The Character of Molly Bloom in James Joyce's Ulysses

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The Character of Molly Bloom in Ulysses In James Joyce's Ulysses, the character of Molly Bloom appears significantly only twice in the entire span of the novel. She appears for the first time in the episode "Calypso," then we do not hear from her again until the very end, in her own words, in "Penelope." Yet in these two instances, Joyce paints a very affectionate, lighthearted and humorous portrait of Molly Bloom -- perhaps not a complete rendition, but a substantial one, with enough colors and lines to sketch the person adequately. Simply put, Molly (Marion) Bloom is an earthy woman. The "Penelope" episode provides a no-holds-barred, candid look into Molly Bloom's whirling mind. It is through this episode where Joyce gives us a startlingly frank look into her thoughts, which include rather coarse language as well as explicit references to sexual encounters. But Joyce presents them with humor, and never allows the material to grow heavy in terms of convoluted symbols and mechanisms. Instead, we witness Molly ponder various topics, and hence we begin to understand who she is. When Joyce introduces us to Molly in "Calypso," he almost immediately presents us with a rather amusing image of a nonchalant, perhaps even aimless -- and to a certain degree, lazy -- woman. Remaining in her bed, she urges Leopold to "Hurry up with that tea" (62) and, inquires about a certain word after "having wiped her fingertips smartly on the blanket." (64) Her careless attitude demonstrated here adds to the lightheartedness Joyce intends. Later on in "Penelope," we witness another example of the humor: I never thought that would be my name Bloom when I used to write it in print to see how it looked on a visiting card or practising... ... middle of paper ... ... 1904 at least, she spends an entire day, more or less, in bed. It is easy, though, to forget that this novel only represents the occurrences of one day, and this episode represents Molly's thoughts for a short period of time, before she drifts off to sleep. We don't get to see what she's like at a performance, or how others see her as a singer, and how good her voice really is. This entire portrait of her could be a one-dimensional view into a multi-dimensional person. Yet all this aside, Joyce ultimately provides us with humor in the character of Molly Bloom. For one day at least, we have the opportunity to look into her mind; it is not a mind weary with terribly complex theories or philosophies, but a mind brimful of more down-to-earth thoughts and ideas. Earthy Molly Bloom. Work Cited Joyce, James. Ulysses. Ed. H.W. Gabler. New York: Vintage, 1986.
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