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Thread: Chapter 3 - chapter 4 = GARBAGE

  1. #1
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    Chapter 3 - chapter 4 = GARBAGE

    Starting midway through chapter 3, and ending midway through chapter 4, is 30-40 pages of some of the worst reading I've ever trudged through.

    It starts with Father Arnall talking about the upcoming holiday of Francis Xavier. Then there are like 30 something pages talking about how holy priests are and how terrible hell is and how damned Stephen feels his spirit is and how he repents and becomes holier than thou with a spotless soul and all that crud.

    OK JOYCE, WE GET IT. He could have condensed that entire section into 10 or less pages. The ONLY interesting part throughout that section is the repetance itself.

    It only ends when Stephen get's offered the opportunity of priesthood and he snaps out of his little religious trance.

    Like I said, we get it Joyce. We get that the extreme of sin you got to was damaging, and that the extreme of religious morality was unbearable as well. Now cut off 20-30 pages and be done with it.

    I almost gave up on the book as a whole, honestly, because of how bad that section was. I'm glad I havn't though, since it's picking up now and I'm really enjoying it again.

    Summary:

    If faced with the options of reading that part of Portrait again or jabbing myself in the eyes with a fork, I think I'd take the fork.

  2. #2
    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    LOL yeah I kind of felt the same way. We don't really need to read the whole sermon being preached

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  3. #3
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    Well, I finished it today, and I must say the rest is astounding. Loved it.

    If it weren't for those 40 pages, it would probably be one of my favorite books.

  4. #4
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    I realize I'm responding to a pretty old thread, but I have to speak up on this one.

    I'll admit that when I read through the Hell sermons I was frustrated. I yelled at Joyce quite a bit and my boyfriend suggested that I just move on to another book. The beauty of it, though, was that I loved the struggle. That section is supposed to be difficult. A young boy filled with Catholic guilt probably felt a similar struggle while growing up. No doubt it's not the most compelling prose if you didn't have the same experience, but the process of reading it is pretty valuable nonetheless.
    Last edited by Victoria2133; 07-25-2008 at 12:49 PM. Reason: Posted too soon.

  5. #5
    laudator temporis acti andave_ya's Avatar
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    Yes yes yes. In fact this is why I came to the Joyce section on the LitNet because I wanted to see others reactions to that part. I got through that part yesterday and was just irritated at it. Why is it there? All it is is a fire and brimstone sermon and although I am a Christian I can't help feeling that it was indeed told by a fool, signifying nothing. What is the purpose of 30+pages of such stuff in this book? Generally I'm first to admit that theology in a story intrigues and fascinates me but this stuff bored me half to tears.
    "The time has come," the Walrus said,
    "To talk of many things:
    Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
    Of cabbages--and kings--
    And why the sea is boiling hot--
    And whether pigs have wings."

  6. #6
    Veg and Knowledge 4 All!
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    20 pages of drivel

    I agree. I actually skipped twenty pages of the sermon. I felt it dry and repetitive. put my off the rest of the book actually. i loved the beginning though. superb the way he tailors the narrative to the speakers perspective and persona.

  7. #7
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    I felt this section was tiresome, but appropriate. My experience of reading 'A Portrait' is of being manipulated by Joyce in many different subtle ways.While the changing of the narrative voice as Dedalus grows up is commonly discussed, the way Joyce manipulates the reader to feel like Dedalus, as opposed to simply knowing how Dedalus feels himself, is less oft discussed.

    While I thought the sermon dragged on too long and was over the top, I think this is Joyce manipulating the reader to make them feel what Dedalus did during that four-day religious journey. The students were told to drop all other considerations from their life for four days, and so they did, and so Joyce also made the reader do so. The rhetoric of hell and brimstone was hyperbole, and we felt it, just as Dedalus must have while the preaching went on and he dwelled on his 'sins' in cold fear and isolation.

    I feel Joyce put me through that sermon myself, and as painful as it was to endure, I am glad he did it instead of simply telling me how Dedalus felt about it. Not many writers can pull you in to such a degree and with such mastery.

  8. #8
    Registered User Compost's Avatar
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    Part 3 is one of my favourites in the novel. It is absolutely harrowing and provides the necessary gravity for even the least religious among us to understand Stephen's perception of his plight.

    The afterlife is such an abstract, intangible notion that selling it as a reality to a rational mind takes considerable skill. There it is: fully realized and palpable in all of its horror. The imagery and rhetoric is genius.

    And this:

    "The students were told to drop all other considerations from their life for four days, and so they did, and so Joyce also made the reader do so. The rhetoric of hell and brimstone was hyperbole, and we felt it, just as Dedalus must have while the preaching went on and he dwelled on his 'sins' in cold fear and isolation.

    I feel Joyce put me through that sermon myself, and as painful as it was to endure, I am glad he did it instead of simply telling me how Dedalus felt about it. Not many writers can pull you in to such a degree and with such mastery."

    Well said.

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