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Ruchi Shah, Brooke Wilson, Kaelin Cowley. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man- Chapter 2. Focus Areas. Stephen’s Alternating Faith in Catholicism. Initially, had unwavering faith. Ignorance and circumstances causes him to question his faith. Stephen’s Desire to Escape.

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Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man- Chapter 2

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Ruchi Shah, Brooke Wilson, Kaelin Cowley

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man- Chapter 2

Focus Areas

Stephen’s Alternating Faith in Catholicism

  • Initially, had unwavering faith.

  • Ignorance and circumstances causes him to question his faith.

Stephen’s Desire to Escape

  • Parallel to the Greek mythology about Dedalus.

  • Count of Monte Cristo

Stephen’s Relationship with the Family and Community

  • Isolation

  • Prize money motivates him to bring harmony in family

Stephen’s Perception of Love and Sex

  • Innocent love for Eileen

  • Writes a poem for E.C.

  • Love progresses to lust

Literature and Writing

  • Stephen endures hardship in chapter two, such as family financial problems, and uses the story of The Count of Monte Cristo as a mental escape from his troubles.

  • His new friend, Aubrey Mills, helps Stephen escape from reality by reenacting adventures from the novel with him.

  • Stephen’s newfound refuge in this literature demonstrates liberation by art and literature, which is a common theme for Stephen in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. This theme is even exemplified in chapter 1 when Stephen identifies with the children’s story that his father reads him.

  • Familiarity in situations.

Motif: Light and Dark

  • This motif continues throughout chapter 2

  • Comparison of Moon

  • Visualization of light breaking through the dark clouds


Jesuits: The Society of Jesus

  • Formation: August 15, 1534 (477 years ago)

  • Founder: Ignatius of Loyola

  • Type: Catholic Religious Order

  • Motto: Ad maiorem Dei gloriam (“For the greater glory of God”)

  • Known for: Education and missionary pursuits


  • Jesuits=Largest single religious order of men in the Catholic Church

  • A global order: members serve in 112 nations on 6 continents

  • There are over 50 Jesuit colleges and high schools in the United States alone

Founder: St. Ignatius of Loyola

Ignatius's Formula of the Instituteand Spiritual Exercises

  • Solemn vow of chastity, poverty, and obedience

  • 1984 connection: “I will believe that the white that I see is black if the hierarchical Church so defines it."

  • Exercises= 4 week, 30 day program

  • Discernment

  • Popular amongst Protestants as well

Connections to the Book

  • Reference in Chapter 2: “In a vague way he understood that his father was in trouble and this was the reason why he himself had not been sent back to Clongowes” (p. 67).

Clongowes Wood College

  • A secondary boarding school founded by the Jesuits in 1814

  • One of five Jesuit schools in Ireland

A.M.D.G. and L.D.S.

“From force of habit he had written at the top of the first page the initial letters of the jesuit motto: A.M.D.G. … After this the letters L.D.S. were written at the top of the foot of the page ...” (p. 73 and 74).

  • A.M.D.G.= the Jesuit motto (Ad maiorem Dei gloriam, “For the greater glory of God”)

  • L.D.S. = another Jesuit motto often written at the end of a school exercise (Laus Deo Semper, “Praise to God Always”)

Christian Brothers

“--I never liked the idea of sending him to the Christian brothers myself, said MrsDedalus.

--Christian brothers be damned! Said MrDedalus.”

  • The Irish Christian Brothers opened their first school in Ireland in 1802, and have since been influential in Irish education in opening schools for people who can not afford education.

  • This passage reveals the Dedalus' snobbery

Stephen's Heresy

“--...without a possibility of ever approaching nearer. That's heresy.”

--I meant without a possibility of ever reaching.

--O … Ah! ever reaching. That's another story” (p.83-84).

  • Heresy definition: opinion or doctrine at variance with the orthodox or accepted doctrine, especially of a church or religious system

Mortal Sin

“He burned to appease the fierce longing of his heart before which everything else was idle and alien. He cared little that he was in mortal sin, that his life had grown to be a tissue of subterfuge and falsehood. Beside the savage desire within him to realise the enormities which he brooded on nothing was sacred” (p.105).

  • Mortal sin definition: a wrongful act that condemns a person to Hell after death; it causes a person's soul to “die”

Roman Catholicism and Protestant in Ireland


  • Special authority of pope

  • Purgatory as a place of afterlife

  • Transubstantiation

  • Celebrate Eucharist more

  • Priests take vows of celibacy


  • Broke off from Roman Catholic Church

  • Sola scriptura

  • Sola fide

  • Public worship are simpler than Catholic

Conflict between Catholicism and Protestant

  • Henry VIII came into power

  • When Queen Elizabeth I came into power, she feared Catholicism

  • In 1613, new boroughs were created.

  • By end of seventeenth century, the Catholic majority became the minority.

Connection to Novel

  • Stephen rejects religion as a solution

  • Realizes that religion is an important concept in the “adult-world.”

Count of Monte Cristo

Specific Quotes that Directly Reference The Count of Monte Cristo…

  •  ” When he had broken up this scenery, weary of its tinsel, there would come to his mind the bright picture of Marseille, of sunny trellises, and of Mercedes.”

