A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, published in 1916, is the story of Stephen Dedalus and the narrative provides an oblique self-portrait of the author himself.
Divided into five sections, Joyce's first novel follows Stephen's life from childhood through adolescence to the first flush of manhood. As Stephen matures through various family conflicts and periods of study at Jesuit schools, he begins to rebel against his family, his religion and his nation. Finally, in order to establish himself as an individual and to find his identity as an artist, he seeks self-imposed exile in Paris.
Joyce's manipulation of the narrative itself-the language and syntax used at each point in the book-reflect the age and intellectual development of Stephen at that time. Essentially we are given a window into Stephen's consciousness and the whole world is unveiled to us through that single aperture.