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She Said: How Molly's Monologue Revises The Understanding Of James Joyce's Ulysses The Essay Question Is Revealed In The Title Of The Essay

4304 words - 17 pages

Throughout the text of James Joyce's Ulysses the reader is primarily presented with a male point of view towards the day's events, whether through Bloom, Stephen, or the myriad of minor characters that make appearances. This viewpoint works to create a singular perspective that goes unchallenged until the last chapter. In "Penelope", Molly's subconscious monologue brings an entirely different perspective to the text and the ideas created within it. More specifically, Molly revises the understanding of the feminine nature, the character of Leopold Bloom (hereafter referred to as 'Bloom'), and the relationship that exists between Mr. and Mrs. Bloom. Molly's account of the day's events and her interpretation of the various situations she thinks of in her half-awake/half-asleep state, although biased, work for the reader to create a balanced perspective of the text. The ambiguity that exists in the rest of the text as to whether Bloom is justly or unjustly persecuted can be resolved by Molly due to her intimate knowledge of Bloom and his personality. In the end the reader is left with a clear picture as to what should be understood about Bloom and the world he inhabits.Bloom's day begins in "Calypso", and right away he has premonitions about the infidelity of his wife, due to the arrival of a letter from Boylan. The fact that Boylan will later be paying a visit to Molly leads Bloom to suspect that something is amiss. Bloom is jealous of Boylan and his ability to seduce Molly, which Bloom reveals when he recalls a conversation with his wife, "Is that Boylan well off? He has money. Why? I noticed he had a good smell off his breath dancing" (69). These thoughts of Molly's promiscuity will haunt Bloom throughout the rest of the day, and are presented as the catalyst for Bloom's wandering day. The reader gets the sense that Bloom spends his whole day wandering around Dublin because of the fact that he is a solitary man, while his wife finds enjoyments and satisfaction in the arms of another man. Due to the loneliness that is established by his wandering, Bloom is seen to suffer as a result of Molly's affair with Boylan. The whole attitude created by this is that Molly is the cause of Bloom's suffering, and for the reader this creates sympathy for Bloom and disgust for Molly. This idea is reinforced throughout the text, such as in the "Circe" episode, when Bloom encounters Boylan:BoylanShow me in. I have a little private business with your wife. You understand?BloomThank you, sir. Yes, sir, Madam Tweedy is in her bath, sir. (565)And later:MarionLet him look, the pishouge! Pimp!...BoylanYou can apply your eye to the keyhole and play with yourself while I just go through her a few times.BloomThank you, sir, I will, sir. May I bring two men chums to witness the deed and take a snapshot? (566)Scenes such as this (albeit a hallucination) simply reinforce the fact that Bloom is the poor, innocent, suffering husband who is being humiliated by his promiscuous and...

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