What are the representations of women in James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man?

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In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce describes the variety of views about women Stephen Dedalus subscribes to as he matures personally, religiously and artistically.

In his early life, Stephen sees women through the lens of the madonna-whore dichotomy. A woman was either a nurturing mother or a siren, luring men to sin. His mother fulfilled the typical madonna archetype. She is quiet and domestic, fulfilling her housewife role and maternal duties without a voice. The other maternal figure in his life, his governess Dante, attempts to break free of the female stereotype by arguing with Stephen’s father over the Irish revolutionary Parnell at Christmas dinner. In the heat of the moment, Dante

…shoved her chair violently aside and left the table...At the door Dante turned around violently and shouted down the room, her cheeks flushed and quivering with rage...The door slammed behind her…

Her attempt to stand up for her views is met with Mr. Dedalus’ scornful laughter,...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1228 words.)

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