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Commentary on Ulysses Essay


Ulysses, which may be the most brilliant novel in English, was written by James Joyce in 1922. It is a very complicated book because there are allusions to other literary books, such as Homers Odyssey, Shakespeare or even the Bible. The book is divided into 18 chapters and each one represents one hour from 8am until 2am of June 16, 1904. Joyce, as an excellent tenor, said he can justify every syllable of the book.

There are three main characters: Leopold and Molly Bloom and Stephen Dedalus. The whole book is about their lives during June 16th, thus the interesting point is that Joyce wanted to present the major characters through their interior monologues that try to capture the characters stream of consciousness, which is a mixture of their thoughts, feelings, memories and words.

In this essay, I will focus on Molly Bloom and her interior monologue in the last chapter. She is a thirty-four years old woman who lives in Dublin but was raised in Gibraltar by her Irish father. She is good-looking, flirtatious, self-centered and adulteress. What's more, even though she was not well educated, she was intelligent enough to become a professional singer until she married. Regarding to her relationship with Leonard, we know that they started to have bad times eleven years ago when their son Rudy died. That is why she was impatient and looked for other men, as her husband refused to be intimate with her. I have chosen some passages of the chapter that bring us closer to a better understanding of the character.

Theres always something wrong with us 5 days every 3 or 4 weeks usual monthly auction isnt it simply sickening that night it came on me

In these lines, there is a reference to Mollys universal womanhood. She was thinking when she realized that she got her period, one of the things that makes men different from women. At that very moment, she is a little bit upset because the sheets are clean and her menstruation can ruin them. As an unfaithful woman, she was also alleviate because having the period proved that her lover did not get her pregnant.

Business for women what between clothes and cooking and children this damned old bed too jiggling like the dickens I suppose they could hear us away over the other side of the park

This makes an allusion to Homers Odyssey. When Odysseus gets to be with Penelope, she does not recognize him as her husband until he explains to her how their bed was built, something that just the two of them knew. In Joyce novel, Molly complains about their jiggling bed, which can be heard from a long distance. Probably she was having sex with her husband and was worried because of the fact that somebody could have listened to them since the noise of their bed. Furthermore, at the beginning of the sentence she talks about business for woman, which have always been: household chores, taking care of the children, cooking and making their husbands happy. Molly would not be an example for a good wife, because her son was dead and there is no attraction between Leonard and her since that.

My photo its not good of me I ought to have got it taken in drapery that never looks out of fashion still I look young in it

She found a picture taken a long time ago. As I have said, she is self-centered, so rather than thinking about her dead son she thinks about how young she looks in it. She loved being looked at and maybe that is the reason why she does not have many female friends. Moreover, she does not like the clothes she was wearing and sometimes she wishes she had more money to buy better outfits, so she can always look good.

I suppose hes 20 or more Im not too old for him if hes 23 or 24 I hope hes not that stuck up university student

She had Stephen in mind, one of the several lovers she had had. Although she did not know if he was a stuck up student, she did not stop thinking about them together. She wondered if she is quite old for him because she is thirty-four years old and he is just twenty-two. At the end, that was not a problem and they became lovers.

and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

These are Mollys final words. They are referred to Blooms proposition of marriage and her positive answer. September 10th 1888 they were spending the day on Howth and suddenly he asked her if she wanted to marry him. She started to think about her past lovers rather than giving him an answer. At this point, she has already said yes and as the first thing couples do after a positive answer, they hug each other, and Leonard could feel Mollys heart pounding with joy and smell her perfume. If we look at the words that appear in this sentence, the most repeated one is yes, which can mean that Molly was so excited about what has just happened and she was also looking forward becoming Leonards wife.

Finally, we can see Molly as a woman trapped in her marriage, but it does not mean that she and Leonard cannot be closer together any more. We do not know anything about them except what happens on 16th. Mollys last words are related to important facts on her life but there are two really significant: when Bloom proposed to her during their time on Howth and the breakfast that she may have cooked for her husband. Those thoughts are related to a beginning, both a new time of their lives and a new day, or even they make a reference to a possible reconciliation between the couple in the future.

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