Leopold Bloom and the Men of Dublin in Ulysses
James Joyce’s complex and riveting novel Ulysses features many parallaxes and deep complexities within it. Themes of paternity and maternity issues, self-identity, and heroism are some composites that makeup Ulysses. In the first set of chapters, we meet multiple men of Dublin. The male characters of Ulysses are relatively the same with their forms of masculinity. However, the character Leopold Bloom is unlike any of the other male characters within his form of masculinity and femininity. Focused in this analysis, will be the character of Leopold Bloom in comparison to the other male characters of Ulysses and also explore what the concept of masculinity would be in the setting of Ulysses.
Through the character Leopold Bloom, Joyce gives readers a different perspective of what masculinity is/would be in the early twentieth century in Ireland. When discussing the extremely complex concept of masculinity and feminity, oftentimes gender and sexual preference are also brought into the conversation. However, for this analysis, I will primarily be focusing on how the male characters do or do not fit in regards to the socially constructed gender roles of masculinity and femininity. To speak of masculinity during James Joyce’s time, would be to use words such as courageousness, leadership, reliance, decisiveness, aggressiveness, sexual prowess and conquest, and competitiveness.
However, with Joyce’s character Leopold Bloom, he is written to have much more feminine behaviours and elements than the rest of the male characters. Because of his strong feminine presence, Leopold Bloom is also suggested by scholars to possibly be a homosexual that is repressed and frustrated. Leopold Bloom’s actions in the Nausicaa episode, beg to differ. In this episode, Bloom expresses his lustful yearnings of the young and pretty girl Gerty teasing him on the beach. This almost makes it clear what Leopold Bloom’s sexual preference is. However, in later episodes like Scylla and Charybdis, Bloom’s “manliness” is questioned even by the other male characters in Ulysses. In this episode, the character Buck Mulligan remarks Bloom’s unusual behaviour and how he is being perceived by the rest of the community. Buck Mulligan speaks of men who have a “different” attitude towards other men. Towards the end of the episode, Buck Mulligan and Stephen Daedalus are leaving the National Library when they cross paths with Leopold. After this encounter, Buck remarks, “Did you see his eye? He looked upon you like to lust after you. I fear thee, ancient mariner. O, Kinch, thou art in peril.” (U 9.22-25) Now, Joyce may have just used this passing remark from Buck to be taken in a more humorous way to show how common these types of comments are made towards more passive and sensitive males. Yet, in previous episodes, we also see Leopold Bloom engage in activities that readers cannot see being done from other male characters as they conflict with already established gender roles. For example, acts of kindness like bringing his wife Molly breakfast in bed, the amount of care he has for his cats by talking to and feeding them, and buying biscuits just to feed the seagulls are a few instances where Bloom expresses his sensitivity.
Although, with these acts of compassion and sympathy, brings along the suspiciousness of Bloom’s masculinity from other male characters like Buck Mulligan. In the article Hyspos or ‘Spadia’? Rethinking Androgyny in Ulysses with Help From Sacher-Moss by Lisa Rado, she comments that “Many scholars have noted that in general Joyce’s aesthetics are connected to his interest in androgyny…” (193) Rado also points out a moment during one of Bloom’s fantasies in the later chapter Circe where Buck Mulligan again questions Bloom’s sexuality and masculinity. Buck declares him to be “bisexually normal” and even mentions him as “a finished example of the new womanly man.” (U 15.45) Rado’s comments on androgyny in Ulysses and specifically in the character Leopold Bloom brings attention to ideals that were held during Joyce’s time. To suggest sensitive and feminine behaviours and characteristics in males during this era renders the male as androgynous.
Lisa Rado is not the only one to comment on Joyce’s use of androgyny in Ulysses. In the essay James Joyce: Moralist by Ellsworth Mason, throughout the essay he admires Bloom’s form of masculinity despite what the other characters may believe. He reminds readers of a few instances in the Circe episode where Bloom “handles the madam with consummate skill and sureness,” and even after a fight in the streets, Bloom alerts the police and “defends Stephen with supreme courage.” (207) In Mason’s article, he implies that by Bloom using his mediator and diplomacy skills, his courage is displayed differently than a hot-headed aggressive male.
With the character Leopold Bloom, James Joyce creates a unique and complex character, unlike any other stereotypical male. Leopold Bloom’s type of masculinity goes against any cultural norms that even he struggles with understanding at times. Yet, even though his type of manliness relies on more diplomacy and empathy towards women especially, this type of masculinity is a more legitimate alternative long term.
- Joyce, James. Ulysses. Ed. Hans Walter Gabler. New York: Random House, 1986.
- Rado, Lisa. Hypsos or ‘Spadia’? Rethinking Androgeny in Ulysses with Help from Sacho-Masoch. Twentieth-Century Literature. Vol.42, No. 2. Hofstra University.1996. JSTOR. Web. 2019.
- Mason, Ellsworth. James Joyce: Moralist. Twentieth-Century Literature. Vol. 1, No. 4. Hofstra University. January 1956. JSTOR. Web. 2019.
The Inner Working of the Individual in James Joyce’s Ulysses
This essay will examine James Joyce’s use of a different narrative voice in his novel Ulysses (1922). It will discuss how his focus on the inner workings of the individual mind, provides a deeper look into the perspective, thoughts and feelings of the characters of the novel. It will highlight the use of stream of consciousness within the novel and how this causes the reader to have to create their own image of the characters. It will do this through examining both Joyce’s use of this style and through discussing some events which take place in the novel.
Joyce is concerned with hyperrealism, as “The realism of Ulysses is important in an Irish context” Hand, D. (2011) and this is emphasised by his use of stream of consciousness within Ulysses. What better way to explore “quotidian experience of the everyday” (Hand, D. 2011), than to present much of the story within their own personal experience as they are happening. This allows for an extremely realistic understanding of the characters and provides proper insight into why they may do what they do. Rather than focus on the less important physical world around them, Joyce delves into the worlds they are living in in their minds. This fixation on the inner workings of the mind of the individual allows for a deeper exploration into the true everyday life of ordinary people. There is no grand quest nor mighty beast to vanquish, Joyce is more interested in what is going on within the minds of the people living at that time.
It can be said that Ulysses is a novel about characters, as such we are brought into the minds of each character individually. Initially, we meet Stephen, who appears to be in search of a father or father figure (Levitt, M. P. (2005). even if he is not consciously aware of this himself, this point being quite easily noticed. Joyce’s fixation on the inner workings of the individual mind may also lean towards the desires of the subconscious, this being explored in Stephen’s rejection of his birth father yet desire for a guiding, paternal figure. As pointed out by Derek Hand (2011), Stephen believes that in order to find himself, that he must be self-made. This thusly explains his desire to be completely separate form society and his desire to become his own father. This desire being a sign of his “pompous sense of his own significance” Hand, D. (2011), brought about by his belief that he is a modernist artist. That he must reject all that came before him or that paved the way for him, in order to cement himself as a true artist. From this, it may be deduced that though he unconsciously desires a paternal figure to help him to decipher who it is he will become.
Through this access into Stephen’s mind we are aware of the guilt Stephen feels over his mother’s death, describing how he dreamt of her “tortured face” (p.10). When walking along Sandymount strand there is an imagining of several meeting Stephen has had or hopes to have with people he met in France, and the feelings he has about his own future. These meetings appear real but are truly only taking place in Stephen’s mind. He is not living in the moment, he is present in several moments or even in motion through his thoughts. “His gaze brooded on his broadtoed boots” but his mind on “a girl [he] knew in Paris” (p.45). We are provided a look inside of Stephen’s head, and we must take the information we are gaining from this stream of consciousness and piece them together to create an image of Stephen. Stephen, though appearing selfish, does also feel guilt for not praying with his mother and for his abandonment of his sisters. The way in which we are brought into the mind of Stephen, we also experience with Leopold and Molly, this, in turn, making an understanding of reality or what is really happening hard to fully grasp.
Truly, more is known about Leopold Bloom than most literary characters. More is understood about everything from his eating habits to his deeper sexual fantasies “he wanted to milk me into his tea” (p.655). It is noticed that Leopold is isolated by his community as he is an outsider as he is a Jew, though through the thoughts we see him having and it is through Molly’s descriptions in chapter 18, Penelope, the image of Leopold can create many different images of him. Leopold may also be seen to reflect Joyce’s interest with the individual mind as he finds himself often so lost within his own thoughts, so much so that he forgets he is a real person living in the world, at one point even imagining seeing his dead son “Rudy” (p.522) in chapter 15. Similar, to Stephen and his rejection of the real world. Even the characters within the novel are transfixed on the workings of their own minds, this being noticed in Joyce’s use of stream of consciousness at several points in his novel.
