissa as an older wife cannot have more children and felt as though she had no purpose for existing. In searching for a new purpose as an older married woman, she found that having parties was her calling. It was not simply parties for the sake of parties, but rather creating a way to bring people together. She used her singular connections with each of these people to bring them all together so they can all connect with each other.
“Now, at the name of the fabulous artificer, he seemed to hear the noise of dim waves and to see a winged form flying above the waves and slowly climbing the air. What did it mean? Was it a quaint device opening a page of some medieval book of prophecies and symbols, a hawklike man flying sunward above the sea, a prophecy of the end he had been born to serve and had been following through the mists of childhood and boyhood, a symbol of the artist forging anew in his workshop out of the sluggish matter of the earth a new soaring impalpable imperishable being?” (Joyce, 78).
At this moment Stephen imagines himself as Daedalus, the figure of Greek myth. Similar to how Daedalus attempted to escape the labyrinth by forging wings, Stephen imagines himself being reborn by building his own “wings”. He wishes to escape the religious fervor which has been imprisoning him. Like the artist “forging anew”, Stephen wants to become an artist in his own way, forging “wings” with his writing.
Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man, Oxford University Press, Oxford,2000, pg 78.
“It pained him that he did not know well what politics meant and that he did not know where the universe ended. He felt small and weak. When would he be like the fellows in poetry and rhetoric? They had big voices and big boots and they studied trigonometry. That was very far away.” (Joyce, Section I)
Joyce’s use of stream of consciousness allows the reader to see the events of Stephen’s life from the perspective of his age at the time they happened. This passage is instantly relatable as everyone can remember a time in childhood when they did not understand what adults were talking about. It also reveals the desires that Stephen has as a child. He wants to grow up so he can understand what the adults around him are talking about and be included. The line “that was very far away” also shows the reader the sense of time that a child has.