• The title
The indefinite article “A” is no less important that the word protrait: this means that this novel,like painter’s work, is one of the possible interpretations of a subject.
• The plot
This novel is the story of Stephen Dedalus, a young british writer and Joyce’s double. It is divided into five chapters, and follows stephen’s life trough childhood, andolescence to manhood. Like Joyce himself, Stephen is the son of a poor father, and a higly devout mother, he attends Jesuit’s school and College University (like joyce). He grows trough various family conflicts, he begin to rebel against his family, his religion, his nation.
• The hero
Joyce calls the hero Stephen Dedalus, beacuse, Stephen is the first christian martyr and he is a martyr to art, and Dedalus because, like the mithological charachter he have to escape from the social, political labirinth of Dublin’s life.
Stephen during the novel, undergoes many transformations. The first from an innocent child to a bright student, the second when he sleeps with a prostitute, he changes from innocence to corruption, the third when he become a devout catholic and the last but the most important one, when he passes from a fanatical religiousness to a new devotion for art and beauty.
He makes use of the stream of consciusness technique, with wich he expresses stephen’s consciousness in every part of his existence. The languange have to suit stephen’s age, infact it develops from the simple language of stephen’s childhood, to the complex language of an student’s artistic comments. Joyce gives free access to his charachter’s mind.