Ulysses book report - detailed analysis, book summary, literary elements, character analysis, James Joyce biography and everything necessary for active class participation.
The plot of Ulysses by James Joyce is set in Dublin, Ireland, revolves around three characters; a married couple Leopold and Molly Bloom and Stephen Dedalus, a young poet and professor. To many, Ulysses strongly resembles Joyce's Odysseus. In that case, Bloom would represent Ulysses/Odysseus, his wife would be represented by Penelope and Stephen would be Telemachus. Joyce once expressed a fascination with Odysseus but later on, all ties with Homer's work ceased.
The novel is divided into chapters which are assembled in three larger units. The plot begins in Martello tower with the description being somewhat unusual of a medical student. Stephen is angry with Deasy for insulting his late mother and invertedly blames him for her death. Stephen is portrayed as agnostic, especially when he refused to pray for her before her ultimate death.
The plot continues to evolve explaining Stephen's teaching days. He is a history professor and develops a friendship with the headmaster, Deasy who begs him to help Stephen with publishing an article about leg diseases. The third chapter is written, in what appears to be Stephen's consciousness and illustrates his deepest thoughts about Paris and philosophy.
The other part of the novel introduces us to Leopold Bloom and his wife Molly, their breakfast in bed and his daily ventures; going to the butcher and his detailed reading of a letter written to him by his daughter who recently gained employment with a photographer. He walks through Dublin, where he bought soap which he carries in his pocket the whole day, only stopping to read Martha's love letter.
Bloom continues walking through Dublin, attending Dignam's funeral and progressing to the Freeman's Journal office where he works. This chapter is written in the form of newspaper articles. During the day, he goes to the library where Stephen works and the two discuss Shakespeare. Later, Bloom goes to a restaurant, the pub and visits Mina Purefoy at the maternity ward. Midnight falls and Bloom is walking through the brothel quarter of Dublin where he catches a glimpse of himself and starts to consider himself as different people. He runs into Stephen, who is also quite alcohol-affected and reveals that he has just come from seeing his dead mother's body.
In the third part, Bloom is helping Stephen to sober up by taking him to his house and spending the next few hours talking. The last chapter is written by what appears to be Molly and a stream of consciousness thoughts, with the use of punctuation, making it difficult for the reader. The thoughts are around Bloom not being able to hold onto a job, his various affairs with the maids and her relationship with Blazes Boylan.
Other book reports
Genre: a modernist novel, fiction
Setting: a place around Dublin on a single day (June 16, 1904)
Point of view: unconfined
Tone: educative, sharing
Mood: hopeful, contemplative, reflective
Theme: the encounters and appointments of Leopold Bloom in the course of an ordinary day
Buck Mulligan went down the stairs carrying his shaving equipment. He was wearing his yellow robe. Buck greeted Stephen Dedalus who had a grumpy expression on his face. He went on, and Stephen kept on observing his movements. Then he asked him calmly how long Haines would be staying in the tower. Dedalus told him he will be leaving if Hains stays much longer, continuing to mumble words to the effect of killing a black panther.
Buck went up and gazed at the Dublin Bay. He admired the sea and told Stephen he has to teach him how to read the "Greeks" in their original written format. Then he looked at Stephen and said his aunt no longer wants anything to do with him, it's important to note that Buck has killed his own mother. He adds that it is his aunt who stated that she feels that he (Stephen) could have gotten down on his knees and prayed for his mother in her darkest days.
Buck, still shaving, told Stephen he needed a shirt and some pants and Stephen added that Buck can not wear pants if they are gray, upsetting and making Buck laugh at the same time because Stephen is now wearing black in mourning for his mother while it is Stephen who killed her. Buck finished shaving, all along trying to find out why Stephen was angry with him. Stephen said he held a grudge because of the manner in which Buck presented himself to Stephone's aunt, almost making his mother's death an everyday and careless experience.
Buck was distracted during this conversation, however, and when he gained concentration, it did not matter as Buck was used to dealing with death at the Mater Misericordiae and Richmond. Stephen said he didn't care about his late mother being insulted, but that he felt that Buck was insulting him with actions. Buck stated that he feels that Stephen is inconsistent and tried to get Stephen to think more positively.
