Knapp, John V., 1940-
Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)
Department of English
Joyce; James; 1882-1941--Characters--Family relationships; Parent and child in literature--Criticism and interpretation
Joycean critics have paid little attention to the parent-offspring schisms numerically mirrored in Joyce’s fiction. Freudian (or Lacanian) psychoanalysis and other poststructuralist criticism have mainly either delved into Joycean multi-voiced narrative of free indirect style as a departure from realism or read Joycean texts as Joyce’s (or his characters’) political struggles against Irish patriarchy at the turn of the century. My study shifts a focus from the stylistically or politically oriented approaches to Joyce’s fiction to a sociobiological dimension to Joycean characters— a neo- Darwinian approach to human development with adaptive implications of human behaviors. More specifically, I bring to light the parent-offspring schisms in the typical patterns of relationships in the Dublin families depicted in Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Stephen Hero. What is the most salient in the matter of Dubliners’s familial interactions is overprotective and demanding motherhood in which a mother and a child are extremely interdependent on each other. The seemingly affectionate but tremendously intrusive mothers hinder their children’s autonomy and independence, making them indecisive and timid. In A Portrait and Stephen Hero, Stephen displays a biological sign of inhibited temperament with fear of novelty as his inherited nature. At the same time, he grows into a person with rigid personality as the outcome of his adaptation to the sibling position as a firstborn child. As a Bildungsroman, A Portrait is read as Stephen’s development into a person of adolescent egocentrism on the basis of his moral reasoning grounded in his personal values in conflict with sociocultural values. Stephen cognitively adapts from pre-adolescent moral absolutism to adolescent moral relativism by which he shows iconoclastic tendencies.
Kim, Sang-Wook, "The parent-offspring conflict in Joyce's fiction : a Neo-Darwinian view" (2006). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 6056.
Northern Illinois University
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