Some of Leopold’s thoughts are shown in Hades, in which he thinks of his dead son, “If little Rudy had lived. See him grow up. Hear his voice in the house. Walking beside Molly in an Eton suit. My son. Me in his eyes. Strange feeling it would be.” (p.79) and what it would be like to pass heritage and knowledge onto him (Levitt, M. P. (2005). this moment allows for a glimpse into some of the emotional struggle Leopold may be facing at the reality of the loss of his son. These moments of insight into the character’s thoughts providing further understandings into each character individually and making them more realistic to readers of the novel.
There is a blurring of lines between the real world and the imagined world. The idea of realness can be questioned in Ulysses, as the experiences are not described objectively but experienced from the viewpoint of the character. There is no need for a strict plot, as the plot is the characters and how they are like us, rather than us like them. There is an engagement through literature which places one in the fore of the events taking place, it is not meant to represent nature or reflect it, but rather be a construction of a reality (Deane, S. 1985), that is lived every day. There is no strict notion or idea of how one may be the ‘perfect’ person but allows for an insight into the world within people during this time, and how they are so strikingly similar to us.
Chapter 18, Penelope, it can be argued, fully expresses Joyce’s intrigue with the individual mind, as we are finally given Molly’s point of view. Much of the final chapter appears as more spoken word than it is the typical written word, it is just a free flow of thoughts or the stream of consciousness coming from Molly Bloom as these thoughts cross her mind while she lies awake next to Leopold. Joyce appears obsessed with creating a piece that removes itself and stands separate to the written world, instead becoming the oral world transcribed. This may also be a nod to how Homer’s The Odyssey was originally told only through word of mouth. The final chapter of the novel allows us unhindered access to the mind of Molly Bloom as she addresses taboo topics, such as sexuality, “Mrs Mastiansky told me her husband made her [have sex] like the dogs do” (p.651), and challenges the ideas surrounding the submissive and passive woman. We are shown how Molly views the world and are given new and intriguing facets about her character, thus building a different image of what may have been presumed before.
The final word of the novel being the stream of consciousness of a woman is extremely interesting. We are brought through her experiences as she moved through life, and essentially puts the men of the novel back in their place so to say. There is no censoring by the men around her. Through this delve into her thoughts, one may recognise her reasons for seeking an affair. Though through this thought process, we also witness her reaffirm her choice of Leopold, “yes I will yes” (p.682) ultimately providing a somewhat happy ending. The written word becomes constraining for Joyce, and so we receive all of Molly’s inner monologue without punctuation and similar to how we would receive the spoken word. This stream of consciousness allows the experience to be much more real, even the location in which it takes place adds to the realness of the moment. By focusing on the individual mind, the language is pure and free. It is truly original as a person is articulating themselves and their experiences in an extremely authentic way. The are no limitations on language by focusing on the thoughts of individuals, and so, characters are free to say what they like, how they like. There may be less coherence than the language in a typical novel, this makes the words and exclamations all the more real.
This essay has discussed how James Joyce’s Ulysses is obsessed with the inner working of the individual mind rather than concerned with plot or external detail. It has done this by exploring Joyce’s use of stream of consciousness within his characters and highlighting points in which deeper understandings of characters were gained. It also discussed the blurring of reality and imagination, and the limitations typical written word places on language.
- Deane, S. (1985) Celtic Revivals: Essays in Modern Irish Literature 1880–1980. London: Faber and Faber
- Hand, D. (2011) A History of the Irish Novel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.doi:10.1017/CBO9780511975615
- Joyce, J. (2010). Ulysses. London: Wordsworth Classics.
- Levitt, M. P. (2005) The Greatest Jew of All: James Joyce, Leopold Bloom and the Modernist Archetype. Papers on Joyce, 10(11), 143-162.
Narrative Innovations in James Joyce’s Ulysses
James Joyce’s Ulysses represents one of the most important works of modernist literature. The name of the novel is a Latinised name of Homer’s Odysseus and there are many parallels between the two works. The novel has been highly controversial and considered to be obscene so it attracted a lot of attention. In this essay I am going to focus on the narrative innovations Joyce brought in his work. The work is written through the stream of consciousness technique and it is full of puns, allusions and parodies. My goal in this paper is to explain in details the innovations James Joyce brought to narration and how he managed to combine them and create such a great piece of literature. I am going to focus most on the stream of consciousness because it is what made the novel stand out from the rest of the 20th century works.
To achieve this goal, I have organized my paper into two main sections. In the first section, I provide a brief description of the author and his style of writing. Also, I mention some of his other works and draw a parallel between them and Ulysses. I put an emphasis on narrative techniques he used in his other works and how they differ from those in Ulysses. In the second section, I focus on the definition of stream of consciousness and provide examples of it in the novel as well as the purpose of using it. I describe how and why the author used that technique and what makes it so special and important. I focus on the Episode 3, Proteus and Episode 18, Penelope because those are the best examples of the technique.
<h2>James Joyce’s Writing</h2>James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist, short story writer and poet who made a great contribution to the modernist avant-garde. He is considered to be one of the most influential authors of the 20th century. His work Ulysses is one of the most important works of that century because through it Joyce made an innovation in narration by using stream of consciousness and inner monologue.
His other major works are Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Exiles and poetry and Finnegans Wake. Dubliners is a collection of fifteen short stories which was written when Irish nationalism was at its peak. The focus of the stories is on the moment the character experiences a life-changing illumination. A connection can be drawn to Ulysses because the characters in it constantly think about everything but don’t actually get one simple answer to their thoughts. What is most interesting about it is that many of the characters appear in Ulysses from which we can see that the author found inspiration in it. Some of the techniques used in Ulysses are best shown in the autobiographical novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The novel was an early example of Joyce’s stream of consciousness, interior monologue and references to character’s psychological reality rather to his surroundings. Finnegans Wake was written after Ulysses so it could not have an effect on it.
Stream of Consciousness
Stream of consciousness is one of the techniques Joyce uses to tell the story in his novel Ulysses. Along with it we also encounter with inner monologues and the character’s reference to the psychic reality but I haven’t distinguished them separately because they are a part of the stream of consciousness. The characters have their problems about which we hear most from the monologs they have in their consciousness. Their flow of perception and feelings is constant in their inner thoughts. This is what makes Ulysses a masterpiece, although it can be a bit difficult to read. We are provided with the entire mental process the character has, which offers us a vivid picture of the plot and events described in the novel. By using this technique Joyce gives us precise descriptions of the character’s personality.
The character becomes a real person whose past, present and ideas about the future we get to explore and identify with. We know the character’s problems and his relations with others and most important, the way he perceives the world and people surrounding him. Throughout the entire novel we get to meet the characters on a more personal level and understand their way of thinking and the reasons which are behind their actions. Stream of consciousness might be one of the best techniques of narration because it is something we all do in everyday life. It can get a bit complicated because of all the thoughts and connections going through one’s mind but in the end it is how our brains function. It is a fictional device which gives an equivalent of the character’s thought processes and connects the outer with the person’s inner world.
It is interesting that Joyce doesn’t use the technique in the same ratio throughout the entire novel. The first two episodes have almost no traces of this technique whereas the rest of the novel is full of it. The third episode is a great example of it. It shows Stephen’s stream of thought while walking on the beach. He makes an entire story in his mind about the two women he sees and draws multiple connections to his thoughts. His mind creates a path on which he flows while thinking about various things. He jumps from one topic to another, he thinks about woman’s original sin and then his own conception which he later compares with Christ’s. Stephen’s mind works so fast it becomes very complicated to follow that stream of thoughts. His focus shifts from very deep intellectual topics to those which are rather simple and easy to understand. There are no rules or order which rule over his mind and direct the way of his thinking. The information Stephen gets from his senses reminds him that he has to take Deasy’s letter to the newspaper and meet Buck at The Ship pub.
Stream of consciousness is a process in which reason, emotions and memory work together. We can see that from the following example where Stephen thinks about visiting his aunt Sara and then imagines his father mocking his decision because he doesn’t like Sara’s husband. Then he imagines a situation that hasn’t happened and won’t happen. Joyce used this technique to show us the power of the mind and created one of the most important works in literature. The mind is so powerful that it reminds Stephen how he felt in his childhood, the shame he felt for his family. Stream of thought can bring not only memories but real feelings we had in the past and make us feel them once again. Stephen’s reminiscing made him to pass the turn to his aunt’s house which proves the power of the mind and how it can distract us from the destinations we were planning to reach.
