“Mr. Fletcher, retired, of the Treasury, Mrs. Gorham, widow of the famous K.C., approached Him simply, and having done their praying, leant back, enjoyed the music (the organ pealed sweetly), and saw Miss Kilman at the end of the row, praying, praying, and, being still on the threshold of their underworld, thought of her sympathetically as a soul haunting the same territory; a soul cut out of immaterial substance; not a woman, a soul” (Woolf 130-1).
Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2005.
Connection between church-goers, physically in the same space, spiritually in two separate spaces (with Him, threshold of underworld), relationship is viewed similarly between different parties
“Love and religion! thought Clarissa, going back into the drawing-room, tingling all over. How detestable, how detestable they are!” (Woolf 66).
Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. Benediction Classics, Oxford, 2017, pp. 66.
“Their piety would be like their names, like their faces, like their clothes and it was idle for him to tell himself that their humble and contrite hearts, it might be, paid a far richer tribute of devotion than his had ever been, a gift tenfold more acceptable than his elaborate adoration.”
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000, page 140.
“He felt his cheeks aflame and his throat throbbing with song. There was a lust of wandering in his feet that burned to set out for the ends of the earth. On! On! his heart seemed to cry. Evening would deepen above the sea, night fall upon the plains, dawn glimmer before the wanderer and show him strange fields and hills and faces” (Joyce 122).
Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Dover Publications, 1994
Stephen’s urge to sing emphasizes how much more he wants from his life. He is trying to force himself to live a life of intense piety, relying on religion as a sole means of fulfilling his needs. However, it is only causing him to feel deep resentment for religion itself and those around him. Art is a motivator for him; a way to explain and understand life, and to feel he has a purpose within it. When he can begin to accept the fact that he does not need to be solely defined by God or by restrictive and oppressive behaviors, he can begin to heal and grow as a person, and truly contribute his talent to the world.
“He was destined to learn his own wisdom apart from others or to learn the wisdom of others himself wandering among the snares of the world” (175).
Stephen decides that he is going refuse to conform to the organized forms of society or religion and forge his own path. He’s beginning to embrace his desire to become a great artist.
James, Henry. “The Middle Years.” H. James Complete Stories 1892-1898, The Library of America, 1996, page 337.
“I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it calls itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use – silence, exile, and cunning.”
Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Oxford University Press, 2000.
“I am a catholic as my father was and his father before him and his father before him again when we gave up our lives rather than sell our faith.” (27)
“And she did not like him to play with Eileen because Eileen was a protestant and when she was young she knew children that used to play with protestants and the protestants used to make fun of the litany of the Blessed Virgin. (28)
The world in which Stephen is growing up is one centered on religion, from his school life and even his family life is dictated by religious ideology. It is also a subject of great debate both within the Catholics themselves as seen at Christmas, or the Catholic attitudes towards non-Catholics.
“And she did not like him to play with Eileen because Eileen was a protestant and when she was young she knew children that used to play with protestants and the protestants used to make fun of the litany of the Blessed Virgin. Tower of Ivory, they used to say, House of Gold! How could a woman be a tower of ivory or a house of gold? Who was right then?”
James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, ed. Jeri Johnson (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000),pg 29.
Within this quote Joyce treats Stephen’s ignorance on religious intolerance as a show of his innocence. It seems as a showcase of how Joyce wishes to frame the mindset of a child like Stephen where these notions of difference are meaningless to children, as if this intolerance of not being friends with someone due to a difference of religion is a learned behavior not an innate one. Thus Stephen understands the reason why Dante does not like Eileen but not the intention of it, which is a interesting way to frame such an understanding of childhood.
“Stephen Dedalus is my name,
Ireland is my nation,
Clongowes is my dwellingplace
And heaven my expectation
… That was he: and he read down the page again. What was after the universe? Nothing” (Joyce 12).
Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Oxford University Press, 2000. Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Jeri Johnson