A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

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Who is baby tuckoo in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man?

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Baby tuckoo is a character from children’s stories that Stephen’s father would tell him as a child. In the story, a mystical “moocow” would come up to the baby and take him to a magical land. This was a common myth from Irish folklore, where children would be spirited away by a magical cow to be trained and groomed into mythical heroes, returning to do incredible feats and deeds on Earth.

James Joyce was frequently called baby tuckoo as a child, and so he chose this familiar phrase for the baby in his book. It echoes the epic coming of age journey the character embarks upon, as if he was taken by the cow to learn to be a hero.

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Baby tuckoo is Stephen Dedalus.

When Stephen is little, his father tells him a story about a nice little boy who meets a cow. He says it in the kind of language that many parents would use when talking to a child—a kind of affectionate babytalk. This is how the book opens, with a moocow coming down the road and meeting baby tuckoo.

Then the viewpoint...

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