Essay on 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
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More humor consistently appears in this episode than any of the others in the novel. Some of it runs through at a flowing pace, such as the example above, and other types originate from Molly deliberately, such as when she discusses her visit to Dr. Collins on Pembroke road: "I said I hadnt are you sure O yes I said I am quite sure in a way that shut him up." (771) Joyce does not drown the episode in humor, but instead allows it to appear consistently (but stronger in some parts than others), which gives the soliloquy a wonderful light rambling quality.

On the flip side, Molly also has deeper thoughts than that of her pleasures and annoyances. The tremendous loss of her son affects her as much as it had affected and still affects Leopold. Her thoughts regarding this are the most poignant in her entire soliloquy:

I suppose I oughtnt to have buried him in that little woolly jacket I knitted crying as I was but give it to some poor child but I knew well Id never have another our 1st death too it was we were never the same since O Im not going to think myself into the glooms about that any more (778)

However, Molly never quite crosses the boundary outside of her "earthy zone." That is, Molly's thoughts cover mostly universal ground; the loss of a child is devastating to any parent . . . it is an extremely profound feeling.

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