“Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.” Discuss the full implications of Stephen's invocation at the end of  A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

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The implications of Stephen's invocation at the end of the narrative reflect how he rejects what he sees as external imposition upon his identity. Earlier in Chapter 5, Stephen had emerged to this point with his understanding of the world and his place in it:  

I will not serve that in which I no longer believe whether it call itself my home, my fatherland or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use—silence, exile, and cunning.

Stephen had been fighting, in a sense, with these forces.  The nationalism told him to honor his country or religion, and even the filial bonds that demanded that he honor his mother were all aspects of being that sought to make him submissive to something larger than him.  Throughout the final chapter, Stephen moves to a point where he no longer wishes external reality to determine who he is and in what he believes:  "My...

(The entire section contains 534 words.)

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