Theme of Epiphany in James Joyce's Ulysses Essay

Theme of Epiphany in James Joyce's Ulysses Essay

Length: 1290 words (3.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Theme of Epiphany in Ulysses          

 
James Joyce's Ulysses is a novel of epic proportions that has been proclaimed the greatest piece of literature of the twentieth century. Ulysses takes place in Dublin, Ireland on June 16, 1904. The book is full of parallels, metaphors, and experimental literary techniques. However, a dominant theme is that of epiphany. Not necessarily religious in meaning, the Joycean idea of epiphany is a sudden discovery of the essential nature or meaning of something.

In Ulysses, Joyce describes the pursuits of two main protagonists, Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus, both individuals yearning for something more. As the day progresses the two characters unknowingly cross paths until, as a result of their day, they finally meet. In doing so, they find in each other humanistic ideals, in the form of individual epiphanies, that are needed to complete their yearnings. Joyce uses these epiphanies to represent his theme of the ability of a single day to act as a microcosm of the many facets of human society.

Stephen Dedalus is first introduced in a tower in Sandycove that he is renting and sharing with "friend" Buck Mulligan. While going about their morning routines it becomes evident that Stephen is upset, with Mulligan and the situation, and after a conversation filled with mockery and annoyance, Stephen vows not to return to the tower that night. Stephen, now homeless, takes to the street hoping to find solace in the city.

Stephen is recently back in Dublin from a self-exile in Paris. He has completed his bachelor degree and is very educated, especially in language and the humanities. However, as he has grown in learning and experience, he is still lacking essential characteristics ...


... middle of paper ...


...shows not just Stephen has grown that day.

By showing in full the transpiring of one single day and the effect it has on two distinct yet dynamic character, James Joyce has made Ulysses a book about the success of humanity. It is hard to believe that a novel that has had such a battle with censors due to its "obscenity" can portray society in a moral, positive manner. But in the less than 24 hours of action, almost 800 pages of language, can be found many things. One is the struggle of the family, shown through Stephen (son), Bloom (father), and Molly (mother). More importantly is the power of one day, with its events and epiphanies, and the fact that that day could be any day or every day.

Bibliography

Joyce, James. Ulysses. Modern Library Edition, 1934.

Tindall, William York. A Reader's Guide to James Joyce. Syracuse University Press Edition, 1959

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Theme of Motherhood in James Joyce's Ulysses

- James Joyce structured Ulysses to correspond with events in Homer's Odyssey. The relationship between two principle characters in Ulysses, Leopold Bloom as a sonless father and Stephen Dedalus as a fatherless son parallels the circumstances of Odysseus and Telemachus. This interpretation of the relationship between Bloom and Stephen, however, does not account for a significant theme of Ulysses, that of motherhood. Despite the idea that Bloom is a father looking for a son and that Stephen is a son looking for a father, the desires of both of these characters go beyond that of a father and son relationship....   [tags: Joyce Ulysses Essays]

Strong Essays
3579 words (10.2 pages)

Essay about Sensory Overload in James Joyce's Ulysses

- Sensory Overload in James Joyce's Ulysses     In writing about the experience of reading Ulysses, one critic has commented that "it's rather like wearing earphones plugged into someone's brain, and monitoring an endless tape-recording of the subject's impressions, reflections, questions, memories and fantasies, as they are triggered either by physical sensations or the association of ideas" (Lodge 47). Indeed, the aural sense plays a crucial role throughout much of the novel. But in the "Wandering Rocks" section especially, one experiences a sort of sensory overload as one is presented with nineteen vignettes of one hour in the life of Dublin's denizens which, while seemingly disparate, ar...   [tags: Joyce Ulysses Essays]

Strong Essays
1190 words (3.4 pages)

Essay about The Chapter of Circe in James Joyce's Ulysses

- The Chapter of Circe in James Joyce's Ulysses              Chapter Circe of Ulysses is said to be the "most confessional chapter of       the novel" (Schechner 100). In this way, the themes and underlying meaning       present throughout the chapter are more pertinent to the novel as a whole       than any other aspect of this particular section. Specifically, themes of       love, power, masochism, and consciousness watermark the literature       throughout the chapter....   [tags: Joyce Ulysses Essays]

