Application Of Mikhail Bakhtin’s Theory Of Heteroglossia And Jean Baudrillard Simulation Theory To James Joyce’s Novel Ulysses

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

Mikhail Bakhtin’s “from the prehistory of novelistic discourse” theorizes that literature is vulnerable to the penetration from many novelistic images. Bakhtin theorized that Styles that are associated with other types of literature become a part of the author’s voice, parodically implemented into literature that doesn’t associate with the styles that penetrate the novel creating a dialogical relationship with the novelistic images and voices the author has been exposed to in their life; if it be a style of writing, or the strong opinion of someone they know. The novel becomes a platter of dialogical images when analysed from this point of view, as the styles heavily associated with other genres to the novel are exposed by their unique qualities and voices, not just of the author, penetrating the narrative exposing its unconsciously stylistic labels received from the authors experiences.

The author represents this language, carries on a conversation with it, and the conversation penetrates the interior of this language-image and dialogizes it from within. And all essentially novelistic images share this quality: they are internally dialogized images – of the languages, styles, world views of another (all of which are inseparable from their concrete linguistic and stylistic embodiment).’ PAGE 238 Instead of being a direct image, novelistic images are poetic styles made into an image because of its surrounding content, they live as parodic intersections that play a part in the overall authorial presence of the novel but are imagined by another; a conversational relationship with the past and present. as a collective the novelistic images become the novel, because the novel is the culmination of the authors voice or voices.

When using Bakhtin’s theory of Heteroglossia, Ulysses by James Joyce becomes a vast assortment of examples of this theory. Using ‘Nausicaa’, the many voices Joyce portrays are displayed as novelistic images, styles of writing that are clearly not related to the text but are catalysts to the expression of the voices Joyce included in his novel; internalized voices. The opening of Nausicaa is presented in a Victorian literature style, presenting a beautiful and aspiring land through the voice of the narrator. ‘the summer evening had begun to fold the world in its mysterious embrace. Far away in the west the sun was setting and the last glow of all too fleetingly day lingered lovingly on sea and strand, on the proud promontory of dear old Howth guarding as ever the waters of the bay, on the weedgrown rocks along Sandymount Shore and…’ The description is purposely heavy handed, like a youthful attempt of writing that comes from the heart but lacks aim.

The parodic and heavy-handed style of the beginning introduces the first collective voice that Joyce portrays in Nausicaa, a collective voice of Irish nationalist pride of the freedom from British colonialism and imperial rule over the catholic church of Ireland as they attempted to change the main religious body to one ruled organisation of the British Empire. The last glimpse of the sun in the west representing the British Empires hold fading from Ireland as it’s left in its natural beauty with mention of ‘old Howth’ a significant location for the Easter rising against British rule and a staple location of representation for Irish pride because of it.

The nature of the first paragraph is then parodic, Joyce used a western style of literature to portray the lack of western presence after the rebellion, like a parodic poetic mocking in the face of victory. But the voice does not directly come from the author, it is a parodic presentation of the collective Irish nationalist voice in the form of an ironic novelistic image; an unconsciously poetic feeling of the many seen through the eyes of one. But the parodic nature could suggest the author’s voice of distain on the matter of inflated nationalism.

Taking from Bakhtin’s theory of novelistic images, the second segment of Nausicaa carries the sentimental and inflated language of the first paragraph but settles into a different stylistic mode, implementing styles of literature found in the Sentimental Novel using flowery and “feminine” language to bolster the effect of parody in implying the influence of western Europe modes of writing from Britain. literature such as the Conduct Novel whose narrative focus covered marital matters and domestic sentiments associated with the female characters found in the Victorian period texts or female focused magazines of fashion, beauty and ointments.

The language presented in this segment: ‘a neat blouse of electric blue, selftinted by dolly dyes (because it was expected in the lady’s pictorial that electric blue would be worn) with a smart vee opening down to the division and kerchief pocket… and a navy three-quarter skirt cut to the side…’ it’s littered with language associated with female based literature, discussing fashion extensively and its impression on female characters present themselves and think sociologically. Another example from ‘Nausicaa’ ‘her hands were of finely veined alabaster with tapering fingers and as white as a lemon juice and queen of ointments could make them though it was not true that she use to wear kid gloves in bed or take a milk footbath either.’ this novelistic image holds the voice of an artist, a sculptors voice specifically penetrating the authorial voice with interest to ‘finely veined alabaster’ and enthusiastic descriptions of colour. This is paired with the linguistic style of female magazines of the ointments and remedies gossiped about at the end of the quote.

