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Sexual Expression: Defining Joyce’s Characters

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Sexual Expression: Defining Joyce’s Characters James Joyce uses sexuality throughout his works to establish an intimate and relatable bond between the reader and the characters in his works. All of Joyce’s works address issues in sexuality, which presents the idea that sexuality was of upmost importance to him. Given that sex is a large part of human existence, it is a good way to get the attention of the reader. A substantial amount of characters throughout Ulysses and A Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man are driven by sexual desire. In fact, there is so much sex throughout in Ulysses that “early publishers and critics refused to publish it because of its vulgarity; the sexuality featured in Ulysses was part of the claims that the novel was obscene” (Ivie). Sex is a wonderful way to connect the reader to the character, and Joyce is talented in being able to bring the reader right into the sexually suggestive minds of the characters. Each character in all of Joyce’s works are defined by their sexuality and are in search of some type of self-identity, and through that idea is how Joyce best portrays that sexuality itself may be defined by adultery, prostitution, and masturbation and other bodily functions. There is a clear difference between procreative sex and having sex only for pleasure. “Hedonistic sex is an act driven by human desire and obtained through sexual power” (Ivie). As Joyce was well aware of the human need for sex in both ways stated, he used it to create a bond between the reader and the characters, in which he was extremely successful. Ulysses is centered on sexuality. Every central character can easily be connected to the term. Sex is essential to the human race in terms of procreating and also in terms of pe... ... middle of paper ... ...are both represented largely in sexuality. In a world where women are secondary to men, these two female characters have managed to assert their sexual identities. Gerty’s and Molly’s identities are largely defined by sexuality, but are not simply ruled by men’s or their own. They are in control of their strong and unique sexual identities and they take advantage of their sexual powers. This source is useful when writing about how Joyce doesn’t often follow the ways of society. These two women are in control of what they want and how they act, which wasn’t usual for women of that time. Sondergard stresses how the reader’s first impressions of the two women may be overlooked. This source goes into great detail about the two women and how their sexuality can be more closely looked at to realize that the two of them are extremely similar in how they relate to Bloom.
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