In this passage, Joyce develops motifs and images present throughout the book to create a moment of epiphany, where the speaker realizes a moment of artistic innovation in a poem In addition, this passage reflects important themes in the novel.
Joyce uses the motif of “dawn” to suggest that this is a breakthrough moment in the speaker’s life. He begins by saying “Towards dawn, he awoke.” This is a foreshadowing of the new and innovative moment that is about to come in the passage. He is describes as “waking to a morning knowledge, a morning inspiration.” The narrator also describes the time as the “hour of dawn when…plants open to light.” This idea of light and inspiration will be discussed shortly, but it is important to note how Joyce relates them directly to dawn. Dawn is when the sun’s light first appears in the sky, and in this passage, Joyce uses dawn as a motif to imply the speaker’s epiphany.
Joyce employs water imagery throughout this passage. At the beginning, he ties water to the morning imagery by referring to dew. “His soul was all dewy wet.” This line is explained by the next line: “Over his limbs in sleep pale cool waves of light had passed.” As discussed above, the speaker has been inspired by the time dawn has come, and this reference to cool waves suggest that the water refreshed the speaker or soaked him in a fluid of creative innovation. This is why his soul is described as wet, and later as laying “amid cool waters.” Also, his spirit is described as “pure as the purest water, sweet as dew.” This reference to pureness and earlier to the pale waves both refer to the idea of a clean soul and freedom from sin. The theme of purity has been developing throughout the novel, but here it is developed somewhat differently. Although the water is pure, earlier Stephen saw purity and religion as boring and dull, but now he associates them directly with this literary moment of creativity that he has. So, here we begin to see that although the water is associated with freedom from sin, it is also linked to art. This passage has a strong development in the use of water, as earlier in the novel, water was associated with sickness and death, since Stephen became sick from the water and later one of his friends in the bay shouted that he was drowning. However, this is not a sharp jump from a negative to positive meaning of the water motif; before this passage, the image of an attractive girl by the water associated water with beauty. With that, water has been a changing motif.
Thesis Statement: Water is the most crucial part of life its self, and must never go unnoticed. I. People frequently overlook the importance of water in the body. In order to keep the body healthy, people must consume water. A healthy body is a well-hydrated body. Without the constant consumption of water the body becomes dehydrated. Perhaps people overlook waters importance, simply because its ...
Now that concepts of epiphany and inspiration have been established, the group of “heaven” images becomes important. The speaker claims that a faint and pure “spirit filled him,” and describes it as though a seraphim breathed on him. To add to the point above, here a religious image is breathing this creativity into the speaker, continuing to suggest that there can be creativity without sin. The speaker goes on to suggest how angels themselves are lured to music and inspiration. He describes a woman who “lured… the choirs of the seraphim…falling from heaven.” Again, in the poem he repeats, “Lure of the fallen seraphim?” Here the image of angels falling from heaven because they see this beautiful lady is introduced. In addition to this, the “rays” that come from the woman “consumed the hearts of men and angels.” This suggests that although men are mortal, and angels are heavenly, both are under the control of beauty and passion. Now, Joyce says, “In a dream or vision he had known the ecstasy of seraphic life.” This implies that Stephen has found that there can still be a good life with joy and perhaps a sinful joy also, which is suggested by using the word ecstasy as opposed to simply ‘joy.’
Interestingly enough, earlier Stephen complained of sending thin meaningless flowers of prayer up to heaven to show that he is pious and free from sin. However now, we see almost the exact opposite: angels are falling down from heaven because they see beauty and passion in this woman (who is deliberately referred to as a rose), which is a reversal of the treatment of the heaven motif; instead of roses going up, angels are coming down.
Rose For Emily A Rose For Emily was written by William Faulkner in 1931. Not only is this story sad, and in the end a bit horrific, but it appears to be somewhat autobiographical. It is written with a certain first-hand knowledge. There appears to be a direct link between Emily and the author, not the narrator, but the author, William Faulkner. Some indications of this relationship can be found in ...
Another reference to heaven is in association with the virgin Mary. “In the virgin womb or the imagination, the word was made flesh.” This line suggests that in Mary’s womb, from where Jesus was born, comes inspiration. Just as God was put into flesh there, so was inspiration, suggesting that creativity and piety have the same origin or birthplace. This develops the theme of a coexistence of art and religion.
The woman introduced in this passage plays the important role of being another source of inspiration for Stephen. Two important motifs, the rose and light, are used together to refer to the woman and her role in this passage.
The first mention of rose comes when the speaker says, “The rose and ardent light was her strange willful heart.” Using diction such as ‘ardent’ suggest that both of these motifs refer to passion and strong emotion. Also, the rays from the rose “burned up the whole world,” which reinforces how strong and passionate this moment is. The rose-like glow is what lures the angels. In addition, “The rose-like glow sent forth its rays of rhyme.” This links the rose, which represents the woman to music. The rose has developed through the novel into a symbol of beauty, passion which has led to this creativity. Previously, the rose represented the soul, and the there was much reference to “withering flowers” as Stephen felt that his soul was in sin. Later, roses developed into a religious motif, where the white rose represented piety, but now we see that, as with some of the other images, the rose is directly associated with passion and beauty.
The light image also serves as a link between several motifs. The first motif of dawn suggests that a light of inspiration is opening the sky. Also, the morning light would literally come from above, or from the heavens, and so light ties the morning to the heaven motifs.
An analysis of "A Rose for Emily" by Celia Rodriguez West suggests that modern art grew out of a dissatisfaction with existing belief. He also claims that nineteenth-century romanticism in England and in America, particularly during the latter half of this age, was relatively complacent, but that this complacency became an impossibility following the shock of World War I (West, 92). Artists asked ...
Lastly, the motif of smoke and incense is present. It is interesting that smoke is always specifically mentioned with the idea of floating up: “Smoke, incense ascending from the altar,” “the flame of smoke and praise goes up,” and “Smoke went up from the whole earth.” Earlier in the novel, smoke was a symbol of eternal damnation, where Stephen was confronted with a story of the fires of hell, and there was even a discussion differentiating hellfire and earth-fire. However, when Stephen saw the girl by the harbor, he also saw a flame, which seemed to associate fire with the fire of passion and energy. Now, with the rising smoke, coming from the “her praise,” we see that it is going towards the heavens above. So, it may be implied that this fire of lust and passion, established earlier, ends up back in the heavens above, and interestingly enough, this same creativity was born in the Virgin Mary, as discussed before. So creativity, now represented by smoke and incense, was born in a religious figure and ends up above in the place free of sin.
An interesting note about the images in this passage is that they are all soft and gentle as opposed to sharp and exciting. Because this passage discusses a poetic breakthrough filled with a sudden rush of inspiration, one would expect perhaps bright color or energetic images. Instead, we encounter white colors and “soft glows.” Even the image of the seraphim is softly breathing inspiration into the speaker. The smoke which rises is a soft and flowing image. Altogether, Joyce uses gentle images to advance an intense portion of the novel.
In conclusion, we see numerous motifs and images used in this passage. Most of these images have been used earlier in the novel, but here they relate to knew and different ideas. Also, the themes of the novel have been developed in this passage, with the development of the motifs.