This entire episode is the best example of Joyce’s innovative narrative techniques. He manages to tell so many details about the character’s life and introduce us to his way of thinking which helps us understand what kind of person he is and what goes on in his head. Another interesting element of stream of consciousness is that the sentences are not very connected and it seems as the author is just listing things that go through Stephen’s mind. There are many things that go through Stephen’s head, he thinks of his life in Paris which reminds him of his mother’s death and then he returns to reality and looks at the sea. He stares at the horizon and suddenly notices a carcass of a dog, then he sees the complete contrast – a live dog running. The beach represents a place which brought many memories to Stephen and made him think about past and present. He even goes to the far past and imagines the first Danish Vikings invading Dublin, a scene which he did not witness and could only presume how it looked. The author manages to tell us Stephen’s past in an unrelated way. The events which happened are intertwined with those which didn’t and the mere thoughts he once had about something.
Another example of stream of consciousness is the last episode named Penelope. The episode follows Molly Bloom’s thoughts which might be perceived as confusing since the author omits punctuation and makes it difficult to understand. We find a lot about Molly from this episode and begin to truly understand her whereas in the rest of the novel we could only recognize her through other characters. From her thoughts we find out that she is a confident woman fully aware of how special she is and what she means to her husband. Her stream of thought is very fast and perhaps a bit hard to follow. She thinks of the intercourse she had with Boylan and how she prefers his lovemaking technique better than her husband’s. Then she goes back to the past and thinks about how handsome her husband was in his young age. She shifts from thinking about her husband and the problems they have to her lover and how liberated she is when she’s with him. Molly remembers past events and how they affected her, her husband and Boylan. After thinking about real problems she somehow starts thinking about her weight and wishes to have more money.
Joyce truly helps us enter Molly’s world and everything that has happened to her and how she perceived the world around her. There is no logical order in her it, we get a subjective perspective on her life. The author shows us how Molly is consumed with her thoughts and how many things she has on her mind. There is a lot of misspelled words which only highlight how fast she thinks and how preoccupied she is. The last episode is the best example of the author’s innovative technique because it gives us an insight in the character’s world and makes us think as we are truly in her head and have the very same thoughts as she does.
Ulysses by Lord Tennyson: Literary Analysis
Alfred Lord Tennyson’s fascination with Greek mythology and Arthurian legends are largely evident in his literary works. The Lady of Shallot, Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere, Galahad and Idylls of the King are examples of his Arthurian inclinations. Ulysses, Tithonus and The Lotos Eaters show his beguilement to Greek mythology.
The poem Ulysses was written in 1833 the same year his friend Arthur Hallam passed away. The poem, co-incidentally, largely looms around the concept of death. Tennyson perhaps wrote Ulysses to come to terms with the reality of his friend’s death, the portrayal of death as a journey would plausibly have aided Tennyson to accept Hallam’s premature demise. The poet himself has said the poem, “gave my feeling about the need of going forward and braving the struggle of life”
The perspective of domesticity in the poem provides insight into the personal life of the poet. Tennyson’s father passed away in 1831 which forced him to take responsibility for his family. He had a paltry income and three brothers who were ill. His dearest friend Arthur Hallam who was also his sister, Emily’s fiancé, died just as he was finally adjusting to his duties.
Ulysses’ frustration and discontent reflects the poets own state of mind at the time, having to manage a household so deeply entrenched in grief. On another occasion when the poet was discussing his poem he revealed his emotional state at the time, “There is more about myself in Ulysses, which was written under the sense of loss and that all had gone by, but that still life must be fought out to the end. It was more written with the feeling of his loss upon me.”
The impetus to write Ulysses was enthused on both personal and literary fronts. The poem Ulysses draws inspiration from Homer’s epic, Odyssey and Dante’s Ulisse in Inferno. Tennyson found inspiration for the mood and attitude of his Ulysses from Homer’s Odysseus and the form and feeling of the poem as well as the post-classical frame of heroic spirit was mirrored from Dante’s Inferno.
Shakespeare’s Ulysses from Troilus and Cressida has also inspired the character of Tennyson’s own Ulysses.
However, Tennyson altered the original characters of Homer and Dante to suit his personal outlook and the popular social philosophies of the Victorian age. In the middle ages ambition was considered depraved, one is to be happy with their place in life, however, in the Victorian era ambition and striving were considered admirable traits. This is reflected in Tennyson’s poem.
Tennyson’s Ulysses is rife with creative inspiration. It reflects the poet’s personal method of dealing with profound sorrow. He astutely marries his enthrallment with mythology and the preservation of Hallam’s soul in literature.
Ulysses by Lord Tennyson: Character Analysis
The Character of Ulysses in the Poem by Tennyson
The poem Ulysses is a dramatic monologue that the king of Ithaca, Ulysses speaks. He just came back from the Trojan War although once he is caught up in his everyday routine, he shows unhappiness in life plus indifference towards the people and his family. He compares his the past of heroism to the present boring state and puts emphasis on his yearning to revisit his heroic past.
On the one point of view, Tennyson presents Ulysses as a grand and noble man who recalls the heroic events of his past to justify his refusal to submit quietly to inertia, old age, and death. He makes this memorable character of Ulysses through his heroic desire to explore life into new worlds, and fight life until its end. He uses enjambment to represent the notion of heading on “beyond the utmost bound of human thought” (32). Ulysses’ desire to travel is emphasized on by persistent use of movement verbs such as “roaming” which paints an image of travel with awesome majesty (Warner, p.2). Ulysses, on his journey, is “honored” by countless persons in foreign areas. He “dr[a]nk delight” and exposed his eminence. Post the experience of such surprise, Ulysses can’t be contented to calm and repose, for “all experience is an arch wherethrough / Gleams that untravelled world” (19-20). Tennyson doesn’t mention a lot about Ulysses’ hardship, but he does make reference towards them in only two line (8-9) and appears more like glory and less like pain. Post-reading that, the reader of the poem can only feel the signaling tow of the anonymous, the “hungry heart” and “yearning [. .] desire”
Even in his life’s twilight, Ulysses is capable of achieving great things by sustaining that (Warner, p.3). Although he’s younger and strong no more, Ulysses upholds that “[o]ld age hath yet his honor and his toil” (50). Ulysses wishes to live his life to the fullest, and as well, he does inspire the audience to do so. The picture of the sea symbolizes liberty and the future, and also the unbounded prospects of life as well as death. Tennyson employs rhythmic prominence such as ‘there gloom the dark, broad seas’, and also long vowel sounds like “the deep” and “moans round”. Ulysses articulates “Tis not too late to seek a newer world” (57). This one is connected to the sea picture, as he doesn’t want to allow his age confine or restrict him from pursuing his dreams ((Tennyson’s, p.31). In its place, Ulysses admits that he is aging; “you and I are old”. He is fearing the sea, and therefore is fearing life and death. The poem, in the very last two lines, settles into regular and powerful iambic rhythm, perchance symbolizing the oars’ rhythm. This demonstrates determination, purpose, and energy.
On the other point of view, Tennyson presents Ulysses as a pompous and arrogant man, contemptuous of his seamen, his family, and his subjects. The attitude of Ulysses towards the island, his family, and the people is extremely pessimistic. Through the use of such diction as “rest” and “idle” to describe Ulysses plus “dole” and “mete” to describe his actions, Tennyson clearly implicates that the persona is bored of Ithaca. Ulysses is reluctant to submit to his domestic responsibilities and desires to rather be having leisure and pleasure instead of being in a place of study and struggle. The phrases “barren crags” and “still hearth” represents infertility of Ithaca and still movement, both of which associate with domesticity and femininity implicating that Ulysses is also disrespectful to his family. Ulysses exhibits a negative attitude towards his seamen, disrespectfully describing them as a “rugged people”, “salvage race.” (Tennyson’s, p.24) His obsession with their material needs shows how pompous he is. The monotony of his people is emphasized using polysyndeton “hoard, and sleep, and feed.” Also, the phrase “life piled on life” refers to them suggesting useless hoarding, perhaps even the accumulation of goods and money. He does not want to fit in their life or “store and hoard” himself, but to live fully.
