The purpose of my research was to explore the interplay between religion and art in James Joyce’s novel, A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN. My aim was to trace the development of the protagonist, Stephen Dedalus by analyzing how Catholicsim is an institution that forms him, yet must reject to realize his artistic potential. I researched Joyce’s background to gain an understanding of the exilic experience on the literature. Through the exilic lens, I realized that Catholicism was the predominant influence on Stephen’s need to embark on a self-imposed exile at the end of the novel. Complicating his decision is the fact that he does not stop believing in religious constructs such as heaven and hell. In conclusion I found by following his artistic longing, and turning away from the church he is committing a sin and, as a result, damning his soul.