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The Complex Emotions of Stephen Dedalus

             In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Part Four is a period of great change for Stephen, in which his feeling about life and his character are modified at multiple instances. James Joyce, the author of the novel, focuses on the intricacies of Stephen's transformation through his use of diction, imagery, and other literary techniques.
             The beginning of Part Four displays Stephen in an emotional state that is much different than that of his past. Instead of questioning religion, God, and morality, Stephen is becoming an overly devoted man of the Church who more than dutifully prays and worships his savior. Joyce accurately depicts Stephen's extreme nature of worship with diction, using words that seem highly religious in context. The description of Stephen's method and reason of prayer, "By means of ejaculations and prayers stored up ungrudgingly for the souls in purgatory centuries of days and quarantines and years," includes fabulous use of diction. The most important word choice in the sentence is that of "quarantines", because it is used in its archaic form, making it seem related to the past and times of great religious zeal. The alternate meaning of the word quarantine is 40 days, which obviously has significance in biblical manners. Joyce's choice of this word truly shows the depth of Stephen's new religious passion.
             Stephen Dedalus's character experiences even more change in Part Four, after he decides against choosing the priesthood as his vocation. On the way to his home, Stephen witnesses a statue of the Virgin Mary, and the imagery used by Joyce precisely portrays Stephen's new transformation away from the Church. Instead of admiring the statue of the Virgin Mother as, based on past events, the reader would have expected Stephen to, Stephen "turned his eyes coldly for an instant towards the faded blue shrine of the Blessed Virgin which stood fowlwise on a pole in the middle of a hamshaped encampment of poor cottages.

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