->''"The soul is born, he said vaguely, first in those moments I told you of. It has a slow and dark birth, more mysterious than the birth of the body. When the soul of a man is born in this country, there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets."''
-->--'''Stephen Dedalus''', [[AuthorAvatar actually James Joyce.]]

A mostly autobiographical novel by Creator/JamesJoyce, centred on a young Irishman, Stephen Dedalus, and his struggle to express himself. [[ComingOfAgeStory The story takes us from his early life as a boy through his relationship with the church and with the institutions of Irish society in general, to his becoming a young adult.]] The crux of the plot is Dedalus' struggle with his autonomy against the wishes of the Roman Catholic Church.

The novel was published in serialized form from 1914 to 1915. Then collected in book form in 1916. The story started life as a novel to be called "Stephen Hero", which Joyce was working on from 1904 to 1906. Joyce was not satisfied with the earlier work, and re-wrote it from page one after ''Literature/{{Dubliners}}'' was published. The "Stephen Hero" version of the novel was published in 1944, following the author's death.

!!Tropes Used In The Novel Include:
* AnimalMotifs: birds, cows and goats.
* AuthorAvatar: Stephen Dedalus is James Joyce if he hadn't become famous.
* BlindWithoutEm: Stephen can't do his schoolwork after his glasses get broken, which Father Dolan refuses to believe was an accident.
* BreakTheCutie: Stephen gets a taste of this during the Father Dolan episode.
* ComingOfAgeStory
* {{Determinator}}: Stephen, whose basic independence of mind saves him from being targeted at school by a sadistic teacher [[spoiler: and, later, from joining the priesthood.]]
* DidNotDoTheBloodyResearch: The English priest who is ever-so-patronising about Stephen's use of the word "tundish", not knowing that it's a regular English word.
* UsefulNotes/{{Dublin}}
* EverythingsBetterWithCows: In the first line, no less.
-->Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo....
* EvilSmellsBad:
** When Stephen goes to a sermon, the priest gives a sermon/rant about the horrors of hell, such as the eternal smell of decaying corpses.
** [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] rather humorously with Stephen himself. When trying to mortify his senses in penance, he gets stumped because bad smells don't really bother him.
* FearOfThunder: One of Stephen's fears.
* FireAndBrimstoneHell: Stephen regains his religion after hearing a [[StealthPun firey]] sermon about this very topic.
* GoshDangItToHeck: Stephen's friend Cranley says "sugar" when he means something else (this is actually a very common tic among native Irish). Lynch says "yellow." Stephen tells him "It was a great day for European culture, when you made up your mind to swear in yellow."
* HaveAGayOldTime: Early on in the first chapter, the narrator describes a washbasin with "cocks with printing on it", which is "queer".
* IntelligenceEqualsIsolation: Stephen all the way.
* UsefulNotes/IrishPoliticalSystem: The IrishParliamentaryParty and CharlesStuartParnell (and his [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Stuart_Parnell#Divorce_crisis divorce crisis]] and death) figure prominently in the first chapter of the story, and is referenced continually later on.
* MeaningfulName: Stephen is named after both [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Stephen St. Stephen]], the first Christian martyr, and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daedalus Daedalus]], the legendary Greek architect.
* MultipleNarrativeModes: The book is almost entirely told in the third person, but lapses into first-person diary entries at the very end. Some sections also flirt with a form of stream of consciousness.
* OnceUponATime: See the entry for EverythingsBetterWithCows.
* ProfessionalSexEd: Practically forced on him.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: The rector of Clongowes, and he's about the last one you'll meet in the book.
* SadistTeacher: Most of them, but especially Father Dolan, who beats the hell out of Stephen's hand after refusing to believe that Stephen's glasses were broken by accident. Averted in Clongowes' rector, who is kind enough to help Stephen after he's unfairly punished.
* SeparatedByACommonLanguage: One of the major themes of the book (some critics say ''the'' major theme) is Stephen's relationship with the English language. Although he's Irish, like most Irishmen of his generation he can't actually speak the Irish language, but all the way through the book he is given constant reminders that he is not really at home in the English language either. This is [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] when he's a college student and has a discussion with an English priest, who uses the word "funnel" to refer to a thing that Stephen calls a "tundish"; the priest quietly makes Stephen feel like an ignorant provincial for using such an Irish word. Stephen then looks "tundish" up in a dictionary and discovers that it's a common English word which is actually older than "funnel".
-->''The language in which we are speaking is his before it is mine.''
* [[InnerMonologue Stream Of Consciousness]]: Deconstructed. The book starts in the third person and stays that way almost until the end, when it takes the form of Stephen's diary.
* WhatTheHellDad: Stephen has a lot of issues with his profligate father.
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