The central protagonist throughout the novel.
Along with his older narrator.
However, his older self and his
young are two very dislocated
Refers to himself as 'the heir to Stephen's
thoughts' - yet he does not seem to be in
possesion of them
He refers to himself in the 3rd person and has a
vague and unreliable retrospective view on his
earlier childhood life
Older Stephen even says he would not
recognise himself in photos if it wee not
for the name on the back
Stephen is portrayed sympathetically but not
sentimentally by his older self
Older Stephen invites us to laugh while at
the same time engages with his traumas and
He refers to himself as the 'undersized
boy with the teapot ears...open-mouthed
His physical appearance led to
contemporaries teasing him and now
even his older self is teasing him
As a boy Stephen is constantly held
back, dominated and afraid
'Im a child again... all the frightening,
half-understood promise of life' - this shows how he
is afraid, even in the very first paragraph of the novel
Stephen is checked by Keiths
disapproval and by his own fear
of looking foolish
His fear of being teased
or bullied hold him
Embarrassment: 'which is worse... to be
embarrassed or to be killed'
The degree to which Stephen is in awe of Keith is never
in question: 'The ways of the Haywards were no more
open to questioning or comprehension than the
domestic arrangements of the Holy Family'
He refers to Mrs Hayward's 'incomprehensible
niceness' to him, showing how deep his sense
of being unworthy goes.
The narrator, looking back on life, says that Keith
was 'only the first in a whole series of dominant
figures in my life whose disciple I became'
He goes on to say 'his authority was entirely
warranted by his intellectual and imaginative
superiority' - which is not true as Kieth can't spell
- he uses his imagination to concoct unbelievably
stories about his families prowess in order to