  • “Outside Blackrock…stood a small whitewashed house…and in this house, he told himself, another Mercedes lived…and in his imagination he lived through a long train of adventures, marvellous as those in the book itself, towards the close of which there appeared an image of himself, grown older and sadder, standing in a moonlit garden with Mercedes who had so many years before slighted his love, and with a sadly proud gesture of refusal, saying: 

    Madam, I never eat muscatel grapes” (68).

  •  ” He returned to Mercedes and, as he brooded upon her image, a strange unrest crept into his blood” (70).

  • “The vastness and strangeness of the life suggested to him by the bales of merchandise stocked along the walls or swung aloft out of the holds of steamers wakened again in him the unrest which had sent him wandering in the evening from garden to garden in search of Mercedes” (73).

  • “Only at times, in the pauses of his desire, when the luxury that was wasting him gave room to a softer languor, the image of Mercedes traversed the background of his memory ” (111).

  • “His evenings were his own; and he pored over a ragged translation of The Count of Monte Cristo. The figure of that dark avenger stood forth in his mind for whatever he had heard or divined in childhood of the strange and terrible. At night he built up on the parlour table an image of the wonderful island cave out of transfers and paper flowers and coloured tissue paper and strips of the silver and golden paper in which chocolate is wrapped. When he had broken up this scenery, weary of its tinsel, there would come to his mind the bright picture of Marseille, of sunny trellises, and of Mercedes”(68).

To understand the allusion to CMC in the novel, let’s familiarize ourselves with the story…

  • The novel begins with the handsome young sailor Edmond Dantes, who has recently been appointed captain of a ship called the Pharaon. This new career offers Dantes with the opportunity to prosper financially, and romantically, with plans to marry his beautiful love, Mercedes.

  • . However, Dantes acquires three enemies: Danglars, Fernand Mondego, and Caderousse

  • Danglars will become captain of the Pharaon once Dantes is removed, Fernand aspires to win Mercedes' love, and Caderousse is a jealous neighbor of Dantes.

  • Jealous of Dantes’ success, the three evil men write a falsely incriminating letter about Dantes and cause him to be sent to prison, where he remains tortured for fourteen years.

  • Dantes’ friend, Morrel, attempts to free him from prison, but ultimately fails.

  • Dante, forgotten and miserable in jail, is nearly suicidal until he meets Abbe Faria, a fellow prisoner whom he befriends toward the end of his sentence.

  • Abbe shares his vast academic knowledge with Dantes and also reveals the location of his lost treasure on the island of Monte Cristo.

  • Sadly, Abbe dies. However, Dantes uses this as a method of escape by posing as Abbe’s corpse and exiting the cell in Abbe’s body bag.

  • Dante’s new purpose in life becomes to gain slow, nasty revenge on his enemies.

  • Dante finds the treasure of Monte Cristo, and becomes enormously wealthy. He becomes the Count of Monte Cristo.

  • The Count formulates a ten year plan to ensure that they are sufficiently tormented. Monte Cristo learns the details of his enemies’ pasts and hires loyal servants to keep them at arm’s length.

  • The Count signs a contract with Albert de Morcef, who then introduces the Count to all of his old enemies. None recognize him, and the enemies attempt to earn good favor with him because he is greatly wealthy.

  • Monte Cristo is now very close to his enemies, and after carefully assessing their greatest weaknesses, he begins to destroy each one, slowly and painfully.

  • Dantes recognizes Caderousse’s weakness as greed, and therefore, gives him a diamond, which possesses Caderousse to become increasingly selfish, and motivates him to commit many crimes, leading to his downfall and eventual death.

  • Dantes exposes some past military treachery committed by Fernand Montego, leading him to his downfall.

  • Dantes ruins Danglers by forcing him to go into immense debt and ruining his career. He eventually goes bankrupt and ages.

  • Monte Cristo is satisfied with the downfall of all his enemies and meets with Mercedes (who has become a nun) one last time before he leaves aboard a ship with his ex-servant and new love, Haydee.

So What Significance Does CMC hold in POA?

  •  At home, Stephen reads Alexandre Dumas's novel The Count of Monte Cristo, and is deeply engrossed in its adventure and romance.

  • Stephen repeatedly uses Dantes as a role model and shapes many of his life experiences and thoughts based off of Dumas’s novel.


  • Through the developmental process, Stephen is experiencing new feelings; he copes with them through The Count of Monte Cristo, by comparing himself to Dantes and realizing that his feelings are relatable and normal.

  • For example, Stephen experiences bitterness and frustration at not being able to control his impulses after his migration to Ireland. Stephen has been torn from his familiar home town and school, without doing anything to deserve it. Likewise, Monte Cristo is bitter from his undeserved prison sentence and is unable to control his impulse to seek revenge.

Here’s a Little Video Clip From the Movie of The Count of Monte Cristo Just for fun…


The Count of Monte Cristo revealing himself to be Edmond Dantes and telling his motives to Fernand Mondego before he exact his vengeance to him.

Other topics

Lord Byron

  • Strong advocate of social reform

  • English romantic poet

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The Confiteor

Cardinal Newman


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