The effect of the theory of discourse has on reading Ulysses has resulted in a double-edged sword affect. From one perspective it unlocks many new views and paths in which the reader can divert themselves and reimagine how the characters in front of them are experiencing discourse or the actions within a story. But on the other hand, it can be deluding to the effect of pin pointing anyone voice, it’s loose ideal can muddle the voices of the characters to the point of confusion. The theory changed my actual process of reading, I was no longer reading through segments that seemed to be loosely related to the texts flow and aesthetic as confusing; but instead a mine of possible different emotions, opinions or novelistic images penetrating the novel. Once understood, the theory becomes a complimentary filter to reading Ulysses because of its density of voices and modes. (segment from Bakhtin on how a collective of styles is doomed to fail PAGE 239)

Jean Baudrillard’s “simulacra and simulations” theorizes that societal constructs reimagine their distinct features to preserve or imitate what society considers important or individualistic, reimagining reality in a parodic simulation to preserve the glory that was once received from said features. Jean Baudrillard theorizes that simulation comes in varying degrees of severity, and varying modes of simulation, one of his main examples being Disneyland’s perpetual simulation of fantasy that’s purpose is to divert the attention of the real world into a fanatically concentrated image of reality feeding individual’s society simulated versions of their personal delights. Baudrillard also theorizes that power is a suitable candidate for simulation and is often an example of how society constructs simulations to preserve glory the society has once experienced; creating sentimental hyperreality.

Considering Baudrillard’s theory of simulation, Ulysses by James Joyce produces characters and voices that are exposed to said simulacra, their opinions voiced through the language used by Joyce to show that during the writing of Ulysses many Irish nationalists were threatened by the colonialism of Ireland by the British and the possible changes made to the catholic church of Ireland.

Analysing “Cyclops” the voice of the Irish nationalist comes through in Joyce’s parodic linguistic tone, coming off as a crude narrator that promotes violence in any instance. the opening of “cyclops” introduces elements of the Irish nationalist desire to preserve the heroics and glories of their past in the face of conquer by the British ‘I was just passing the time of day with old Troy of the D.M.P at the corner of arbour hill there and be damned but a bloody sweep came along and he near drove his gear into my eye. I turned to let him have the weight of my tongue when who should I see dodging along the stony batter only Joe Hynes.’ it can be interpreted “weight of my tongue” as a reference to the violent reaction to preserving the slang and language of the Irish, as the narrator bolsters his language to simulate pride of identity in a sore manner.

The narrator refers to historical landmarks Such as Arbour Hill, that holds the graves of Easter rising soldiers who contributed to the rebellion of British rule, and stonnybatter the main thoroughfare of west and north west Dublin, an intersecting street of the capital of Ireland like walking through a theme park of Irish glory. Language such as “Ballocks” “bob” produces the feeling of forced slang, like a voice that’s already been spoken ‘who’s the old ballocks you were talking to? Old Troy, says I, was in the force. I’m on two minds not to give that fellow in charge for obstructing the thoroughfare with his brooms and ladders.’

The use of overdone Irish slang, reminiscence of historical landmarks and the past coated in a violent outlook from the nationalist voice of “I” in Cyclops simulates an Ireland that “I” the narrator and others with related views are the unsteady and parodic voice of their nationalist motive, Joyce sculpted the character to be violent in nature but with no true cause, to cling to violent sentiments and slang associated with their people, in order to preserve a simulation of power and identity that was stripped of them; The Irish turn to what makes them strong and individual but ultimately comes out in a gigantism form, an ugly but parodic form of the notion of national stability and heroic pride. Which is evident in Ulysses long lists of heroes from the world, a parodic hint to preservation of Irish heroics.

The parodic gigantism of the narrow-minded narrators discourse continues, showing distain for anything mentioned that belongs outside his idea of Irish identity ‘Foreign wars is the cause of it. And says Joe, sticking his thumb in his pocket: It’s the Russians wish to tyrannise. Arrah, giveover your bloody codding, Joe, says I, I’ve a thirst on me I wouldn’t sell for half a crown. Give it a name, citizen, says Joe. Wine of the country, says he. What’s yours? Says Joe. Ditto MacAnaspey, says I…’ using aggressive language of an Irish linguistic style to cut conversation of anything “foreign” so to speak, and glorifying Guinness (presumably) as a drink more valued than royalty.

Joyce portrays the narrator’s internal world by showing in a parodic style the narrators views and sentiments, in a gigantism form much like the gigantism of Baudrillard’s example of Disney Land; overdoing properties of identity to the point of blurring them out of significance. When looking at a text like Ulysses, deeply rooted signifiers of Irish identity become much more apparent, references to landmarks and oddities of Ireland become significant in determining the attitude present at the time, no longer details easily passed over; a guidance of what is real and what is simulation even in discourse.


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