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In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, what is the importance of the epiphanies...

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rdub33 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 1, 2010 at 9:56 AM via web

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In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, what is the importance of the epiphanies to the theme of escape, particularly referring to religious and sexual epiphany?

 

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mitchrich4199 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted January 14, 2011 at 3:10 AM (Answer #1)

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Stephen's epiphanies mostly involve sex or religion, so you're off to a good start. In the first chapter, Stephen realizes that he can have a voice, but he's still not comfortable with that voice and he most likely won't use it in the way that you would think. However, in the second chapter, he's with the prostitute at the end. At the end of the third, he confesses his sins and all is right in the world. The fourth finds him with the girl in blue near the water, one of the most sophisticated sexual/chaste scenes ever, and then finally, he escapes Ireland at the end of the novel. Each instance can illustrate a sense of escape. He's escaping innocence with the prostitute, sin with his confessions, innocence again and then finally Ireland. All of these point to escape.

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