Ulysses’ desire for victory and adventure subdues his need for his people and family. To Telemachus, his son, he regards as docile and feminine using such phrases as “slow prudence”, “blameless” and “soft degrees” to refer to him to suggest his efficient but unheroic and dull conduct (Tennyson’s, p.26). When he introduces him, Ulysses contemptuously speaks “This is my son, mine own Telemachus” as if attempting to convince himself. Through the emphasis of pronouns of “me” and “I” Tennyson portrays Ulysses’ egotism. Even more, his selfishness is seen when he reveals his wish to leave Ithaca under his son’s leadership. He appears to think so highly of himself as if he is too important to be Ithaca’s ruler and expresses disdain for his family. His duties, he describes as “common” but his life revolves around fighting, money, and travel. Tennyson uses the juxtapose
Hiram Ulysses Grant’s Memoir
Hiram Ulysses Grant’s life started as all great men’s lives start, ordinarily and unassumingly. In Point Pleasant, Ohio, Grant was born to Jesse and Hannah Grant, two common religious and hard-working people who would go on to have 5 more (less important) children. At a young age he took to his father’s business as an apprentice tanner; although it earned him a decent wage, he loathed the work and environment and quickly decided once he was an adult, it would not be the life for him (Miller Center).
He was not overly educated at a young age, and as with many children that age schooling bored him. What he lacked in a desire to be formally educated, he more than made up for with his horsemanship skills, a very critical skill in this time and place in history. This skill set made an impact later in life, when his father enrolled him in the United States Military Academy at West Point, where as in his younger years, performed less than admirably in the common subjects of his education, however, his skill with horses was his saving grace, as he was unmatched in that area. He was thought to be a shoe-in for a spot in the cavalry, but the coveted position passed him by and he was ultimately assigned to the infantry (Miller Center).
In the 1840s the United States Army was still near its humble beginnings, and Grant found himself assigned to the 4th Infantry at the Jefferson Barracks, just south of St. Louis, Missouri. It was here when Grant first met the woman who would become the love of his life. Julia Dent was the sister of Grant’s then-roommate Frederick Dent, who had grown up near St. Louis, and Grant would accompany him on trips back to his home. Sadly Grant had to wait before being able to declare his intentions with Julia, as the Mexican War started, and he was called away (Miller Center).
With his regiment moving to Texas, Lieutenant Grant spent the next two years fighting, and being cited for bravery by his superiors; after being appointed Quartermaster, he gained valuable logistics experience. Though he had many successes in war, Grant did not glory in it, and openly mourned his fallen brothers-in-arms and lamented the waste that war creates. The end of war found Grant being able to live his dream of marrying Julia, although soon he was reassigned to the Pacific Northwest, in Oregon and California. He hated being separated from his family, and his problems didn’t stop there as he ran into money problems, and by many accounts began to drink in excess; this no doubt contributed to his sudden resignation in 1854 (Miller Center).
Returning to his family, his problems seemed to follow him back home, as he found it difficult to make a living, going through half a dozen jobs that did not pan out. On a particularly depressing Christmas, he was forced to pawn his timepiece just to get his children, who now numbered four, their presents. By 1860 he was forced to go to his father for help, working for his younger brother in a tannery located in Illinois. While the country’s future took a disastrous turn, it provided Grant with a career that he could excel in, and the Union needed men with experience. After being able to whip a particularly undisciplined regiment into shape, he won the respect of his men and was subsequently promoted to Brigadier General (Friedel and Sidey, 2006).
Although Grant was finally in his element, the North in general didn’t have an easy road ahead of them. The confederates were mainly in their own territory, and fighting (in their mind) for their freedom. The Union had the tough task of rooting out the enemy in a large territory, and the South had the benefit of strong support from the citizens and started with superior military commanders. The North still had a strong advantage with better weapons, more soldiers, and the crucial blockades to the Confederates supply lines (Miller Center).
Unfortunately for the Union, that advantage didn’t equal easy victories, and the war dragged on. The inefficiency of the Northern military leadership did not match up well against the drive the Southerners had and the fervor with which they fought. This continuing trend of poor military leaders in the North is what eventually led to Lincoln turning to Grant as the man who would lead them to victory (Miller Center).
Grant proved that he was exactly the man to do that soon afterwards. In 1861 he led 3,000 troops into a battle that would eventually come out as a draw, but he showed a willingness to fight, and said later of the lesson he learned that day, “I never forgot,” he wrote, “that he had as much reason to fear my forces as I had his. The lesson was valuable.” (qtd. in Miller Center). He continued to build upon his legend by capturing two Confederate forts in Tennessee, earning himself both the moniker “Unconditional Surrender” Grant and a well-earned promotion to Major General (Miller Center).
His good standing with the people did not last long as he was blamed for the tragic loss known as the Battle of Shiloh. A clever early morning ambush by Confederate forces pushed Grant and the Union line back, resulting in many soldiers being taken as Prisoners of War (POW). Grant still showed his tenacity when he managed to hold his position, and arrange for a counterattack the following day where they gave as good as they got. That being said, the citizens placed all the lost lives of those troops squarely at the feet of Grant (Miller Center).
Lincoln understood the worth of such a man however, and instead of feeding him to the political wolves, stood by him and reminded everyone of Grant’s worth and prowess. His calm demeanor during battle was a far cry from the earlier Union military commanders. He was decisive, concise, and knew the dangers of micromanaging his troops, trusting his junior officers to carry out his direct orders. Lincoln put it simply when asked, “I can’t spare this man–he fights.” That alone spoke volumes of Grant’s predecessors (Friedel and Sidey, 2006).
Grant didn’t let his momentum slow either, after being appointed command over the District of Tennessee, he moved quickly to capture Vicksburg, Mississippi, the location of which allowed him to not only gain a high defensible position, but also cut off the Confederate stranglehold that had been on the Mississippi River since the beginning of the war. This was such a decisive turn in the war, and after the pivotal, devastating blow was struck, Lincoln declared “Grant is my man, and I am his” when hearing of the victory (Miller Center).
It was not long before Grant had the entire Western Theater of the war under his command. After more decisive victories in eastern Tennessee, Grant was the undisputed war hero, not only leading and shaping victories, but his men as well as all his generals earned their reputations as well. By 1864 Lincoln had named Grant the de facto commander of all Union forces, and he was transferred to Washington, DC to oversee the war effort. Grant, being the man of action that he was, hated being too far from the battlefield and instead joined up with General Meade and started the grueling campaign where battle after battle between Grant and Robert E. Lee raged across the countryside. Such huge losses were incurred curing this campaign, that grant was given an additional nickname by the press, “The Butcher” (Miller Center).
Grant ignored the murmurings of the peanut gallery and continued taking the fight to Lee, leading to victories so overpowering, that the South eventually started losing the will to continue fighting. This all culminated into Grant trapping the Confederate Army west of Richmond and forcing Lee to surrender on April 9th, 1865. Lee’s surrender to Grant was basically the unofficial end to the war. Grant wrote out magnanimous terms of surrender that would prevent treason trials (Friedel and Sidey, 2006).
In only 4 short years, Grant had gone from tannery clerk to a living legend, a hero in the flesh that had enough war mythos surrounding him to endear him to the entire nation. In 1866 he was named the General of the Armies, a rank that had not been obtained since George Washington himself. He now had the public eye, and the respect of the country, which makes it far from surprising that it was not long after that he would become a presidential candidate (Miller Center).
During the Reconstruction period, Grant attempted to work alongside Lincoln’s abysmal successor Andrew Johnson. However, he was not a fan of Johnson’s policies, and a dispute arose between the two when Grant refused to back him during one of his many struggles with Congress. He moved more and more towards the Radical’s viewpoint, wanting more protection for recently freed slaves, and although he had little to no interest in being president himself, his popularity lead to him being virtually unable to deny the people (Miller Center).
In 1868, Grant’s nomination was nothing more than a formality. Speaker of the House Schuyler Colfax of Indiana was declared to be his running mate and the Democrats chose Horatio Seymour, the then governor of New York, to run against them. The 46-year-old Grant did not campaign himself, which was usual during that day and age, but he was easily the most popular candidate. He won the Electoral College vote by a nearly 3 to 1 margin over Seymour. Attributed in no small part to the newly enfranchised Southern blacks in some reconstructed states, he won the popular vote by 300,000 (Miller Center).
Near the end of his first term in office, Grant’s popularity was still high, but over the past four years a small part of the Republican Party had grown tired of his policies, and branched off to become the Liberal Republicans. They mostly just stood against Grant’s support for the African Americans and the Federal Government intervention in the South (Miller Center).
The Liberal Republicans basically wanted the return of white rule in the south, and nominated a man of their own, Horace Greely, as their candidate. The Democrats, knowing that they could profit off of the Republican split, immediately made their support of Greely known, and he became their candidate as well. However, Greely couldn’t seem to keep his issues straight, and ended up switching his stories and policies too often for people to feel that he was a stable voting choice. This led to Grant winning his reelection, and brought with it a Republican majority into both houses of Congress (Miller Center).
