Ulysses: Parallel with Odyssey
The parallel with the Homeric poem is developed in more detail in each of the sections or chapters into which the book is divided. There are eighteen in all, each are corresponding to one of the episodes in the Odyssey, although not in
the same order: the way in which these parallels function can be illustrated by reference to certain episode.
For example, the first episode is called "Telemachus", and it echoes the theme of the first book of Odyssey , which describes the son of Ulysses forced to share his home with his mother's suitors, who maltreat him and deprive him
of his rights. Discontented and neglected , he seeks news of his father. In Joyce's Ulysses, Stephen is shown living in a tower on the Irish coast with companions who mock him and evict him from his home.
The second chapter is called "Nestor", after the wise king in the Odyssey who gives Telemachus much good advice; in Ulysses the counterpart of Nestor is Mr Deasy, the headmaster of the school where Stephen does some teaching. In the chapter called "Hades", Mr Bloom attends a friend's funeral at the Glasnevin cemetery and meditates on death. In the Homeric episode , Ulysses visits the underworld and speaks with the souls of the dead - just as Bloom meditates on the dead people he has known.
The point of the parallel between the two works is that it enables Joyce to give his book a symbolic and permanent structure at the same as it documents , with abundant details, the miscellaneous events and impressions of a single day
of life of his characters. Joyce is also suggesting, by means of this parallelism, that Bloom is a Modern Ulysses, an archetypal hero who can stand for humanity, for Everyman. The circumstances have changed , but the human
quest continues unchanged. Moreover, Joyce, in his use of the "stream of consciousness" technique
and, in particular, of the interior monologue, Joyce employed a variety of devices, such as lack of punctuation, puns, onomatopoeic words , etc.., and a variety of styles ranging from dialogue to interior monologues and unspoken
soliloquies. Developing and perfecting the technique already used by the 18th century novelist, Sterne, Joyce was able to penetrate into the consciousness of his characters and express their thoughts and feelings through a method of
which Molly's monologues provide a specimen.