Study Help Essay Questions

1. Identify the three major incidents which affect Stephen emotionally in Chapter I. Which incident do you think changes him most? Why?

2. Why is Parnell's death so important in the novel? Cite examples of several characters' reactions to it to support your answer.

3. Discuss Stephen's changing view of the clergy as he matures. Give supporting examples and cite specific scenes in the novel.

4. Trace the origin and development of Stephen's own non serviam credo. Using specific incidents in the novel, discuss the evolution of Stephen's non-conformist attitudes.

5. In Chapter IV, Stephen experiences an epiphany. What does he learn about his feelings toward women and about art? Do you think he really understands, or is he still as confused as ever? Explain your answer.

6. Look up the literary term Bildungsroman in the dictionary. Afterward, describe how this novel fits the meaning of the term. Have you read any other novels that can be classified similarly? If so, compare this novel with a similar novel.

7. Concerning the Clongowes pandying incident, write a persuasive letter to Father Conmee in defense of Stephen, composing your letter as though you were an eyewitness to the event. Provide logical, emotional, and ethical reasons why Stephen should be justly compensated in the matter.

8. Examine Stephen's personal relationships with the women, both real and imagined, in his life. Show what effect they have upon his emotional development.

9. Look up the definition of satire in the dictionary. Joyce admits using satire in creating the sermons that are delivered during Stephen's three-day retreat. Examine the sermons carefully and tell why certain words, phrases, and entire passages seem to be evidence of Joyce's use of satire.

10. Account for Stephen's change of personality from Chapter IV to Chapter V. Explain the circumstances which lead to the changes.

11. Look for evidence in the novel where Stephen compares himself with (or identifies with) other leaders who have been martyred. In particular, find instances when he compares himself with Parnell or with Christ.

12. Compare and contrast Stephen's relationship with his two friends Lynch and Cranly. Include references to their conversations and physical descriptions, and discuss the significance which each of the young men has on Stephen.

Pop Quiz!

After he commits the “violent sin” where does Stephen hear sermons that terrify him?


How do you pronounce Cymbeline, one of Shakespeare's early comedies?

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