One of the first scenes within A Portrait of The Artist is the Christmas dinner. The dinner very clearly represents the ways of Irish culture during this time. It is depicted that very political conversations take place during the holiday dinner. For example, the main character (Stephen) explains that while he is sitting at the dinner table, he hears his father speaking about his disdain for the Catholic Church entering Irish politics and Dante refuting his views, saying a Catholic man never criticizes the church. Dante further explains (as she pulls out a Bible) that it is important for everyone to follow the orders of the church and the priests, therefor making sense in her mind why the two should be put together. It should also be noted that the family said grace at the table before eating.
This scene shows the heavy influence of religion within the Irish family. Stephen was very confused as to why anyone would criticize the priest, since he is young and is very brainwashed by the Catholic Irish community. Religion is the main center of the family, and each individual’s views on religion are very contrasting. This shows how much tension and conflict there was in Ireland in regards to the ties between religion and government.