Thursday, May 1, 2008

The art of imitation...

In Episode 18, Molly reveals that her daughter Milly is very similar to the way that she was when she was Milly’s age. The shared likeness of mother and daughter makes the death of Rudy even more apparent as Bloom has no son to emulate him and take after him. Even thought Bloom attempts to foster a relationship between himself and Stephen, Milly is firmly secured to Molly. While Molly expresses slight jealously at Milly writing her father long letters while she is away and not including her, Molly knows that Milly is her daughter in every sense of the word. Not only are there names almost the exact same, but Milly’s behavior mimics the actions of her mother.

There seems to be an underlying competition between Molly and Milly in the final episode of the novel. Molly thinks about the times when Milly was still in the house with her and Bloom and the comments she would make regarding her mother’s appearance. Milly would tell her mother, “your blouse is open too low she says to me the pan calling the kettle blackbottom” (767). Milly recognizes and comments on Molly’s blatant sexuality and yet, can’t help but imitate her mother’s behavior. Molly, too, feels the need to remark about her daughter’s appearance and burgeoning sexuality. She thinks to herself about Milly, “her tongue is a bit too long for my taste” (767). Molly seems to hold a complicated perspective towards Milly: she wants her to enjoy her experiences but at the same time, there is an underlying jealousy and competition between mother and daughter that occasionally surfaces and reveals itself.

Milly will no doubt follow her mother’s example and become, we can only assume, very much like Molly. Bloom is surrounded by Molly…even his daughter will become almost identical to his adulterous and sexual wife. We see that Molly will live on in Milly but where does this leave Bloom?