Grant declared in 1875 that he had no interest in running for a third term, and proved it when he played virtually no role in the next election at all, leaving the election too close to be decided. This in turn led Congress to negotiating a compromise to decide which votes counted, and eventually they ruled in favor of Rutherford B. Hayes, who became Grant’s successor. During all of this, Grant seemed more concerned with maintaining a fair election and keeping the peace to facilitate and orderly transfer or power (Miller Center).
When Grant finally stepped down, he could do so knowing that even though the country had a long way to go, he had set it on course to survive, and one day thrive. With this in mind, he took Julia and fulfilled a lifelong passion for world travel, touring across many different countries, and always being received as the hero and great man that he was (Miller Center).
Upon returning from his trips to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, Grant was received well, his popularity still ringing strongly throughout the citizens of the United States of America. He even sought to reclaim the Republican nomination for president. Alas, he had made too many enemies inside of his own party, and instead James A. Garfield earned the nomination instead (Miller Center).
It seemed that misfortune was all the future had in store for Grant after that, starting with a financial disaster that ended with most of his assets being lost due to a scam by his son’s company. The former President and war hero now had to rely on the generosity of his friends as he had no money of his own (Miller Center).
As if that wasn’t enough, he then discovered he was dying of throat cancer. A lifetime of smoking had finally taken its toll on him. Grant was not an emotionally weak man though, he did not allow his recent misfortunes to change the man he had always been, and he approached this fight with cancer with the same fervor and unwillingness to give up that he had approached every fight before this. His final act was to write his memoirs, an act that took all of his time and energy to fully commit to (Miller Center).
He did not do this out of any egotistical need to tell his story, but instead because he knew that he was not leaving his family the legacy they deserved, and did not want his wife and children to also live off of the charity of their friends. He spent his last days at his home, scrawling out his epic tale, and actually managing to finish it just before his death on July 23rd, 1885. It was published by none other than Mark Twain, and its huge success took care of his family for the rest of their lives, accomplishing his last self-issued mission. His funeral was fit for a man of his stature, and it drew a million and a half citizens from all over the country to come and commemorate his life and what a simple tanner’s son had managed to accomplish. Ulysses S. Grant still lies in Grant’s Monument in Manhattan, to this day and is the largest tomb in North America (Miller Center).
Grant’s memory and legend lives on even now, almost 130 years after his death, and he is still widely regarded as one of the better presidents to have had the honor of leading this great nation. Scholars still argue that even though he didn’t make tremendous strides toward the future as many presidents did before him, and have since, he is credited with keeping this country together after the debacle that was Andrew Johnson, and doing that in only two terms is no small thing (C-Span).
The Story Surrounding the Presidency of Ulysses Grant
Although Ulysses S. Grant’s contemporaries placed him in the highest position of great Americans along with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, the twentieth century has seen him fade. His presidency has been almost universally condemned, and he is consistently ranked second to rock bottom Warren G. Harding in polls of historians to rate the presidents.
Although his military reputation has declined as well, it nevertheless continues to win him a steady following. Even his most faithful admirers, however, tend to end their studies conveniently at Appomattox, and one senses a wide regret that Grant’s public career extended beyond the Civil War. Taking note of this trend, John Y. Simon observes that some biographers “seem to have wished that Grant had accepted Lincoln’s invitation to Ford’s Theatre” on the night the president was shot- the night that John Wilkes Booth had intended to assassinate Grant along with Lincoln.
Much of what has been passed down as an objective appraisal of Grant’s presidency more closely resembles the partisan critiques that were produced by a relatively small group of performers during the 1870’s– in many ways the intellectual ancestors of the present historical profession. Although such a minority can sometimes be a source of enlightenment, in this case, it has contributed a monolithic picture of a complex era that is about as depressing as it is inaccurate. Little consideration is given the checkered nature of Grant’s eight years of the Gilded Age. Michael Les Benedict observes that Grant “dominated his era, a stronger resident than most have recognized”.
In both the domestic and foreign realms, President Grant could claim a wide range of achievements. In the aftermath of the most serious fiscal problems the nation had ever faced, he pursued policies that stopped inflation, raised the nations credit, and reduced taxes and the national debt by over $300 million and $435 million respectively. His veto of the Inflation Act of 1874 and subsequent drive for what became the Resumption Act of 1875 shocked many who looked to Congress to cure the nation’s economic ills, and the panic of 1873 came to an abrupt end when the act went into effect in 1879. The successful arbitration of the Alabama and Virginus disputes mark not only foreign policy victories for the United States, but a significant precursor to the future course of international affairs. The establishment of the principle of the international arbitration through the Treaty of Washington, would later be embodied in the Hague Tribunal, the League of Nations, the World Court, and the United Nations.
Grant’s desire for peace was evident to me from the beginning of my research, but I did not realize how far-reaching it was until I noted the steadiness and rectitude he displayed throughout the presidential electoral crisis of 1876-77, which could have become a disaster. Also remarkable to me was Grant’s “Quaker” Indian Peace Policy: on the eve of what could have become the complete genocide of the American Indian, Grant acted decisively to begin two decades of reform that for the first time promoted the welfare of Indians as individuals and broke ground for their eventual citizenship.
However important these issues may seem, the traditional evaluation of Grant as president nevertheless pays far less attention to them than to the issue of corruption. Unlike other cases of presidents charged with allowing corruption, however, the “corruption” that reformers condemned during Grant’s two terms, for the most part, was merely the practice of making appointments through the spoils system. As Benedict points out, scholars have tended to accept the judgment of the anti-Grant reformers that this (patronage) system was inherently corrupt, but that is a very questionable conclusion, and reformers had ulterior, political motives for making the charge.
The matter of whether patronage is necessarily synonymous with corruption provides an additional question of consistency; for historians, if the reformers’ verdict is true, must explain how Grant’s predecessors, most of whom practiced patronage, led administrations exempt from the brand of corruption. What is ironic about the traditional picture of honest reformers opposing the president’s corrupt party henchmen is that Grant was actually the first president since the establishment of the Jacksonian spoils system to initiate civil service reform.
The arguability of the reformers’ charges against Grant extends to cases of actual corruption. The Credit Mobilier scandal, the most conspicuous of the so-called Grant scandals, was in fact only uncovered by the administration. The corrupt activity had occurred in 1867-68, before Grant even became president. Nowhere else in the American political tradition is a president held accountable for corruption dating back to a previous administration. The reformers also charged such figures as cabinet members George H. Williams and George M. Robeson with corruption, and although the record showed the baselessness of such charges, historians evidently see this minor point as negligible. No major study of the Grant presidency makes the connection between the untrustworthiness and utter damage of the reformers’ accusations and Grant’s adverse behavior toward such reformers as Secretary of the Treasury Benjamin Bristow, who made serious allegations concerning the president’s private secretary, Orville Babcock, without sufficient evidence. The weakness of the reformers’ charges, however, is in itself an insufficient explanation of the political environment of the Grant presidency. The crucial issue that remains to be explored–Reconstruction– sheds light on the entire political situation. There was more to the reformers than civil service reform, just as there was more to Grant’s supporters than patronage.
In order to understand the reformers, one must understand the circumstances under which they first came into existence as an organized group dedicated specifically to defeating Grant in 1872 through the Liberal Republican Party. Grant’s suspension of habeas corpus in nine South Carolina counties in 1871 marked a singular display of peacetime presidential power, and in Benedict’s words, ” The effect was electric. Reformers lamented the sacrifice of ‘real’ issues, such as the tariff and civil-service reform, to the ‘dead’ one symbolized by the ‘bloody shirt’…and the use of federal troops (in the South) as gross violations of civil liberty, but they were also forced at last to give up their open hostility to equal rights and black suffrage. Announcing a “new departure,” they promised to accept the finality of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments. The new departure enabled Democrats, reform Republicans, and some Republican politicians who had lost power in their party to unite against Grant’s reelection. Calling themselves Liberal republicans, the dissident Republicans met…(in 1872 ) to name a candidate whom the Democrats would endorse”.
The administration’s success that led to the “new departure” was one of President Grant’s crowning achievements, but Grant would pay dearly for it in history. Having lost their old focus and finding themselves desperately in need of a new one, the Liberal Republican movement began to focus upon what they questionably termed corruption. Both the birth and the survival of Grant’s enemies as a group specifically “focused on Grant himself and the new politics of the Gilded Age” was deeply intertwined with Grant’s dedication to Reconstruction. “(Liberal reform had come to view Reconstruction as an expression of all the real and imagined evils of the Gilded Age,” Historian Eric Foner asserted, and “the rise of (pro-Grant) Stalwarts did less to undermine Republican Southern policy than the emergence of an influential group of party reformers whose revolt against the new politics of the Grant era” caused them to “demand…an end to Reconstruction”.
