Ha'Penny Bridge: Photo taken May, 2011
To celebrate Bloomsday (June 16th), below is an excerpt from a chapter, which I contributed to the book entitled, Breaking the Mould: Literary Representation of Irish Catholicism in Literature:
James Joyce illustrates iconic realism by means of Victorian feminine perceptions throughout Molly Bloom’s soliloquy in the final chapter of his epic tale, Ulysses. Using stream of consciousness in a manner unparalleled at this novel’s publication, Joyce leads his audience to the entrance of the sphere of Molly’s mind, taking the reader to every crevice of her feminine consciousness. Joyce defies the social stigma of women during this era as he interweaves Molly Bloom’s expression of a unique feminine point of view.
Through Molly’s voice, he seeks answers to his own challenge with a feminine defiance of human weakness. The Ireland in which James Joyce lives is in the midst of revolution. As Joyce leaves his ancestral home, he allows his own genius to flourish. He sees the result of the male world’s design for women and seeks to illuminate the world with its significance. His personal associations with women frame the female portrait of Molly Bloom, as he places Molly in the midst of the Victorian era, with its focus on proper placement of gender roles, customs and even nations, carries the burden of living with this regimented philosophical point of view.
Joyce designs the person of Molly to reveal traits that originate from conventional Victorian male ideas of how a woman should act or think. Joyce writes Molly as one whose actions have a tendency to focus upon her sexual desires. Molly, like Ireland, is a contradiction of human spirit. On one hand, she is independent, wild, yet she depends on the ruler of her heart for identity. Nevertheless, Joyce uses outspoken behavior by Molly to reveal his personal hopeful desire for Ireland, one that seeks to declare independence from the established English Common law.
Jeanne I. Lakatos 2010