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Thread: What Does Stephen Dedalus Mean When He Says "Silence, Exile, Cunning"

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    Registered User Red Terror's Avatar
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    What Does Stephen Dedalus Mean When He Says "Silence, Exile, Cunning"

    In James Joyce's novel Dedalus says:

    "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.”


    By silence I think he means being an observant being, a trait necessary to any artist, writer or poet. To witness in silence the mores and manners of society.


    By exile I think he means being an unaffiliated outsider standing outside society. This is important to a writer because if you are a member of the establishment, church, or to a political party this may cloud your bias as you write. It probably means literally exile too because Joyce left Ireland.

    By cunning I think he means to possess good craftsmanship, hard work and skill to impart new truths to humanity. Also, to be as cunning as Dedalus's namesake Daedalus of Greek and Roman mythology who makes wings to escape the labyrinth.

    This observation of mine is incomplete and needs further development. Feel free to add your thoughts.
    Last edited by Red Terror; 10-16-2020 at 12:43 AM.
    There has never been a single, great revolution in history without civil war. --- Vladimir Lenin

    There are decades when nothing happens and then there are weeks when decades happen. --- Vladimir Lenin

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    Registered User Red Terror's Avatar
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    Don Delillo agrees by saying:

    The writer is the person who stands outside society, independent of affiliation and independent of influence. The writer is the man or woman who automatically takes a stance against his or her government. There are so many temptations for American writers to become part of the system and part of the structure that now, more than ever, we have to resist. American writers ought to stand and live in the margins, and be more dangerous. Writers in repressive societies are considered dangerous. That’s why so many of them are in jail.
    There has never been a single, great revolution in history without civil war. --- Vladimir Lenin

    There are decades when nothing happens and then there are weeks when decades happen. --- Vladimir Lenin

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