Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Molly the Pure

Upon the conclusion of the last episode, I have come to realize that my views of the characters in Ulysses have changed radically over the course of the novel. The point of view of a single character was not enough to fully define Stephen, Bloom, or even Molly.

Up until the last episode, Molly is characterized as an overtly promiscuous woman. Through the views of Bloom and the people he encounters over the course of the day, I thought of Molly as nothing more than a static character: an unfaithful wife.

We proceed through the novel with this viewpoint of Molly. Even Bloom, who lists her suitors in episode 17, doesn’t fully realize the Molly’s first act of infidelity was with Boylan. I did not apprehend Molly’s actions were a collective result of the aloofness of Bloom and lack of affection ever since the death of Rudy, but that she simply just exuded sex. I had already defined her as nothing more than an adulterer.

With this realization, I thought back to my preconceived notions of Bloom and Stephen. My views and how I characterized them were not based upon solely on their internal monologue, but more heavily based on how other characters in the novel viewed them. With Bloom in particular, we see conflicting characterizations as we are exposed to the novel’s protagonists.

The amalgamation of different viewpoints was necessary to understand each character. How I perceived Molly and how my definition of her was altered in the last episode was consistent with the change in my preconceptions and characterizations of the other main characters, and is what I should have expected from Joyce’s narrative.

1 comment:

Erik said...

Your insight into points of view definitely go along with parallax theme that we talked about in class. As a reader, getting only one character's point of view can never give us the full story due to their individual bias - the character sees what they want to see in a way that best fits their individual thoughts and ideas.