“This is a semi-autobiographical novel about Stephen Dedalus' childhood in Ireland as he grapples with maturity, religion, Irish Catholic conventions and also coming to terms with himself, especially as an artist.
The novel shows examples of Joyce's modernist techniques that are developed more in his later works like Ulysees. It is told in free, indirect speech and does not have a clear narrative structure, as it will often jump from things (much as human thought does). When Joyce began the essay 'A Portrait of the Arist' he argued that events in the past, when they happened where not experienced as past but as present and that a narrative should recapture this. This enables Stephen's budding maturity to be shown in the prose style.
Joyce is not an easy read but he was an artistic genius and incredibly influential towards modern literature and also the study of English Literature that we have today. I feel like there was so much I missed in just one reading and there would always be more to take from this with another reading.