Joyce in this work of fiction is talking about the making of an artist. This novel is a bildungsroman, which means we see the growth and development of a character usually from his childhood to his adulthood. The novel is written in the third person but no direct judgment or analysis is offered to the reader. The narratorial voice is just reporting and not forcing any opinion.
Joyce is experimenting with different writing techniques and this is reflected in Stephen's continuous questioning the matters related to religion, adulthood and family. The protagonist’s conflicts with religion and disagreements with his family and his final decision to become an artist are the major events. This novel was deeply appreciated by a lot of critics because it traces the formative years, events and occurrences that compel Stephen to become an artist.