It is the centrality of Reconstruction issues in Grant’s political situation that has led to a great deal of oversight by historians. Grant’s years in office cannot be understood if the politics of the Gilded Age is separated from the politics of Reconstruction. Both were primary features of the 1870’s, and in order to understand Grant’s political situation, historians must recognize how fundamental the inconsistency was between the reformers’ revered conception of government by the best educated and the notion of black rule in the South, the latter being an essential part of Grant’s program. The president’s dedication to Reconstruction, which endured even after most national leaders declared it misguided, produced a civil rights record which, according to Richard N. Current, made Grant, “in a certain respect, one of the greatest presidents” with whom “only Lyndon B. Johnson can even be compared…”
A look at all of the pressing issues during the Grant administration, but especially Reconstruction, clearly indicates that the portrait of politics during the 1870’s as a mere matter of who practiced a less desirable system of patronage and who advocated civil service reform is seriously distorted. The traditional verdict on the Grant presidency does not even begin to appear logical until one accepts the flawed assumption that the corruption / civil service reform issue was more important than such issues as Reconstruction, international crises, Indian affairs, and the multitude of economic matters, all combined. As William B. Hesseltine admits in his definitive study of President Grant, “Grant’s enemies….stuffed the ballot boxes of history against Grant…”
Hiram Ulysses Grant: biography
Born April 27, 1822 in Point Pleasant, Ohio, Hiram Ulysses Grant, also known as Ulysses S Grant, was the first of six children to Hannah Grant and Jesse Grant. Ulysses was small, sensitive, and quiet. The local schools bored him, and other children mistook his quietness for stupidity, nicknaming him “Useless.” Ulysses also loved horses as a child and was known for taming unruly horses.
His family had little money for college, but the United States Military Academy at West Point offered a deal a free education in return for Army service after graduating. Grant though did not know there was this opportunity so his dad signed him up and he got in. After great depait he decided to go. He was good at math and drawing, but his prior education was limited, leaving him as a otherwise unexceptional student. His skill with horses, however, were amazing, and he amazed everyone with his riding abilities. Grant seemed sure to win a coveted spot in the Army’s cavalry, its horse-soldier elite, but he was assigned to the infantry after graduating twenty-first out of a class of thirty-nine. In 1804 the Army was very small. Grant was assigned to the Fourth Infantry at the Jefferson Barracks, just south of St. Louis, Missouri. Grant’s West Point roommate, Frederick Dent, had grown up nearby, and Grant often visited the Fredericks home, where the family’s hospitality made him feel comfortable. One day while visiting, Grant met Frederick’s sister, Julia Dent. Julia was charming, smart, and sociable.
They soon fell in love, although Grants service in the Mexican War would delay their union for several years. Grant’s troops moved further south, first to Louisiana and then to Texas to prepare for the conflict with Mexico that was happening on the Texas Territory. From 1846 to 1848 Grant (who was a lieutenant at the time) fought in the Mexican War and was twice recognized for bravery. Grant was then appointed quartermaster for the Fourth Infantry and was responsible for providing supplies and transportation as his troops moved through the Mexican countryside.
Grant, did not like the ideals of war. He mourned his lost comrades and the waste that war created. When the war was over Grant traveled back to St. Louis to marry Julia. Grant though was unaware that, all three of his Southern attendants, including James Longstreet, would fight against him during the Civil War. The Army then transferred the young lieutenant to Detroit and New York. At the beginning of their marriage Julia was able to travel with Grant but when the Army sent Grant to the Pacific Northwest, first to the Oregon Territory then to California. Grant hated being away from his family. Grant ended up running into some financial problems, he then became depressed. According to some accounts he began to drink to excess. In 1854, Grant resigned suddenly from the Army. And is still not know to this day why he resigned. After leaving the Army, Grant returned to his wife and children in Missouri. Julia’s father had given her some land, and Grant tried to farm it, building a log house he built “Hardscrabble.” Working hard, Grant found it difficult to make a living.
When extra labor was needed, he hired free blacks. He could have made money from selling the one slave that his father-in-law gave him but instead freed the slave. The painful reality was that Ulysses could not support his family, which eventually grew to four children. He also attempted a half-dozen other lines of work over the next several years. One bleak Christmas, he pawned his watch for $22 to buy presents for his family. By 1860, Grant was forced appeal to his father for help, and he went to work for his younger brother in a leather shop in Galena, Illinois. Soon thereafter, the South seceded from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America. The Civil War had begun, and, suddenly, the North needed experienced Army officers like Grant. The governor of Illinois appointed the former captain to lead a volunteer regiment that no one else had been able to train.
Grant instituted badly needed discipline, focusing on the regiment’s main goals and overlooking minor details. He gradually won the men’s respect and allegiance and was subsequently appointed to brigadier general. Grant displayed his military prowess early in the conflict. In 1861, he led 3,000 troops into his first major engagement. The clash at Belmont, Missouri, was a draw, but he showed a rare Union trait at the time—a willingness to fight. More than that in this early period Grant learned something about the enemy, and about himself. “I never forgot,” he wrote, “that he had as much reason to fear my forces as I had his. The lesson was valuable.” In February 1862, he captured Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, two critical Confederate fortifications in Tennessee. At Fort Donelson, he accepted the surrender of an entire Confederate force, earning a nickname, “Unconditional Surrender” Grant. Fort Donelson was the first real Union victory of the
Episode Eighteen: The Female Perspective in Joyce’s Ulysses
James Joyce’s Ulysses is unlike any other novel. With a variety of characters, a stream-of-consciousness narrative, parodies, allusions, and obscenities, Joyce’s eighteen-episode novel illustrates only a single Dublin day. While the first thirteen episodes present a substantial number of questions, confusion, and comedic relief, the remaining five experiment with alternative narrative techniques. From the form of a play script in Episode Fifteen to the question-and-answer narrative in Episode Seventeen, Joyce explores various methods, challenging the conventional modes of storytelling. The final episode, Episode Eighteen (also known as “Penelope”), delivers the novel from the female perspective of Molly Bloom. Molly Bloom, Leopold Bloom’s sexually flirtatious wife, narrates her feminine viewpoint on assorted events and her relationship with Bloom in an eight-sentence, 37-page collection of lethargic, unpunctuated words, thoughts, and opinions. Through this episode, Joyce displays an eccentric form of literature, creating an epic culmination to his legendary masterpiece. Additionally, Molly Bloom’s feminine expressivity illustrates Joyce’s perception of women and fully encompasses their role within the novel.
While the great majority of Ulysses is documented through a stream-of-consciousness technique from the viewpoints of primarily Stephen or Leopold Bloom, Molly Bloom’s Episode Eighteen is drastically different from all of the others. First, without the presence of periods, commas, or evidence of punctuation in general, this incidence of stream-of-consciousness is unparalleled. It is almost inaccurate to even describe Molly’s soliloquy as her stream of consciousness; a more precise explanation might label this eight-sentence episode as Molly’s exhausted compilation of various words and opinions. For instance, a brief segment from Molly’s first sentence, discussing Mrs. Riordan, demonstrates her opinionated thoughts and uttering of words: “she had too much old chat in her about politics and earthquakes and the end of the world let us have a bit of fun first God help the world if all the women were her sort down on bathingsuits and lownecks of course nobody wanted her to wear them I suppose she was pious because no man would look at her twice” (608). Joyce’s lack of punctuation throughout this episode imitates an actual flooding of thoughts, while also further exaggerating the familiar stream-of-consciousness technique. While this method makes for a frustrating read, Joyce is forcing the reader to visualize Molly’s constant ramblings and contemplations. Without periods or breaks in the monologue, Joyce produces a sense of exhaustion, parallel to Molly’s fatigued state. Therefore, the absence of punctuation amplifies the stream-of-consciousness technique, while also defining the tone of the episode as equivalent to Molly’s own emotional and physical condition.
In addition to the irregular style and methods Joyce uses throughout Episode Eighteen, the choice to employ this technique from the perspective of a female character is significant. While the lack of punctuation creates an unstoppable flow of words and thoughts, it also exhibits a liberated approach to the English language and grammar. As Joyce chooses to use Molly as the narrator for this episode, he is deliberately demonstrating her independence from the expectations of confined society. For instance, throughout the novel leading up to this episode, Molly has gained a promiscuous reputation — one that we find out is not necessarily true. Although Bloom rants about her various suitors, Molly asserts that Boylan was her first and only infidelity, after a sexless ten years with Bloom.
