Corporal Punishment in James Joyce

CP: The Literary Edition!

I was re-reading “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” when I saw on Tumblr that someone said there were scenes of canings in there. Well, boy was he right. Joyce always wrote in a “heightened” way and his story telling is particularly compelling, almost magic realism and super thrilling to me. It’s way better than most writers. I don’t really like fiction much, but…


From page 44,

Wells asked:

—What is going to be done to them?

—Simon Moonan and Tusker are going to be flogged, Athy said, and the fellows in the higher line got their choice of flogging or being expelled.

—And which are they taking?asked the fellow who had spoken first.

—All are taking expulsion except Corrigan, Athy answered. He’s going to be flogged by Mr. Gleeson…flogging wears off after a bit but a fellow that has been expelled from college is known all his life on account of it.

page 51

“Stephen knelt down quickly pressing his beaten hands to his sides. To think of them beaten and swollen with pain all in a moment made him feel so sorry for them as if they were not his own but someone elese’ss that he felt sorry for. And as he knelt, calming the last sobs in his throat and feeling the burning tingling pain presside in to his sides, he though tof the hands whihcc he had held out in the air with the palms up and of the firm touch of the prefect of studeies when he had steadied the shaking finders and of the beaten swollen reddened mass of palm and fingers that shook helplessly in the air.

—Get at your work, all of you, cried the prefect of studies from the foor. Father Dolan will be in every day to see if any boy, any lazy idle little loafer wants flogging.Every Day. Every Day.”



portrait of the artist, holding a cane


page 78

“—Admit! repeated Heron, striking him again with his cane across the calf of the leg.

The stoke was playful but not so lightly given as the first one had been. Stephen felt the skin tingle and glow slightly and almost painlessly; and bowing submissively, as if to meet his companion’s jesting mood, began to recite the Confiteor. The episode ended well, for both Heron and Wallis laughed indulgently at the irreverence.

The confession came only from Stephen’s lips and, while they spoke the words, a sudden memory had carried him to another scene called up, as if by magic, at the moment when he had noted the faint cruel dimples at the corners of Heron’s smiling lips and had felt the familiar stroke of the cane against his calf and had heard the familiar word of admonition:






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