James Joyce Writing Styles in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

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Narrative

Like many of the novels that precede it, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is written in the third person point of view. However, this novel is anything but a traditional third-person narrative. Joyce's narrative voice is utterly unlike the omniscient (all-knowing) narrative voice found in traditional nineteenth-century novels. Earlier novelists such as Charles Dickens and George Eliot concentrated on exterior detail and attempted to give a broad overview both of the action that they were depicting and the society in which it took place. Joyce had no interest in writing this sort of novel. His narrative is narrow and tightly focused; he does not tell what is happening but rather tries to show what is happening without explaining the events that he is showing.

There is no plot as such in the novel; the narrative is not continuous but fragmented, with gaps in the...

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This section contains 1,745 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Study Guide
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