A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
was the first novel by James Joyce. Here are a few questions for study and discussion.
- What is important about the title? Is there a reference in the novel that explains the title?
- How does this book compare with the other works of James Joyce? How does it compare with other coming-of-age stories?
- What are the conflicts in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man? What types of conflict (physical, moral, intellectual, or emotional)?
- How does James Joyce reveal character in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man?
- What are some themes in the story? How do they relate to the plot and characters?
- What are some symbols in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man? How do they relate to the plot and characters?
- Is Stephen consistent in his actions? Is he a fully developed character?
- Do you find the characters likable? Are the characters persons you would want to meet?
- What is the central/primary purpose of the story? Is the purpose important or meaningful?
- How essential is the setting to the novel? Could the story have taken place anywhere else?
- What is the role of family and community in this novel? What about religion? Education?
- Does the story end the way you expected? How? Why?
- Would you recommend this novel to a friend?