Strong Essays
1433 words (4.1 pages)

Dubliners ' Dubliners By James Joyce Essay

- Corina Waters Dubliners “Dubliners” is a collection of fifteen short stories written by author James Joyce. These short stories reflect on his feelings associated with the city of Dublin, where he grew up in a large impoverished family. After he graduated from the University College in Dublin, Joyce went to live abroad in Paris. Joyce finished writing “Dubliners” in 1905, just a year after moving to Paris, though he had trouble getting the collection of short stories published so it wasn’t officially published until 1914....   [tags: Dubliners, Dublin, James Joyce, Ulysses]

Strong Essays
1617 words (4.6 pages)

How James Joyce Challenges His Readers in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake Essay examples

- How James Joyce Challenges His Readers in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake      In the history of written literature, it is difficult not to notice the authors who expand their reader's style and manner of reading. Some write in  an unusual syntax which forces the reader to utilize new methods of looking at a language; others employ lengthy allusions which oblige the reader to study the same works the author drew from in order to more fully comprehend the text. Some authors use ingenious and complicated plots which warrant several readings to be understood....   [tags: Joyce Ulysses Essays]

Strong Essays
2576 words (7.4 pages)

Ulysses Essay: William Blake’s Influence on Joyce’s Ulysses

- William Blake’s Influence on Joyce’s Ulysses        Stephen Dedalus is a poor schoolteacher.  Poor in the sense that he lives in a one-room tower and eats nothing all day, sure, but poor mainly in the sense that he is a rotten instructor. You, Cochrane, what city sent for him. Tarentum, sir. Very good.  Well. There was a battle, sir. Very good.  Where. The boy's blank face asked the blank window. [1]    He grills his students in much the same way his first teachers drilled him; stands before them inspiring fear and boredom.  He understands the schoolroom and its small miseries.  The form is tried and true: the catechism, call and response.  Cochrane replies automatically to Stephen's...   [tags: Joyce Ulysses Essays]

Strong Essays
1849 words (5.3 pages)

The Cybernetic Plot of Ulysses Essay

- The Cybernetic Plot of Ulysses A paper delivered at the CALIFORNIA JOYCE conference (6/30/93) To quote the opening of Norbert Wiener's address on Cybernetics to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in March of 1950, The word cybernetics has been taken from the Greek word kubernitiz (ky-ber-NEE-tis) meaning steersman. It has been invented because there is not in the literature any adequate term describing the general study of communication and the related study of control in both machines and in living beings....   [tags: Ulysses]

Free Essays
2941 words (8.4 pages)

Theme of Love in Joyce’s Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Ulysses

- Theme of Love in Joyce’s Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Ulysses   A central theme in James Joyce’s works is that of love: what is it, and how can we discuss it. Joyce could not bring himself to use the word ‘love;’ when Nora asked him if he loved her he could only say that he "was very fond of her, desired her, admired and honored her, and wished to secure her happiness in every way; and if these elements were what is called love then perhaps his affection for her was a kind of love" (Ellmann 6)....   [tags: Dubliners]

Strong Essays
2128 words (6.1 pages)

Literary and Character Analysis of Ulysses by James Joyce, Specifically Episode 18: Penelope

- ... Molly is far from perfect, which is precisely what makes her human. It could be said that Joyce asks that no judgement be made, for the reader has only been given a single days introduction into the life of Molly Bloom. I think a very important takeaway from "Penelope" is that a new approach should be made when considering the character of a person, specifically women. Joyce offers the notion that in order to love or even understand an individual, we must accept everything about that person, the good the bad and the ugly....   [tags: women, body, stream-of-consciousness]

Strong Essays
1175 words (3.4 pages)

The Novels of James Joyce Essay

- In comparison to many great and well-known authors and their renowned volumes of work, James Joyce wrote just three novels – A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. His collections of other work however, consisted of poetry, short story and series of epiphanies . Many individuals have analysed Joyce and written literary critiques and study-guides stemming from their interpretations of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, including Harvey Peter Suckmith – an Associate Professor of English at Dalhousie University, who has also focused on works such as Little Dorit by Charles Dickens and The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins ....   [tags: Literary Review ]

Strong Essays
879 words (2.5 pages)