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Free Study Guide-A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version | Barron's Booknotes

KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS

SETTING

In the first chapter, the protagonist reads his location which he has written in the flyleaf of his geography book "Stephen Dedalus, Class of Elements, Clongowes Wood College, Sallins, County Kildare, Ireland, Europe, the World, the Universe." In the second chapter, the family lives in Blackrock on Carysfort Avenue. The familyís fortunes decline and they must sell their furniture and move to Dublin. Stephen goes for two years without school. Then Stephen goes to Belvedere to finish his primary schooling. Finally, he goes to the university in Dublin.

LIST OF CHARACTERS

Major Characters

Stephen Dedalus

The artist of the novelís title. His artistic development from infancy to a young adulthood is traced in the novel. He is the early twentieth century image of the artist alone, isolated from his fellows, ironic, searching for freedom from conventional social constraints and yet longing for oneness.

Minor Characters

Mrs. Mary Dedalus

Stephenís mother who is a devout Catholic. He thinks of her as sweet in his early years at Clongowes. She does not take any sides in political discussions, but tries to stop them. She is depicted at the novelís end as an ineffectual, complaining, guilt-inducing mother.

Mr. Simon Dedalus

Stephenís father. He loses countless jobs and spends his time boasting about his past. He helps get Stephen into good schools by virtue of his powers of persuasion, but seems disappointed in his eldest son.

Uncle Charles

Stephenís great uncle on his fatherís side. He is present only in the first and second chapters that depict Stephenís childhood. He spends a good deal of time with the young Stephen.


Mrs. Dante Riordan

An older woman who is present mainly in the first chapter. She is a devout Catholic who condemns Parnell for committing adultery and approves the Churchís excommunication of this great Irish states person.

Roderick "Rody" Kickam

An athletic boy in Clongowes, who Stephen thinks is a decent fellow.

Nasty Roche

A boy in Clongowes, who Stephen thinks is a "stink." He asks Stephen what his father does and brags that his own father is a magistrate.

Cantwell

A boy in Clongowes who always uses the word "belt."

Cecil Thunder

A boy in Clongowes who is said by Cantwell to be a strong football player. He mistakenly claims that the boys who ran away from school did so because they had stolen money from the rectorís room.

John "Jack" Lawton

A boy in Stephenís class at Clongowes, who plays football. He also competes in a mathematics competition and wins over Stephen. Later, he has trouble declining the Latin noun "mare."

Hamilton Rowan

A boy in Clongowes who is reputed to have thrown his hat from a window.

Wells

A boy in Clongowes who pushes Stephen into the square ditch because he refuses to trade his snuffbox for Wellsís seasoned hacking chestnut.

Father Arnall

A priest at Clongowes who is Stephenís Latin teacher.

Simon Moonan

A boy at Clongowes, accused of being McGladeís "suck." He later becomes a writer.

McGlade

A prefect at Clongowes.

Saurin

A boy at Clongowes, who drinks cocoa instead of weak tea, and whose father is said to be a magistrate.

Fleming

A boy at Clongowes, who is kind to Stephen when he gets sick.

Brother Michael

He runs the infirmary at Clongowes.

Little

A boy who Stephen hears about who died while at Clongowes.

Brigid

A servant in Stephenís motherís house, who teaches Stephen folk songs.

Anthony "Athy" MacSwiney

A boy in the infirmary with Stephen at Clongowes.

Mr. John Casey

Mr. Dedalusís friend, who joins the family for Christmas dinner and, along with Simon, gets into a heated discussion with Mrs. Riordan.

Christopher "Christy"

Subject of conversation at the Dedalus Christmas dinner. He has manufactured champagne for customers and he is said to be "nearly lopsided now with roguery."

Corrigan

A boy in the higher line of Clongowes who chooses a flogging rather than expulsion for committing a serious infraction.

Mr. Gleeson

Prefect at Clongowes who flogs Corrigan.

Mr. Harford

Stephenís writing teacher in his first year at Clongowes.

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