James novels and what a novel could actually

James Joyce’s novel “Ulysses” is by many critics thoughts one of the
most influential if not the most influential novel of the 20th
century. He used a “stream-of-consciousness” style of writing with which he
enabled every reader to follow the character’s inner thoughts, Bloom’s actions
and desires, his needs and his inner state. He and his piece of work is
credited with “stepping outside of the box” and moving from outdated and
contemporary ideas concerning the roles of novels and what a novel could
actually do among its readers. His style of writing and his ideas show us that
he, more than his other contemporary writers, came to a conclusion that the way
in which an author writes his work, determines what the writer is capable of
writing about. He instead of being limited by them decided to use several
different writing styles in his work and try to master them. Although Ulysses
is best known for stream of consciousness, the style of novel is flexible, and
that allows the writer to change the form of writing according to the content
of his writing. He dared to “step out of the box” and take and ordinary man to
represent a heroic figure in his novel. He somehow managed to reveal to us, his
readers, that ordinary can be extraordinary. That is one of the reasons why
people should still read Ulysses and why people consider it to be a masterpiece
of his time.

        James Augustine Aloysius
Joyce, born in Dublin, was an Irish short story writer, novelist and poet. He
is considered to be one of the greatest and most influential authors of the

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20th century. With his novel Ulysses and usage of
stream-of-consciousness as a writing style, he became known; he became “famous”
in literary world. He came from a big family, and was the eldest of then
children. His father was a very talented singer, but had problems with alcohol
so he couldn’t always provide for his family. Nevertheless, because of his
intelligence, Joyce’s family pressed him to get an education and somehow
managed to get the needed money. Not only did he show extraordinary
intelligence, he also had a gift for writing and great passion for all literary
work which is seen through the fact that he, burning with desire to read Henrik
Ibsen’s works, taught himself Norwegian language. He published his first book
called Dubliners in 1914, and it consisted of 15 short stories. Later he wrote
another book, “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” after which Ezra Pound
praised his unusual style. In 1914, after Dubliners, he started writing a novel
which, he was not aware of at that time, but would make him worldwide famous,
and that novel is called Ulysses.

        In the Ulysses, the story
takes place on the date 16th June 1904, which is the same date he
met his future wife Nora. The novel recounts a story about three main
characters, Leopold Bloom, his wife Molly Bloom and Stephen Dedalus. Along with
that, this novel represents modern version of Homer’s Odyssey, with three
central characters that serve as a modern substitution of Ulysses, Penelope and
Telemachus.

        The revolutionary “stream
of consciousness” style Joyce used enabled every single reader not only to
follow Bloom’s actions, but to also be a part of his inner world. Even though
he did not invent it, he was brave enough to use it and make it modern. He
makes us become in a way intimately familiar with thoughts and states of his
character, no matter how scattered or partial they may be. The writer managed
not only to do this but to also move this journey from the sphere of external
experiences to the sphere of the inner ones, the sphere of the mind, and while
doing so he makes a hero out of a typical urban man.

        As said in previous
paragraphs, for that time in which Joyce lived, to take an ordinary man and
portray him as a hero in Aristotelian terms, took a lot of courage and
imagination to do. We are not talking about stereotypical “perfect” hero, but
rather about good but not so perfect person who we can all, in some way,
relate. It is undoubtedly one of the greatest novels of the 20th
century, and its greatness is shown with the fact that even today, a century
later, the novel is still read and discussed. Even though a century has already
passed, people who have read Ulysses can without a doubt still empathize with
Leopold Bloom.

        Moreover, not only did
Joyce succeed to almost break out of the “realm of realism”, by portraying an
ordinary man into a tragic hero, he managed to capture his city, Dublin, in a way
that every writer would feel envy of him and his piece of art. Taking him as an
example, many artists tried to recreate their own homelands, but only few of
them managed to do as nearly good job as Joyce did.

        While reading through
chapters of “Ulysses”, we come across parts where Joyce puts events from
everyday life, side by side to mythology and Greek poetry. He uses pub songs
and the ad slogans that pop up in different chapters in the novel. With those
pictures he shows his readers that their everyday lives pursue classic
patterns. He wanted to teach us that we don’t have to go to museums or theatres
to look for culture, culture can be found everywhere, even in mundane, plain
activities.