Conscious is also a word worth examining. The poem Steven produces is inspired by his unconscious desires and a (potentially) conscious response to them. Additionally, its worth at what Steven is asking, namely whether or not his love interest's soul could be conscious that he's thinking of her in passionate terms (he's already anthropomorphized his own soul remember). This question gets at a couple things that Steven ponders throughout the novel, first, whether or not we are as in control of our own bodies as we suspect we are (one of the traits that I would say Steven undeniably shares with Joyce) and whether or not magic and spirituality can be found outside of the church. The former idea makes sense and is presented earnestly, our bodies betray us, do things we'd rather have not do, etc. The latter point contributes to the idea that while Steven's intentions may be well meaning, they're also tied into an immature notion of sex, one that sees spirituality making a false choice between organized religion or erotic pleasure. Of course one can find emotional catharsis in sex to some degree, but I see this passage as Joyce subtly undermining Steven's epiphany that’s been spurred on by his encounter with this lady in the water. This moment assuredly represents a sort of awakening for Steven, but more so in the realm of emotional maturity (something I would argue he hasn't fully achieved yet)as opposed to an emergence as an important artist.