James Joyce is one of the most important and well-known writers of the 20th century British literature. One if his most notable works is the novel “Ulysses”.
1. Joyce uses the technique of free indirect speech/or narrated monologue in his work, as being a tool in order to alternate unobtrusively the character’s stream of consciousness with the narrator’s perspective. Through this technique, the author leaves his characters to take the lead. He allows the characters to have the liberty to express their own thoughts and when the traditional writer disappears, the reader is faced with the characters’ mind, thoughts, emotions, memories. The internal monologue tends to relate emotions rather than ideas.
The stream of consciousness technique
“Stream”= continuity; processable nature of a state of mind; it offers details of the interior world. we have free associations of ideas, emotions, fantasies, all mingled together in our mind and occurred all together. Characters are portrayed through their thoughts; there is a free flow of ideas, not chronological, but chaotic, incoherent, timeless: odd constructions of sentences, they seem to move from one thing to another, they are not logical, clear.
The stream of consciousness technique is used by both Virginia Woolf and James Joyce. He believes that we should focus more on the inner world and thoughts. He completely reformed the notion of plot that it became unrecognizable: nothing really happens, only what people think, feel and the emotional states through which they go, things happen inside. Since the plot is gone, the epic vanishes too. The only thing that remains is the lyrical substance of the novel: things happen inside.
What is more, he too is influenced by Bergson’s idea of “subjective time”=the way your psyche perceives time depends on your subjective state of mind. This appears in ‘Ulysses’ as well: hundreds of pages of one day.
It may be considered a counter reaction to realism which focuses on the exterior world because it emphasizes on the inner world; subjective perception of time. Another type of literature is needed; one that deals with the psyche and it makes visible the impalpable things.
2. The novel refers to “Odyssey.” Joyce does not reproduce it, but his novel articulates, in each of its episodes, allusions, references, parallels to characters, situations, and episodes of the Homeric poem. Ulysses is divided into three major sections: the first section of three episodes, called Telemachiada is dedicated to the presentation of Stephen Daedalus, in the original novel he is Telemachus, the son of Ulysses, who was searching his father, one of the major themes of the novel, the second section is dedicated to the main character, Leopold Bloom, a modern Ulysses, wandering through Dublin as the Homeric character was searching his father; The third section, includes three episodes under the sign of Bloom’s wife. The action of the Joyce’s novel takes place in a single day, Thursday, June 16, 1904.
Some allusions made by Joyce may be the following: For example on the one hand Ulysses was the prisoner of the Calypso nymphs; on the other hand Bloom is the volunteer slave of his wife’s charms. Lotophages, refers to one of Ulises’ adventures, who, on the island of Lotus Eaters, see their comrades succumbing to the charms of the sleeping flowers, losing their desire to return to their homeland, tempted by a life of pleasure and forgetfulness. Here, according to the ironic reversal of Homeric references, Bloom himself falls prey to these temptations. Hades refers to that part of the Odyssey that tells the descent of Ulysses in Hell and his encounters with the ghosts. Here it is presented Patrick Dignam’s funeral. There is an obvious disparity between the dramatic descending of Ulysses in the Hell and the trivial visit of Bloom to the cemetery. Ulysses seeks the shadows of the fallen warriors in the siege of Troy, while Bloom tries to say a joke, looking at the priest who looks like a frog humming Latin and observes an obese rat slipping into a crypt.
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