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

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Chapter 3 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What is Stephen’s attitude toward his sinful lifestyle as Chapter Three opens?

2. What religious office does Stephen hold at Belvedere?

\3. What is important about St. Francis Xavier, according to the rector?

4. What are the “four last things” the sermons will cover during the retreat?

5. What effect does seeing Father Arnall have upon Stephen?

6. Why does Stephen feel he cannot confess at the college chapel?

7. Describe Stephen’s vision of hell.

8. What effect does seeing the “frowsy girls” on the side of the road have on Stephen?

9. How old is Stephen in Chapter Three?

10. What does the priest tell Stephen after confession?

1. Stephen claims to be indifferent; he does not feel shame or guilt around his classmates, and is too proud to pray to God and repent.

2. Stephen is prefect of the sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

3. The rector tells the boys that St. Francis Xavier was one of the original Jesuits, one of the first followers of Ignatius. He was known for converting people in the Indies, Africa, and Asia. According to the rector, he once converted 10,000 in one month.

4. The “four last things” are death, judgment, hell, and heaven. The topic of the sermons never reach heaven, as promised.

5. Seeing Father Arnall recalls Stephen to his Clongowes days, making his soul “become again a child’s soul,” symbolizing how this retreat signifies a return to innocence for him.

6. Stephen does not want to confess along with his classmates out of shame for the extent of his sins.

7. Stephen imagines hell as peopled with goat-like, half-human creatures who encircle him, mumbling incoherently. It is a land of dry thistle and weeds, solid excrement, and dim light.

8. When Stephen sees the poor girls, he is ashamed and humiliated at the thought that their souls are dearer to God than his.

9. Stephen tells the priest during confession that he is 16 years old.

10. The priest tells Stephen to resist the Devil’s temptation, to repent, and to give up his life of sin. He tells Stephen to pray to the Virgin Mary when he is tempted.