Monday, February 25, 2008

History Paves the Future

One’s past paves the way for one’s future; therefore, Stephen’s individual history influences the course of his life. His past decisions and choices determine the scenarios and situations he finds himself in the present. Hence, he cannot turn off the road he has begun to follow. Although he has dreams of being an artist, he is trapped in a reality where he cannot pursue his career.
His decision to leave Paris and return to Dublin in order to see his dying mother is an essential part of his past that manipulates his present. Because he is in Dublin and without money, Stephen is forced to put his life as an artist on hold to become a school-teacher. Thus, he is ushered into an existence that he did not initially plan to follow. Establishing a life for himself that is far from his personal ideal, Stephen is motherless and surrounded by individuals who he does not care for intensely. The single choice of returning to Dublin temporarily tears his plans for the future into pieces. He is trapped in a place where his dreams remain out of reach.
As an Irishman, Stephen is stereotyped based on the history of his people and expected to behave in a certain manner. Because many Irish people are viewed as lowly and uneducated, individuals may perceive Stephen based on these inaccurate and biased assumptions, limiting his ability to step up in the world. Bombarded with the history of the colonial struggle between Ireland and England, Stephen views his place in history as an Irishman as mostly insignificant. As a result, he does not acknowledge the richness of his Irish culture because he is programmed to think that his people’s history is not one to get excited over. However, the history books are almost always written by the winners so until Ireland attains a chance to tell her side of the story, Stephen and his fellow Irishman will remain trapped in a nightmare that the English history books have created for them.

No comments: