Lashed to the mast: [wrestling with reality in A portrait of the artist as a young man]

McNaughton, Paul Mark. MA., California State University, May 2001. Lashed to the Mast: Wrestling with Reality in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Major Professors: Duff Brenna, Yuan Yuan, Robin Keehn. This work examines how James Joyce's use of irony in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is used as a rhetorical 'terrorist' device to deconstruct the institutions of family, church and nation. The deconstruction of these 'realities' continues in the tradition of Irish authors such as Swift and Wilde but is amplified through Freudian psychoanalytical interpretation.1 This reading of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man suggests that Joyce's argument may not only be confined to 'art' and can in fact be generalized to everyman's perception of objective reality? A reading of the text through this lens transcends a merely descriptive exploration of deconstruction and instead represents the means through which the reader becomes an active participant complicit with Joyce's purpose. By employing this strategy, Joyce presages the Modernist perspective of the twentieth century and the central role of the individual in constructing reality. The further understanding of the text this analysis affords suggests the problematic paradigm confronting the individual of the twenty-first century: a relentless degradation of social constructs and the ascendancy of individual existentialism expressed through an emerging, synthetic virtual reality.