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The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a novel by the Irish writer James Joyce. It is often classified by critics as a “fictional auto-biography” since the story’s protagonist is naturally identified with the author himself. Events in the novel are not as important as the psychological development and maturation that Joyce’s hero Stephen Dedalus goes through from the beginning till the end of the narrative. As an Irish young man, Dedalus wishes to pursue a career of an artist and a writer, yet he is continuously preoccupied with his existential and religious concerns. In fact, he has been raised as a Roman Catholic in a family and a society that often mingle religion with politics and nationalistic sentiments. His concerns are even more intensified when his father goes into serious financial troubles. After a first sexual experience, then a second, Dedalus indulges in a period of debauchery and in all sorts of desires of the flesh. He is soon drowned in feelings of remorse and guilt, however. He turns back to religiosity and decides to lead a life of abstinence and piety, though carrying on with his writing and acting activities. Dedalus’s monologues and contemplations often center on the relationship between religion, sensual desire and the appreciation of beauty. He ultimately determines to escape from all his religious, family and nationalistic chains to lead a life of complete independence and to live only for beauty and art.