A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the first novel by Irish Writer James Joyce, depicts the mental and physical growth of Stephen Daedalus, an Irish Catholic. James Joyce applied innovative rhetorical devices and techniques, like the flow of consciousness, to the novel, for which he was celebrated and remembered as one of the leaders of literary modernism. Meanwhile, his ingenious use of traditional devices also makes remarkable contributions to the development of the main ideas of this novel. This essay will identify three rhetorical devices in Chapter four and analyze the connection between the rhetoric and the meanings of this chapter. From my perspective, the rhetoric contributes to the expression of the meaning in this chapter by smoothly and profoundly linking the character to the theme.
The whole story centers on the changes experienced by Stephen which guided him to his own path of an artist. Chapter four serves as a transition between the former chapters, which depicts Stephen’s childhood, degeneration and confession, and the last chapter, which details Stephen’s contemplation and self-exile. More specifically, it demonstrates to the audience the process by which Stephen abandoned priesthood and then pursued freedom. These are all made vivid by a variety of rhetorical devices utilized by James Joyce.
The first notable device, parallel structure, characterizes Stephen’s changes and is primarily descriptive. It is an indispensable part of the novel, for it logically leads to Stephen’s later emotions. The device appears in the first sentence of the chapter: “Sunday was dedicated to the mystery of the Holy Trinity, Monday to the Holy Ghost, Tuesday to the Guardian Angles…” (P105, James Joyce). This is a description about how Stephen scheduled his time to practice his religious beliefs. The sentence is extraordinarily powerful and impressive as the beginning of a new chapter, since it shows how unreservedly Stephen devotes his life to religion in search of ultimate salvation and happiness. Serving the same function is the sentence “He offered up each of his three daily chaplets… in faith of in the Father Who had created him, in hope in the Son Who had redeemed him…” (James Joyce, P106). By emphasizing Stephen’s endeavors and seemingly unshakable faith, James intends to show the influence of the retreat on Stephen, as well as foreshadowing Stephen’s impatience and frustration later in the chapter, a consequence of his self-blame for his imperfection and his doubts about whether his penances are effectual. Had the author not attach enough importance to this portion of the novel, it wouldn’t have appeared natural that Stephen grew so disheartened that he himself casted doubts on his beliefs------The device promotes the progression of the plot.
After all the foreshadowing, the author starts to use symbolism to indirectly address Stephen’s changes. One awesome use of this device appears in the third part of chapter 4: “Now, at the same of...