A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Notes by M. a. Valerie Pursel Zimbaro, Henry James

By M. a. Valerie Pursel Zimbaro, Henry James

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And near to the wild heart of life," Stephen moves toward the sea, where he sees a young girl standing in midstream, gazing out to sea, her skirts tucked up around her waist. Stephen studies her as she stands before him, and she returns his gaze. Silently, she gives him the answer he seeks. This is a moment of epiphany for Stephen. " In this girl's image, Stephen realizes the importance of solitude in the appreciation of beauty. He can "worship" her as though she were an object of art, and he no longer has to feel shame because of his desire for her.

Lynch continues to talk, but Stephen is oblivious to his friend because he (Stephen) has observed Emma Clery, the girl to whom he has been attracted for a long time. He makes no attempt to speak to her, but his mind is filled with wonder: How does she spend her days? What is she thinking? Does she have a "simple and wilful heart"? Next morning, Stephen awakens refreshed and impassioned by his dream about Emma. Her image created in him "an enchantment of the heart," which inspires him to write an elaborate villanelle in her honor, and as he does so, he recalls the first verse he wrote for her--ten years ago.

Later, he meets Cranly, a friend who, like the others, wants to discuss MacCann’s petition for disarmament and the promotion of world peace. Stephen becomes irritated at Cranly’s questioning and his insistence that Stephen sign the petition. Stephen uses this situation as an opportunity to exert his independent thinking on the matter, and while doing so, he impresses Temple, an emotional, melodramatic fellow student. Temple follows Stephen around like an eager disciple, fervently supporting Stephen’s decision not to sign the petition.

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