Sometimes things in your life can have more of an affect on your life than you think; sometimes things in your life can have the opposite affect on your life than it set out to have. When those things are forced into every part of your life as a child they become very things you disgust and turn your back on when you become an adult. Nowhere is this more evident than in James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man where being punished by several different people severely affects the growth and development of the protagonist, Stephen Dedalus.
We meet the young Stephen as he is interacting with his family and his neighbors, and we see the first image of punishment. Stephen expresses his intention to marry his neighbor, Eileen Vance who happens to be Protestant. This shocks his Catholic family and in response to their shock, Stephen crawls under the table. Stephen's mother assures the others that he will apologize, and Dante adds a threat that eagles will pull out Stephen's eyes if he does not apologize. This situation is never resolved and the readers don"t know for certain whether or not Stephen apologizes to the adults but one should assume for fear of the punishment he does. .
The story then changes to the images of Stephen at Clongowes Wood College. Where he meets several boys and befriends them. After Christmas vacation Stephen listens in on a conversation between Wells and several other boys. They are talking about a couple of boys who fled the school for misconduct and were later caught. Wells believes the boys stole wine from the school's sacristy. The other boys are appalled at the horror of this offense against God. Athy disagrees with Wells telling the boys that he really knows what happened, he believes the boys were "smugging" (49). Wells asks, "What is going to be done to them?" and Athy answers, "Simon Moonan and Tusker are going to be flogged and the fellows in the higher line got their choice of flogging or being expelled" (50).