Saturday, April 19, 2008

foreign language

ulysses is by no means an easy read. as we discussed from the start, joyce purposely writes in a way that forces the reader to delve into the words in order to extract meaning from the novel. while this can often be frustrating, i would have to admit that it is usually rewarding in the end. i certainly do not always understand joyce on the first read, but after i rake through the text a second time... i start to see how the themes fit together. i begin to appreciate the novel's intricacies, and i actually feel accomplished.

however, episode fourteen was a beast. i honestly felt as though i were reading a foreign language. to explain, i have studied a decent amount of spanish, but i am by no means fluent; if reading a spanish text or listening to a spanish speaker, i pick up words here and there in order to grasp the overall subject of what is being written/spoken. this is how i felt while reading episode fourteen. i would read a page, but i would only have a vague idea of what was actually being said and done in the novel.

i will say that it got easier towards the end of the episode as joyce began to use more modern english writing styles, but it was still not easy. in a way, i suppose the earlier english writing styles really are a foreign language. the words are so archaic that, in many cases, they have become obsolete. despite what we discussed in class, i still feel as though there is no good explanation for joyce choosing to write this episode in the way that he did... except that perhaps that was his point... that he doesn't need an explanation for writing the way he writes. anyway, not much actually happens in episode fourteen, and i think i was able to discern the little bit that did happen... so i suppose i can still forgive joyce and move on with the novel.

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