"The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - that you'd thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you've never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it's as if a hand has come out, and taken yours. "
That's how I felt when I first read portrait five years ago (!) in AP English. I honestly didn't understand the book and I didn't pick up many of the more serious aspects of it, but I felt like I was reading an author who completely understood my seventeen year old mind. Now every time I've reread it a different passage strikes me. The last time I completely read it was about a year ago today. And the passage that took my breath away was the follows:
"-It is a curious thing, do you know, Cranly said dispassionately, how your mind is supersaturated with the religion in which you say you disbelieve. Did you believe in it when you were at school? I bet you did.
-I did, Stephen answered.
-And were you happier then? Cranly asked softly. Happier than you are now, for instance?
-Often happy, Stephen said, and often unhappy. I was someone else then.
-How someone else? What do you mean by that statement?
-I mean, said Stephen, that I was not myself as I am now, as I had become."
That's exactly how I felt at that time. I was graduating and reflecting on my past hopes and expectations for the future. And I realized that I was such a different person when I came up with those wishes. Therefore, it's not so much the religious aspect that hits me because I never had a period of religious fever like Stephen. I admire religious people in a lot of aspects and I'd like to be spiritual, but I don't know if what I think about religion and faith fits into any particular belief. But anyways, a year ago it was that passage that hit me. I think I will start rereading Portrait and we'll see what passage hits me in the face with such a force that it's like Joyce is reading my mind. I hope a different passage hits me every time I read Portrait years to come. Nevertheless, I think having one favorite book for five years is pretty impressive. James Joyce, what a gift to humanity.
Bahh now I'm starting to think of poems I love. Why did I not bring more books with me! I miss my books!