As I was reading the first three chapters, I thought I would never complete reading this book. Not because it’s unworthy of reading, but rather because the writer is narrating through the subconscious awareness of the main character Stephen Dedalus. You will be taken in a journey through his childhood till adulthood. Mostly, the main issues affect his thoughts and sensations are three aspects: nationality, religion, and language. And, we see the development of the three aspects since he was a child, till manhood.
According to my views, the most fascinating aspect was religion. The way Stephen dealt with religion when he was young, about 16 years old. Evoked to a three-day spiritual retreat at school, lead by Father Arnall (a pastor) who described the horror of hell fire vividly. Poor Stephen, horrified, he went to a church- the farthest church from his school- and confess his sins. That’s remind me of how Mattawa – al ma6aw3ah- used to attract young students, freaks them out, of hell fire. Focusing on sins like not praying at mosques while they forget to teach them what is prayer and why do Muslims pray in the first place.
Religion for Stephen becomes something un-rational, something contradict the nature of human mind. This was the main factor for rejecting religion by almost all European intellectuals. James Joyce is freeing his main character from religious ties, we see this clearly,when Stephen was conversing with his friend Davin , he said: When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets.
For us Muslims, Islam was the purpose of the human development occurs in the first ten centuries of Islam. It never contradicts the human mind. At the contrary, Qur’an was the inspiration of many scientists Arabs, Europeans and Asians, like the French scientist Maurice Bucaille. So many evidences prove it, if a person bother himself and get involved in some advanced research.
Eventually, Stephen comprehends the impact of religion, nationality, and language on his life. And through the novel you will notice the development of Stephen intellect till he become a poet.
I won’t be talking about the other aspects. I don’t have the intention to ruin the book for other readers. So, read it, and please invite me to read your views about the book.