The novel ‘Jacob’s Room’ is a presentation the impact of traditions and how it affects the subjects in the respective societies. While the novel’s plot is not in consonance with the characterization, the characters through the thoughts assist in drawing conclusions concerning the issues that are manifest in the society. The novel puts into perspective the relationship that the characters have to their society and the extent to which cultural exclusion and inclusion affects their stability in the respective social constructs. Consequently, ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ is a reflection on the future and the cultural implications on the well-being of individuals. The two narratives chronicle the development of male protagonists and how the traditions affect them. ‘Jacobs’s Room’ is an answer to ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ because of the inherent similarities that manifest between the characters and their society.
Jacob is presented in the novel as a young boy trying to wade through the maze of masculinity and the circumstances that destabilize his thought system. The young protagonists live with a single mother and his two brothers (Woolf, 12). The immediate environment is indicative of the complexities that foreshadow his struggles to deal with the complications that are manifest in the world. The setting of the story is the seaside that is ordinarily thought to be beautiful. However, the turbulent waters, hurricanes and storms overshadow romance and serenity of the seaside. Jacob finds joy in playing at the beach though he discovers some objects that are challenging and unsettling (Woolf, 22). Such tendencies confuse him and affect his ability to figure out the essence of such occurrences constructively. However, the thing he witnesses at the sea makes Jacob consider the essence of change in a particular set up.
‘Jacob’s Room’ is an answer to ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ because it provides perspectives into the life of young boy yet the latter is a reflection through the different stages of social development (Woolf, 44). One of the answers in ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ is based on the constraints and entrapments that are manifest in the society. Such propensities can be seen through the lenses of the families, especially the women who perceive life as slander to the human race. The popular though that is furthered in this context is the obsession by the people about life in the past. For instance, the characters in the novel intimate that life in the past was better than what is currently manifest and believe that the future looks bleak and holds nothing substantial.
Even though there is a consensus that life in the past was better than what is experienced in the current dispensation, they posit that life is unfairly choreographed and does not suit them. ‘Jacob’s Room’ is an answer to the tribulations of Stephen, who comes back to Ireland and finds nothing, but destitution. It is a manifestation of the widespread estrangement that is spread across societies that hinder the proper establishment of individuals in the various settings. For example, Stephen intimates that it is difficult to create and live in the nation because of the restraints and deficiencies that make life a mirage. The Church, family, and the nation are three sources of disenfranchisement because of frustrations and destitution that characterizes the society. Just like Jacob, Stephen finds it difficult to offer help because of the functional and construction of the society. The deprivation that is evident in the nation hinders the people from making progress both at the family and national level. Due to such occurrences, the people are detached from their families and have limited disregard for the leadership.
The narrative in ‘Jacob’s Room’ is presented to notify the members of the society about the essence of the proper establishment of the society. While Jacob struggles to go through the stages of life and the challenges, Stephen seeks to live a life of independence that has limited constraints. Stephen needs to understand that solitary confinement brings reproach and non-functionality of the society (Joyce 18). For instance, the society where Jacob is has a manifestation of solitude where people do not converse or share certain things. Individualism is a component that wrecks the society because the people do not have a common agenda, and will to further their addenda in unison. A life of independence effectively hinders the essence of communication in ‘Jacob’s Room’.
Stephen should understand that seeking for independence does not mean cutting the links and remaining a dominant individual in the society. The dangers of being in solitary confinement cannot be overemphasized, yet that theme is largely furthered in the text ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ (Joyce 21). Superficial relationships are the direct correlation of independence. Failing to recognize the necessity of being in consonance with the rest of the society is a recipe for individual destruction. Essentially, ‘Jacob’s Room’ is a narrative that cautions the characters in the protagonist in ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ against liberal tendencies that are misguided (Parkes 112).
The story of Jacob confronts the misconceptions that are inherent in the text ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’. For instance, while Stephen seeks to venture into other fields by religiously being accustomed to the Aristocratic and Aquinas’ teachings he does so by fleeing to other destination. Jacob explores the possibilities of nature and the essence of life by being intelligently drawn to what can be achieved. The answer to ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ is based on the fact that while one is allowed to go through life by being accustomed to certain propensities, it is possible to remain sincere to the self by seeking through which all the issues can be solved.
The essence of education is extensively exposed in the two narratives though in different dimensions. There is a general recognition that ‘Knowledge is Power’, and Jacob epitomizes the essence of education to an individual and the rest of the society. Jacob and Stephen go through the education system though they are differently indoctrinated into the systems to the extent that it affects their view of life and social construction of the societies. Jacob is intelligently indoctrinated into the education system to the extent that he mulls through the different issues and ideologies in a clever manner (Woolf, 77). This characterization of Jacob is an answer to Stephen, who believes that life is the total of denouncing the popular beliefs and chatting a path that is marked by independence. ‘Jacobs’s room’ is a submission that one does not have to be independent or deprecate the teachings of the society to become intelligent (Hansen, 172).
The moral establishment of Jacob is above reproach and wades through life exhibiting high moral standards. For instance, he goes out to battle and a passionate appeal and emotions to fight for what is just and appropriate during difficult moments. Fighting for his nation is a key phenomenon that pushes him to carry out certain activities aimed at enhancing stability in the society (Beja 31). Stephen, on the other hand, has negative connotations concerning his country to the extent that he feels there are limited issues that an individual can engage to change the circumstances in the society. Stephen has a constriction in his mind that curtails his thinking. For example, Stephen believes that signing petitions and engaging in protests abdicates the essence of an individual’s freedom (Joyce 56). The assertions by Stephen bring into perspective the differences between Britain and Ireland. While the citizens in Britain, especially Jacob have a concern for the things that happen in the society, Stephen, who represents the populace in Ireland, do not feel the need to antagonize the state. An individual’s participation in the affairs of the society is an indication of the values and moral standings.
‘Jacob’s Room’ is an answer to ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ because it offers an alternative representation of how a social setting should be constructed. Though the protagonists in the two narratives are conflicted by the traditional norms, they seek to have better society by engaging in various activities. ‘Jacob’s Room’ answers ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ by drawing distinctions between people’s perceptions about certain issues that are manifest in the society.
Beja, Morris. James Joyce: The Centennial Symposium. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000. Print.
Hansen, Anne M. The Book as Artifact, Text and Border. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2005. Print.
Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. London: Vintage Classic, 2012. Print.
Parkes, Adam. A Sense of Shock: The Impact of Impressionism on Modern British and Irish Writing. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Internet resource.
Woolf, Virginia. Jacob's Room. Fairfield, IA: 1st World Library Literary Society, 2005. Internet resource.