Even as I go through the last few weeks of Summer, I still put in time to do some more reading. The last book I finished was All That Heaven Allows by Mark Griffin. All That Heaven Allows chronicled the life of Rock Hudson, an international movie star who gained his fame during the 50s and 60s. Other than covering his acting career, the book also dived into Hudson’s closeted personal life (which included wild parties with the young men in Hollywood!).
Today’s reading takes us away from the excitement of Tinseltown and transports us back into 19th century Ireland. It tells the fictional tale of the religious and spiritual awakening of a student that goes by the name of Stephen Dedalus. This is A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man was written by James Joyce. It centers around Stephen Dedalus, a young man who attends the Jesuit-run Clongowes Wood College. It is there that he suffers ridicule from his fellow classmates while learning the schoolboy codes of behavior.
Stephen’s father ends up getting into debt, causing the family to move into Dublin. After moving to Dublin, Stephen starts attending Belvedere College (thanks to a scholarship obtained by Father Conmee). He later squanders a large cash prize from school on prostitutes, further distancing himself from his father.
As Stephen abandons himself to his sensual pleasures, his class is taken on a religious retreat. The boys sit through sermons and Stephen pays special attention to those on guilt, pride, punishment, and the Four Last Things (death, judgement, hell, and heaven). It is then that he starts a new journey towards a better life.
This novel was rather interesting to read. Some of the language was unfamiliar to me, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. There were times where I felt like I was transported back to 19th century Ireland picturing green mountains near the ocean. I didn’t need any pictures, for the words were enough to take me to the peaceful areas of Ireland.
With that, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man was worth reading. Interestingly enough, this was James Joyce’s first novel and it was amazingly done. I personally enjoyed reading it, for both the story and scenery it provided.
Check out A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man if you want to start reading some works of James Joyce.