Joyce Dictionary: Entry 1

Sin – an offense against religious or moral law*


But for Stephen, it’s extreme.  His sins consume him:

“This was the work of devils, to scatter his thoughts and overcloud his conscience, assailing him at the gates of the cowardly and sincorrupted flesh:  and, praying God timidly to forgive him his weakness, he crawled up on to the bed, and wrapping the blankets closely about him, covered his face again with his hands.  He had sinned.  He had sinned so deeply before heaven and against God that he was not worthy to be called God’s child.”

(Joyce 148)

Stephen eventually decides to repent and go to confession.  But even his repentance is extreme:

“Each of his sense was brought under a rigorous discipline.  In order to mortify the sense of sight he made it his rule to walk in the street with downcast eyes, glancing neither to right nor left and never behind him … “

(Joyce 162-63)

I understand that Stephen is sorry for his sins and he wants to do better, but is it really necessary for him to discipline himself so much?

*Definition provided by Merriam-Webster



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