Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Notebook

Topic: Bird Imagery

Chapter One

"The vances lived in number seven.They had a different father and mother. They were Eilee's father and mother. When they were grown up he was going to marry Eileen. He hid under the table. His mother said : - O Stpehen will apologise Dante said: - O, if not, the eagles will come and pull out his eyes.

Pull out his eyes,
Pull out his eyes.

Pull out his eyes,
Pull out his eyes,

[The novel starts out in a childish manner as if the narrator is telling a story "Once upon a time.... there was a moocow...." Stephen Dedalus is the protagonist and he tells us a little about his family and his dreams.]
Stephen then talks about this neighborhood girl who he likes and hopes to eventually marry, but Dante refuses. It's as if Stephen had done something wrong. Eileen was a girl of another religion and Dante didn't like that so she threatens Stephen for thinking about marrying Eileen. She says that eagles would come and pull out his eyes and I think that may have frightened him because he seemed hypnotized by the statement. When i was reading the "pull out his eyes... apologise..." part, it reminded me of my experience watching Ted Berigan's Youtube video of the cutting prow. I felt like i was being hypnotized and it was something hard to get over so i think the eagles may either come back later on or it may be foreshadowing a stronger impact that birds will have on him.
I also think that the eagles or birds are a symbol of Stephen because when I think of eagles, I think of freedom. This novel in general is the maturing of a young man. When a person grows up, he or she learns to do things on their own to be independent. Stephen is like an eagle because he's learning to fly and to be free from being young and inexperienced. When i think of eagles, i also think of power and strength. Stephen already feels much more mature compared to the other kids in his age and that separates his character, making him above everyone else. His character is different and that's what makes him so interesting.
I also thought that the eagles may be referencing to something in religion because Dante was the one who threatened him with the eagles and she's a strong catholic believer. Eagles are actually a symbol of Christ which i thought was interesting. The idea of Christ coming to bite his eyes out for committing a sin of wanting to marry a Protestant girl seems nonsensical. Hamlet struggles to believe in religion.

Chapter Four

"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."

This paragraph reveals a clear image and connection to the Myth of Dedalus and Icarus. The "winged form" and "hawklike man" being Dedalus. James Joyce even makes it clear "what did it mean". The bird imagery throughout the novel was a "prophecy of the end." Stephen's character was born to follow the myth, from his childhood to growing up. What makes this passages connected to the myth is the idea of flight, flying sunward, which Icarus did but he died. Also, the sea is a big part of the myth. Icarus falls in the vast deep sea. Stephen during Chapter Four also goes to the ocean and sits there. This paragraph foreshadows Stephen's fate, possibly Stephen will meet his downfall similar to that of Dedalus and Icarus.

"His throat ached with a desire to cry aloud, the cry of a hawk or eagle on high, to cry piercingly of his deliverance to the winds. This was the call of life to his soul not the dull gross voice of the world of duties and despair..."

In this passage, Stephen possesses animal-like features. He is portrayed like and animal who's crying for help. His uproar is like one of a hawk or eagle. it felt like he was caged and trapped. It reminds me of "the heavy bird" in Chapter One. I could almost feel him struggling when he says "His throat ached." i also think that Stephen needed to purge his "sins" and this was a way to do it. Screaming out loud allows one to let go of ourselves for a moment. It is a method used to purge oneself from our sins similar to how some characters jump into the sea to wash away their sins. I can see Stephen starting to mature.


Emily L said...

For this notebook assignment, each of us were assigned a different topic to follow for the entire novel. My topic was Bird Imagery. I felt that i did a good job DJing my topic. I tried to go more in depth with my entries because many times i was told that i lacked depth. These are just a few of my entries. The best one would have to be the first passage because i actually tried to break up the passage deeper. I did some research about bird and eagle symbolism so i could further expand my ideas. Therefore there was effort put into these DJs.