In "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man", the main character, Stephen Dedalus has a life long desire to find a father figure. Not finding it within his own home he is forced to look out among the other men who play intricate roles in his life. Again and again Stephen is faced with the disappointment of a potential father figure letting him down. It is not until the end of the book, when Stephen looks back over his life, that he has an idea of who his true father figure is. This knowledge is the beginning to Stephen's flight to becoming a true artist.
Throughout the book Stephen and his father's relationship become progressively rocky. In the beginning Stephen has a child-like admiration for his father. At the Thanksgiving table Stephen thought about the political topic being discussed and made a mental note that he was pro-Parnell, because his father was.
When questioned about his father by a school-mate, Stephen automatically pipes up with his true opinion of his father. "- What is your father?" Stephen had answered: "- A gentlemen"(6). At Stephen's young age he had a love for his father; he looked up to him and thought only the best of him.
In Stephen's teen years his opinion of his father drops drastically. When Stephen accompanied his father to Cork to sell a piece of land, he no longer had the same interests and opinions that his father had. When touring the school that his father attended as a young man Stephen's attention was more focused on a name carved in a desk than his father's studies and the location of his father's own desk. "The letters cut into the stained wood of the desk stared upon him, mocking his bodily weakness...