Regardless, Molly chooses to express her sexuality and femininity without fearing a man’s judgment. She refuses to be confined by social norms, just as Joyce chooses to create his own literary techniques outside of the established scholarly methods.
In addition to Molly’s sexual freedom, she also takes a liberating approach within her marriage. At the opening of this chapter, Bloom has asked Molly to serve him breakfast in bed, attempting to reestablish his dominant male role within the household and their marriage. Molly is annoyed and curious about this request, thus convinced that her husband partook in unfaithful activities earlier in the day. While this curiosity implies that Molly is not the only one being adulterous within their marriage, it also demonstrates Molly’s independence. Unlike the majority of women during the early 1900s, Molly is not subservient to her husband’s wishes and demands. She lives her life as she pleases, whether it is in a respectable manner or not. Molly is a strong character, as described through her actions and displayed through her appearance. While Joyce uses a liberated female to exercise his unconventional modern techniques, the parallels drawn between Molly’s persona and Joyce’s writing style are undeniable.
Furthermore, Joyce makes a conscious decision to conclude the novel with Molly, a female voice — the only chapter in the novel with a female narrator. Although this may appear to attribute a considerable amount of significance to Molly’s point of view and opinions, as with the remainder of the novel, Joyce implies the characters’ fallibility in regards to their perception and judgment of other characters and events within the novel. For example, Molly fantasizes about Stephen, creating an exaggerated and incorrect perception of his character. She imagines, “Im sure hes very distinguished Id like to meet a man like that… hed be so clean compared with those pigs of men I suppose never dream of washing…” (638). While Molly’s view of Stephen is highly inaccurate, as he is often described as anything but clean, Joyce is demonstrating a character’s personal opinion rather than a factual identification. There is no true, honest narrator in Ulysses, only a vast array of opinions and the consistent passing of judgments. Therefore, while Joyce implements a female narrator to conclude the novel, he is further exploring an atypical technique, rather than giving Molly the authority to close the novel with her opinions and final judgments as the ultimate truth.
In addition to its unusual form of stream-of-consciousness and the implications of a female narrative, Episode Eighteen is the only instance when Molly expresses her feelings and opinions regarding her marriage with Bloom, as well as her other relationships. While Molly admits that she was initially attracted to Bloom because he understands how a woman thinks, her unfaithful actions and their continuous marital problems have resulted in a challenging and rather unconventional marriage. She describes the initial days while courting Bloom, detailing how she once found his appearance quite attractive. Although the spark in their relationship has diminished and the initial feelings have weakened, Molly will always be affectionate toward Bloom. Even her extramarital affair with Boylan and her suspicions regarding Bloom’s unfaithful activities could not permanently terminate their marriage.
Lastly, throughout this chapter, Joyce attempts to imitate a woman’s thought process and the female perspective, often leading to stereotypical generalizations and exaggerations. For example, Joyce illustrates Molly’s character as a strong feminist, yet with one fixation: sex. Female critics have disapproved of Joyce’s inaccurate female characterizations: “That’s not the female perspective! If you men think that all we think about at night is sex and how we’re seen by men in our lives, then you’ve got another think coming!” (Shmoop). In addition to labeling Molly’s character in this manner, in Episode Thirteen, Joyce also displays Gerty MacDowell as an overly sexual being. In both instances, Joyce is stereotyping the women, making them objects of sexual desire as well as implying that their primary thoughts revolve solely around sex. While Joyce makes a valid attempt at creating the female perspective, his view of the female gender is slightly tainted and flawed.
As the finale to James Joyce’s Ulysses, Episode Eighteen encompasses a number of themes and ideas while also exploring unconventional literary techniques. Through Molly Bloom’s soliloquy, the reader is introduced to new opinions, personalities, and scholarly methods. As the journey of Ulysses concludes in this unusual fashion, the introduction and exploration of alternative forms of style and technique defines Joyce’s authentic literary approach and purpose.
The Function of Parody in Ulysses
The word “parody” comes from the Latin parodia, meaning “burlesque song or poem”, but it has come to refer to any artistic composition in which “the characteristic themes and the style of a particular work, author, etc., are exaggerated or applied to an inappropriate subject for the purposes of ridicule.” Parody is used throughout Ulysses both as a form of comedy and as a critique. In the “Cyclops” episode, parody functions as a critique of the grand narrative, specifically in terms of history and the discourse of the nineteenth century. Parody is further used in order to subvert existing structures and hierarchies, as is apparent through the elements of Bakhtin’s conception of the Carnivale, which are present in the episode. In “Nausicaa”, Joyce parodies aspects of popular culture, particularly romance fiction and the censorship debate. This technique serves to highlight the relationship between language and consciousness, as well as the way in which discourses are constructed and interact with each other. By using parody, Joyce appears to be critiquing aspects of society and questioning the manner in which language is used to convey meaning.Parody in “Cyclops” serves to disrupt conventional notions of narrative. In particular, Joyce appears to be critiquing the notion of history as a grand narrative. The elevated language of the episode, as can be seen in the passage describing “a historic and a hefty battle,” acts as a parody of the literature drawn on by Irish nationalists in order to idealize Ireland’s heroic past. These writers offered popular versions of mythology using writing styles similar to nineteenth-century writers such as Carlyle. For the twentieth-century reader, however, these allusions might seem pretentious and inflated; Joyce appears to be parodying the passionate nationalists who celebrated the heroic past of the Irish people in this manner. The list of names of heroic leaders in “Cyclops” descends into complete farce, as it lists figures completely unconnected with Ireland, such as “Gautama Buddha” and “Jack the Giant Killer”, as well as some names that are simply invented. Joyce likewise parodies this idea of mindless drivel by concluding the narrator’s speeches with phrases such as “and so forth and so on”, “this phenomenon and the other phenomenon”, and “new Ireland and new this, that and the other”. These parodies reveal that extreme Irish nationalists grasped at almost anything to further their mission. Thematically, Joyce establishes an ongoing dialogue between Bloom’s “humanistic universalism” and the citizen’s narrow nationalism. The citizen refuses to acknowledge the possibility that Bloom can claim Ireland as his nation whilst also being a Jew. Bloom, on the other hand, postulates the humanistic view that “force, hatred, history…that’s not life for men and women…love…the opposite of hatred…that is really life.” Joyce seems to be critiquing the often fanatical nature of Irish nationalism, specifically the manner in which heroism is figured in terms of violence, and the fact that this fanaticism is encouraged at a cost to humanity.Furthermore, Joyce appears to be critiquing the grand narrative of nineteenth-century discourse. He does so firstly by juxtaposing colloquial passages narrated by an anonymous Dubliner with grandiose mythic passages such as “the nec and non plus ultra of emotion were reached when the blushing bride elect burst her way through…and flung herself upon the muscular bosom of him who was about to be launched into eternity.” The ridiculousness of this bombastic style is furthered by the subject matter: a wedding of trees. Indeed, the juxtaposition of this language with the narrator’s colloquial “God blimey if she aint a clinker” highlights the pretentiousness of the elevated form. Joyce uses an exaggerated multiplicity of adjectives such as “broadshouldered deepchested stronglimbed frankeyed redhaired freely freckled” to parody an overly descriptive style of writing and critique the imperialist nature of grand narratives that claim to offer a comprehensive view of events. In doing so, Joyce demonstrates an awareness that aspects of nineteenth-century literature cannot be translated. He appears to be critiquing the extent to which people who sought independence for Ireland attempted to translate to the twentieth-century notions that belong to the past and could not be recovered – especially not via inflated language.There is no clear narrative voice in this episode, as Joyce rapidly transitions from one narrative style to another. The shifting narrative also serves as a parody of the pretentious writing of the nineteenth century. Like the one-eyed Polyphemus in the Homeric parallel, each narrative presents a single view, offering the reader separate eyewitnesses who interrupt and contradict each other. This enables the characters to undergo a metamorphosis between various narrative frames. The medical journal parody, for example, transforms Bloom’s muddled scientific knowledge into a precise explication of physiology, as he becomes “Herr Professor Luitpold Blumenduft.” Through other narratives, the reader gets a vision of Bloom as a hero “O’Bloom, the son of Rory,” Bloom the “distinguished phenomenologist,” and ultimately “ben Bloom Elijah.” Joyce also appears to be engaging this type of narration in an effort to both define and limit it to a narrative structure. In doing so, he explores the breakdown in narration. At times, this occurs in the midst of a sentence, as in the episode’s final words: “ben Bloom Elijah, amid clouds of angels ascend to the glory of the brightness…at an angle