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In "Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man" what are Davin's objections to Stephen's...

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jovigirl72 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 7, 2008 at 2:11 AM via web

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In "Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man" what are Davin's objections to Stephen's revolt? Davin objects to Stephen's revolt against family, religion, and national feeling. What are his objections and why do they not persuade Stephen?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 8, 2008 at 1:20 AM (Answer #1)

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Davin, a "peasant student", has been taught from childhood to "(worship) the sorrowful legend of Ireland".  A "young fenian", he is a member of the Gaelic League, which advocates rejection of English influence and the return of Ireland to its Irish roots.  Davin's "rude imagination" has been nurtured on Irish myth, and, with "the attitude of a dull witted loyal serf", he would never think of deviating from his ingrained loyalty to family, the Church, and his native land.  Stephen's revolt against the established order and his proclamations "of...longing and dejection" are contrary to everything Davin accepts unquestioningly as truth, and so when Stephen confides in him, he "draws his mind towards (what he says)" and politely but firmly "(flings) it back again".

Stephen is not persuaded by Davin's lack of receptiveness to his ideas.  He looks upon Davin as "one of the tame geese", and is irritated by the "reluctance of speech and deed in his friend which seem(s)...to stand between Stephen's mind, eager of speculation, and the hidden ways of Irish life".  Davin's story about the peasant woman who invited him to her bed only serves to solidify Stephen's belief that they too share his same longings, but are souls doomed to "(wake) to the consciousness of itself in darkness and secrecy and loneliness" (Chapter 5).

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