Real and Fictional Home: Constructing James Joyce’s Identity in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Leila Baradaran Jamili, Razie Arshadi


The present paper sheds new light on the prominent role of man’s home whether real or fictional on the construction of his identity in James Joyce’s (1882-1941) A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916). One of the most pressing issues and cultural contradictions of modern world is the fate of individual identity in city life. A person is defined based on his cultural identity; and when the loss of that identity is imagined, one is confronted with the thought that he will lose his sense of self and cease to be what he is. The identity involves a repression that leads to a construction of stability and security that might not exist in reality. Peter J. Burke and Jane E. Stets declare that identity means ‘who you are’. Thus, to investigate one’s identity one has to find a way to the cultural context that the person is brought up in it. Michael Ryan (1946- ) asserts that culture is a set of unstated rules by which men live. It allows men to live together in communities by giving them shared signs and signals. Semiology, according to Roland Barthes (1915-1980), is the scientific way of deciphering the cultural signs and codes that pave the way to look into a distinct culture. Thus, it is impossible to know Joyce’s characters, in particular Stephen Dedalus, without enough knowledge of Dublin as Joyce’s home. Stephen metaphorically maps his home through which he can wander to shape and reshape his real self.  


Cultural Identity, Real Home, Fictional Home, Semiology

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