Ulysses is a novel dealing with a day , Thursday June 16,1904,in the life of Leopold Bloom, an advertising agent. The novel consists of 3 books and 18 episodes each of each is modelled on a section of Homer’s Odyssey. The parallel extends to the three main characters: Leopold Bloom is Ulysses, Stephen Dedalus is Telemachus, while Molly, Leopold’s wife is Penelope.
The first book concentrates on Stephen Dedalus in the same way as the Odyssey begins with Telemachus who goes in search of his father. The second deals with the wanderings of Bloom, as the Odyssey deals with the wanderings of Ulysses. The third brings the characters together, like the Odyssey, namely Stephen and Bloom go to Bloom’s home where Molly is already in bed.
Episode 18. Penelope concludes the novel. It is Known as Molly’s monologue and it presents Molly awake in bed in the early hours, while her reveries flow free. It consists of 60 pages of uninterrupted prose which tries to reproduce the associative flux of pre-verbal thought and gives an extreme example of Joyce’s revolutionary experimentation.
Here the narrator disappears. There is lack of punctuation, syntax and vocabulary are exploited so as to reproduce the wanderings of the mind. The thoughts are free to move backwards and forwards in time to mix present, past and future. The absence of punctuation wants to underline her apparently chaotic flux of thoughts.
Joyce wants to convey the fragmentary condition of our culture and the loss of communicative capacity of our language.
The Mythical Method
The parallel with Homer’s Odyssey is aimed at suggesting the decline from the mythic, legendary and heroic to the human and mediocre. It is a method used to convey the decay of modern civilization in contrast with the mythical heroes of the past. The glorious past / the squalid present.