Stephen's Search For Identity In The Stranger By James Joyce

2320 Words 10 Pages
In order to ground himself in pragmatism, Stephen must establish his whereabouts to situate himself in the vast universe. Since the world is, “very big to think about,” Stephen reverts to placing himself in Ireland, his homeland (Joyce 13). By doing so, he is evoking a logical way of thinking. In youth, Stephen attempts to imitate Byron while writing poetry. However, he gets distracted and begins daydreaming. In his ambition to be creative, he realizes that he has nothing original or significant to write. Instead of creating, he resorts to pragmatism. He chooses simplicity and concreteness over the abstract and obscure.
He saw himself sitting at his table in Bray in the morning after the discussion at the Christmas dinnertable, trying to
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Once again, Stephen resorts to names when the task at hand becomes too large to grasp. This occurs again as Stephen is maturing and undergoes a lot of changes during his youth that warp his identity. Not only has Stephen moved from his hometown to Dublin, he also moves to a new school because his family is no longer financially stable. These changes dramatically change Stephen’s life and he is stripped of everything he knew in his youth. He begins to struggle with his identity. Stephen breaks down in Cork and is unable to comprehend not only his surroundings but himself as well. He is only able to regain consciousness by recalling facts. When Stephen and his father visit Cork, he becomes irritated with his father’s drinking and hearing his stories about youth. Stephen eventually feels overwhelmed when his father explains to him that he should always be a gentleman. Then, his mind becomes jumbled with thoughts. He begins struggling to find his identity amongst his father who isn’t the best role model. This sends him into a conundrum, “His very brain was sick and powerless. He could scarcely interpret the letter of the signboards of the shops” (Joyce 98). Stephen also struggles to understand …show more content…
Since he will likely return home, he will resort to his pragmatic way of thinking. It becomes a way for Stephen to establish himself and the world around him as we have learned in Portrait. In Ulysses he uses pragmatism as a coping mechanism. In order to comprehend himself and his failures he has to revert to the logical career choice. He needs to be in an environment in which he doesn’t necessarily thrive in order to recognize his true potential. As Stephen continues to mature, he will determine that Ireland is not the place for him to reach his full potential as an artist. However, it will take time for him to overcome his failures. In his current state, he needs stability and concreteness in order to begin to grasp the abstract and obscure arts, yet again. As he has grounded himself in his homeland and pragmatic way of thinking, we can be hopeful that Stephen will soon rebel and exile to uncover his promising capabilities as an artist. As for now, he is the pragmatist he always resorted to when life got too complicated. However, we know Stephen’s potentiality, and we can infer that he will soon become the artist that he knows he can

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