Grew up… in Country Kildare, Ireland. Stephen is being raised in a Catholic home by his devout, loving mother and somewhat distant father. His tastes and emotional sensibilities are shaped both by the world around him, and in reaction and retreat from it.
Living… in a place of religious and political turbulence. As Stephen grows, he learns to distance himself from both of these. As he puts it, “When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets.”
Profession… primary school student at Clongowes Wood College. He doesn’t fit in very well with the other schoolboys, who are mostly bigger and stronger than him, and doesn’t understand the rules put down around him, either by the teachers or the other boys. Again it seems that Stephen – a quiet, sensitive individual – fails to interpret or understand the ‘nets’ flung upon him by everyone around him.
Interests… reading and books.From an early age Stephen has loved the written word. He feels passionately about poetry, even to the point of coming to blows with another boy at school over the question of whether Byron is a better poet than Tennyson.
Relationship Status… single. Stephen is very shy and somewhat awkward. As he grows up and starts to notice girls more, he finds it difficult to express himself to them and finds his advances ignored, often in favor of more boisterous young men.
Challenge… navigating the muddy waters of country, faith, and art, to find something worth living for. Stephen aims to shake free ofthe cultural and societal touchstones that have always been present in his life: Catholicism, Irish nationalism, and the idea of “home.” But in favor of what? Stephen answers: “I will try to express myself in some mode of art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use: silence, exile, and cunning.” Using art, can Stephen fashion himself wings with which to fly?
Personality… intelligent, shy, and extremely sensitive. Stephen is gifted with a powerful and broad spiritual range. He feels his emotions very strongly, and expresses them with great pain, exultation, and clarity.
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