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Religion is an important and recurring theme in James Joyces A Portrait of the Artist as aYoung Man Through his experiences with religion Stephen Dedalus both matures andprogressively becomes more individualistic as he grows Though reared in a Catholicschool several key events lead Stephen to throw off the yoke of conformity and choosehis own life the life of an artistReligion is central to the life of Stephen Dedalus the child He was reared in a strict if notharmonious Catholic family The severity of his parents trying to raise him to be a goodCatholic man is evidenced by statements such as Pull out his eyes ApologiseApologise Pull out his eyes This strict conformity shapes Stephens life early in boardingschool Even as he is following the precepts of his Catholic school however adisillusionment becomes evident in his thoughts The priests originally above criticism ordoubt in Stephens mind become symbols of intolerance Chief to these thoughts is FatherDolan whose statements such as Lazy little schemer I see schemer in your faceexemplify the type of attitude Stephen begins to associate with his Catholic teachers Bythe end of Chapter One Stephens individualism and lack of tolerance for disrespectbecome evident when he complains to the rector about the actions of Father Dolan Hisconfused attitude is clearly displayed by the end of the chapter when he says He washappy and free but he would not be anyway proud with Father Dolan He would be verykind and obedient and he wished that he could do something kind for him to show himthat he was not proud Stephen still has respect for his priests but he has lost his blindAs Stephen grows he slowly but inexorably distances himself from religion His lifebecomes one concerned with pleasing his friends and family However as he matures hebegins to feel lost and hopeless stating He saw clearly too his own futile isolation Hehad not gone one step nearer the lives he had sought to approach nor bridged
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