Interior Monologue in Ulysses

Topics: Ulysses, James Joyce, Leopold Bloom Pages: 6 (2035 words) Published: June 3, 2011
The similarities between Joyce’s Ulysses and Homer’s Odyssey are unmistakable even from Joyce’s choice of title as Ulysses is the Latin derivative of Odysseus the hero portrayed in Homer’s Odyssey. Adding to the comparisons between the two are the numerous characters portrayed throughout Joyce’s novel as they are a direct modernised parallel to those depicted in Homer’s poem. Joyce’s character Leopold Bloom is a mirror image to Homer’s Odysseus as is Odysseus’s son Telemachus interpreted through the character of Stephen Dedalus in Ulysses. Despite the various parallels and connections between Homer’s Odyssey and Joyce’s Ulysses, it is Joyce’s modernisation and arrangement of his novel that sets it apart from Homer’s mythological poem. Dissimilar to Homer’s Odyssey, Ulysses is set in the city of Dublin on the 16th of June 1904. For Joyce, this particular date held a great amount of sentimental value as it was the day of his first date with his future wife thus questioning the idea of Joyce injecting a hint of romanticism by commemorating that particular date into a novel that has been described as vulgar and a work of blasphemy. Ulysses develops over the space of twenty-four hours and despite the novels small time frame the countless events and occurrences that the characters encounter are described in-depth and often quite humorously. Joyce’s main intentions for his novel were to make it, in his opinion, as realistic as possible, to ‘give a picture of Dublin so complete that if the city one day suddenly disappeared from the earth it could be reconstructed out of my book’ (A Portrait of The Artist As A Young Man, pg.10). To emphasise the element of realism Joyce described the characters as visiting authentic Dublin landmarks and establishments such as Davy Byrne’s pub and a Martello Tower in Sandycove, Dublin. It is through Joyce’s element of realism, the overall structure and the multiple modes of writing of his novel that suggests Ulysses is a significant conspicuous piece of modernist literature in its own right. In Ulysses Joyce discards the traditionalist convention of maintaining a narrative throughout the entirety of his novel by persistently introducing other styles of writing episode by episode. Joyce continuously alters the narrator and the protagonist of the novel along with the style of how each chapter is written switching from a conventional narrative of maintaining one solitary hero or protagonist to swapping around the central characters throughout several episodes. Furthermore, throughout each individual episode numerous themes are introduced such as death, mysticism and sexual desire. As the novel progresses and the protagonists and methods of writing change the characters’ accounts of what has appeared to be everyday mundane actions, seen in the opening episodes, become more detailed and complex as they interact more with the inhabitants of Dublin and their surroundings. Within the opening episode Telemachus it would appear that the novel is following the traditional narrative writing regime as on first impressions what appears to be the protagonist of the novel, Stephen Dedalus is introduced. Stephen is a familiar character as he is depicted as the aging and maturing central character in Joyce’s A Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man. Through the opening chapters of Ulysses it would seem to be following the same routine as Joyce’s previous work concerning the character of Stephen as Ulysses follows Stephen’s every day, tedious actions such as eating breakfast and shaving, ‘He laid the brush aside and, laughing with delight…began to shave with care’, (pg. 4). The narrative throughout Telemachus conventionally follows A Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man as Joyce is associating his narrative with internal monologue depicting Stephen’s inner voice and stream of consciousness as he performs everyday tasks. This is further reinforced in Nestor where Stephen is undertaking his role as a teacher. Joyce is...
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