of fortyfive degrees…like a shot off a shovel.” The sentence begins as a Biblical epic, shifts to a quasi-science journalistic style, and then shifts once again to colloquialism. The structure resembles a comic routine, with different voices presenting different views, which in turn highlight the unreliability of each individual perspective. Interestingly, Homer’s Polyphemus is both one-eyed and multi-vocal, echoing the ambiguities that Joyce explores in the episode. The parody in “Cyclops” can thus be seen as a microcosm of the parody of Ulysses the novel; that is to say, a parody of the epic form.Parody further functions to subvert existing structures and hierarchies. The events in “Cyclops” echo the revelries of the Carnivale as conceptualised by Bakhtin. Bakhtin underlines the predominance of “the material principle and the physical life with images of the body, or eating and drinking, and with the satisfaction of the natural urges.” The pub is site for informal socializing – the characters are tipsy from drink, and the environment is conducive to the kind of revelry associated with the Carnivale. There is a sense of anarchy about the episode, with characters indulging in excess, “[nearly eating] the tin and all,” and laying emphasis on the nether parts of the body, such as Molly Bloom’s bottom and the hanged man’s erection. Joyce appears to be staging a verbal carnival, first through the polyphony of voices, specifically the alternation of the lofty and vulgar styles, and secondly through the wordplay that characterises much of the episode. Within the episode are examples of antanaclasis (“Good Christ!…Who said Christ is good?”), etymology (“barber/barbarous/barbarian”), puns (“foul/fowl”), neologism (“codology”) and non-sequiteurs (“talking about new Ireland, he ought to go and get a new dog so he ought”). Parrinder characterises a carnival as a “world…turned bottom upwards…a forum in which a behaviour that is normally frowned upon…becomes sanctioned and overt.” In a carnival, the highest authority (usually the King) is insulted and beaten by the people. In “Cyclops”, Bloom is presented as this figure, the image of him “on point duty up” suggesting his superiority, which is highlighted by his refusal to join in the drinking session. It is thus significant that the end of the episode finds him being insulted and set upon by the dogs. The carnival is also a place where religion is parodied, and in this episode God undergoes a plethora of irreverent metamorphoses: “begob…Christ M’Keown…dog.” Here, the parody functions as a subversion of these figures of authority.In “Nausicaa”, parody serves as a critique of popular culture and highlights the manner in which aspects of popular culture seep into our consciousness. Gerty McDowell’s language and consciousness is an amalgam of romance literature, fashion magazines, advertising, and folk wisdom. The first half of “Nausicaa” is often read as a parody of the sentimental novel, and particularly The Lamplighter, written by Maria Cummins in 1864, which features a heroine named “Gertrude”. The frequent usage of exclamation marks, as in “O so lively! O so soft, sweet, soft!” and exaggerated use of “O!” parodies the emotive, heightened language of romance fiction. Joyce himself referred to the language of this half of the episode as “namby-pamby jammy marmalady drawsery.” Interestingly, many of the references to fashion magazines and advertising occur in parenthesis, such as “(because it was expected in the Lady’s Pictorial that electric blue would be worn),” suggesting a kind of ‘aside’, as if these aspects of popular culture create resonances that infiltrate our consciousness at particular moments.Gerty herself is a parody of the romantic heroine, one who “completely [represses] all sexual desires and awareness of her own physical being…she must be an object.” Gerty, however, is aware of her sexual desires and cannot keep her fantasies pure, imagining that Bloom’s “hands and face were working and a tremor went over her.” She is further aware that she is being watched, and seems to enjoy being seen, deliberately “[revealing] all her graceful beautifully shaped legs” to Bloom. This awareness of her sexual power is at odds with the stereotype of this sort of heroine, and as such, Gerty becomes the antitheses of the romantic heroine. Parody also serves to critique the censorship debate. The idea that young women were vulnerable to any moral deviance in works of fiction was particularly highlighted by the sensational novel outrage of the nineteenth century. These “sensational” novels were considered dangerous because they “made readers read with their bodies.” Gerty is a virgin who is aware of her own sexuality because she reads – exactly what advocates against sensational novels feared. Joyce’s ironic twist, however, is that Gerty read a romance novel with a typically asexual heroine, rather than “sensational” fiction, seemingly mocking the whole censorship debate. Perhaps Joyce is critiquing the readiness with which people vilify literature in order to create a scapegoat for societal problems. The issues facing Irish society during Joyce’s time are revealed through the virgin/whore dichotomy. On one hand, Irish Catholicism postulated the doctrine of Mary-olatry, but on the other, Ireland had a sizeable population of prostitutes. In The Lamplighter, Gertrude models herself after the Virgin Mary. Likewise, in the “Nausicaa” episode of Ulysses, Gerty tries to see herself in this light, as the “refuge of sinners…comfortress of the afflicted” – allusions to the Holy Virgin. However, her sexual awareness means she must fail as this figure. The juxtaposition between Gerty’s sexuality and the Virgin Mary’s takes on a comic element as the discrepancy between Gerty’s vision of herself and what she really is becomes wider. Joyce’s parody of the would-be virgin seems to allude to the hypocrisy of societal attitudes at the time. The doctrine of Mary-olatry also suggests transubstantiation. It is thus interesting that Gerty’s stockings are a diaphanous object, recalling the motif of the diaphane that permeates previous episodes in Ulysses. Aristotle spoke of the diaphane as a medium that enables things to show their actual selves only in light, begging the question of where the source of the light is located. This parallels the question of the where the source of creativity – and particularly the creation of language – can be found.This question is explored through parody, as it highlights the relationship between language and consciousness. This is firstly considered through the construction of character-specific discourses. Gerty may be a typical example of “winsome Irish girlhood,” but that is because she is a composite of the discourses that construct the ideal Irish female. The parody occurs through Joyce’s subversion of this ideal construct, wherein Gerty appears to be deluding herself into believing that she is this ideal. There are several images in the episode that suggest Gerty’s narcissistic delusions, including her placement, like Narcissus, near “the little pool by the rock,” and her bedroom mirror, in front of which she “[smiles] at the lovely reflection which the mirror gave back to her!” Gerty appears to be deliberately constructing this image of herself, perhaps in order to mask her insecurities about her role as a woman, and it is thus significant that we discover that she is lame, as we realise that she is not the ideal female form she makes herself out to be.Gerty thinks of Bloom in terms of masculine stereotypes: “her dreamhusband…[who] would embrace her gently, like a real man, crushing her soft body to him.” She is portrayed as a “typical” woman, who imagines the possibilities of marriage and children, whilst Bloom is the “typical” man, who sees Gerty merely as an object of desire. In this sense, Bloom’s narrative is very much part of his character. This raises the question of linguistic determination, and of whether we can think outside of our own language. Bloom acknowledges this question when he describes his erotic communication with Gerty as “a kind of language between us.” He is aware that something has taken place, and wonders whether or not that is a language. Joyce seems to be engaging with those points of nexus between thought and language, and makes the reader question whether it is possible to document them. The two voices in this episode create an intratextual parody. Gerty is observing Bloom as he observes her, and as such, the characters function simultaneously as both the representor and the object of representation. Bakhtin claims that this dialogical relationship can be regarded as a parodic relationship, stating that “in parodic discourse two styles, two ‘languages’ come together…the language being parodied…and the language that parodies.” Likewise, the two voices of Gerty and Bloom critique and comment on each other. The unreliability of Gerty’s account of what happened between herself and Bloom is highlighted by the juxtaposition of Bloom’s discourse against her own. Gerty romanticises her physicality, and subsequently Bloom’s reaction to it, claiming that “his eyes burned into her as thought they would…read her very soul.” This stands in direct contrast to Bloom’s matter-of-fact, coarse reaction, “I saw your. I saw all. Lord!” and after masturbating, “for this relief much thanks.” At one time, both discourses act as parodies of the other. Bloom appears preoccupied with the coarse physicality of females, thinking about them in terms of menstruation, orgasms, and their bodies, and in this manner enables us to laugh at Gerty’s romantic view of her physicality while simultaneously critiquing her constructed discourse. Indeed, Bakhtin cites critique through laughter as the first foundation of novelistic discourse, because “these parodic-travestying forms…destroyed the homogenising power of myth over language.” In these two episodes, parody serves to critique the values of Joyce’s society both present and past, and to explore the different facets of language. In “Cyclops”, parody functions specifically as a critique of the grand narrative, and is used to subvert existing structures and hierarchies. Joyce parodies aspects of popular culture in “Nausicaa” to highlight the relationship between language and consciousness, and to reveal the manner in which discourses are constructed and interact with each other.SourcesBakhtin, M. 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