Style and Themes of James Joyce

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Besmer 1

Brian Besmer

Mr. Anselmo

English IV

11/13/00

Styles of James Joyce

I will be discussing the styles of James Joyce and how his life

experiences, his surroundings, and himself affected his writings this area.

James Joyce is an extremely versatile author. He has written books

that were entire collections of short stories such as Dubliners and long novels

such as Ulysses. Much of Joyce's life contributed to his writings and he has

been influence by many people and events. Joyce grew up in Ireland and

then moved to England where he began his writing. He wrote for England but

was Irish at heart and this will be shown in his writings.

Many things influenced Joyce's writings, from other authors, to his life

experiences. Joyce used other books as a platform for his own books. A

major example of this is Joyce's book Ulysses, which he based almost

entirely off of Homer's Odyssey (Garvin 15). Joyce was fascinated with

Homer's Odyssey and based several of his books on it other then Ulysses.

Not even so much basing his books off of the Odyssey but also restating

many of the events shown and ideas expressed in his books. Joyce

researched the Odyssey thoroughly and analyzing everything done by Homer,

and used it to build Ulysses. Joyce saw the Odyssey as the solution to many

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of his problems in his life. The Odyssey was the foundation of Ulysses and a

lot of the views that were expressed in the Odyssey were expressed again in

Ulysses. Joyce wanted to show people of his time what was going on and

what should be done and he felt this was shown well in the Odyssey. The two

books were so alike that even most of the chapters in the Odyssey

correspond with the episodes in Ulysses in almost exact chronological order

(Ellmann 115). The only difference is that the Odyssey has twenty-four

chapters while Ulysses has eighteen episodes. Joyce makes up for the lack of

episodes by combining several of the Odyssey's chapters into one episode in

Ulysses. Also many of the patterns seen in Homer's Odyssey appear in

Joyce's Ulysses, as well as other books written by Joyce. The appearance of

these similar patterns is because Joyce agreed with a lot of what Homer had

to say and Homer's beliefs (Garvin 22).To make the books a little less similar,

Joyce broke up the order of events. Other authors besides Homer also

influenced Joyce. Authors such as Ibsen and Goethe were used in several of

his works, but neither of them were ever used as much as Homer's books,

especially the Odyssey. Even though they weren't used as much as Homer

they still played a significant role in Joyce's writings. Joyce was not ignorant

and listened to what others had to say. He often combined ideas of other

people to make up his own ideas, which he then expressed in his writings

(Brunsdale 18).

Joyce's writings were also influenced by his everyday life experiences.

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Growing up in Ireland he saw how people lived and wrote about what he had

seen during his youth. Each experience was carefully chosen so that it could

be used to create a literary work of art, a picture of what Joyce wanted to

show everyone. Joyce wrote about the common people of Ireland who he saw

while growing up. Everyday events and youth experience in Ireland were

explained in several of his books because they made such a significant

impact on his life before he moved to England (Halper 4). Not only did he

write about his experiences in Ireland and what he had seen there, but also

what he had seen in mainland Europe on his visits to places such as Rome

and Paris. He also would write about other experiences in his life, such as

with women and his friends, in his stories, almost as if he was writing an

autobiography. Much of what...
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