Stephen watched the sea silently while the memories of his mother continue to haunt him. Her blood-red nails, a toffee apple (made especially for her), her tap-water filled cup. As if her glass eyes stared directly at his soul. Buck noticed this and snapped Stephen back to the living by inviting him to breakfast.
Haines was standing by the open doors while Buck was making eggs, Dedalus brought bread, butter, and honey. After sitting down Buck realized there was no milk and it made him angry, Haines responded that it will be here soon. While Buck was cutting the bread, Haines poured the tea and approached him about being too good, Buck meanwhile mocked Stephone's tone of voice.
As the milk arrived, they proceeded with their breakfast. Buck gave his last penny for the milk, asking Dedalus to use the milk so they could treat themselves that night. Dedalus and Buck were teasing each other, Haines was getting ready to go to the library. Haines expressed interest in Dedalus's conversation and he thought he could write a book about his stories. Dedalus only cared about the book if he could earn money, which angered Buck because he didn't know how to really take a joke.
The three were going down the tower when Haines asked Dedalus about Hamlet, however, Buck immediately protested against an answer, as he said that he is not drunk enough to listen to this. Buck proceeded to hop around and sing vulgar songs. The three of them were going swimming, Buck was the first to take off his clothes and jump in, Haines, on the other hand, was restless as he didn't want to go swimming immediately after breakfast. Before Stephen left, Buck asked him for some money and the keys, and they made plans for a later meeting.
Stephen was teaching a class and questioned his students, relating to text that they had previously read. During this time, his students reminded him that it was Thursday and that class is to be cut short due to hockey. After dismissing the class, most students hurried out of the door, except one student who wanted Stephen to look at his notebook, where uncompleted math assignments were written. Stephone sat next to him and solved an exercise while the boy was watching. Then the boy did one on his own and Stephen dismissed him to partake in the hockey game.
The kids were playing outside on the field and headmaster Deasey came to Stephen to give him his paycheck. Headmaster Deasey proudly showed him his system of dividing the paychecks. He had little money boxes and told Stephen to acquire one because putting the money in his pocket could turn out bad and he could lose it. Stephen said his box would mostly be empty and it made Deasey talk about how to carefully spend his money and manage to live off of his paycheck. He asked Stephen if he could honestly say he had no debts. Stephen quickly remembered all the people he owed for food, clothes, lunch, but responded by saying that he had nothing to say.
Headmaster Deasey asked Stephen to give him a few minutes to finish his article and he (Stephen ) would help him with the publishing. The article was about foot and mouth disease. The next time a contagion emerges they will stop importing meat from Ireland. That disease could only be cured in Austria, adding that he feels that England is in the hands of the Jews, which, he feels, is a sign of national disaster. Stephen told him that a salesman is the one who brings over the cheap meat and sells it for a higher price, that it has nothing to do with the Jews.
Stephen told him he knew the editor and that he will try to get his article published, and that he will let him know if he is successful in this. After leaving, Dedalus passed the children playing hockey and ran back saying that Ireland was the only land that never persecuted the Jews because they never let them get in. He laughed at his own words and went back to his office.
Stephen visited his uncle, Richie, Walter (Richie's son) opened the door and greeted Stephen. Richie instructed Walter to make him and Stephen schnapps and invite his mother to join them. Stephen thought it odd that Walter referred to his father as "sir", making Stephen question the household, their inhabitants and their relationships.
Richie and Stephen reminisce about the past, remembering how Stephen expressed an interest in becoming a "saint", his quick succession to wild adventures and attempts to write books whose titles would be titled by a signal letter. Then he also talked about his stay in Paris.
On his way home, Stephen walked down the shore. He thought about his cold bedroom, the endless amounts of kitchen plates that were waiting for him in the morning, and asked himself if anyone was ever going to wash them. Whilst sitting on a rock, a dog approached, leaving Stephen somewhat concerned that the dog might attack him, however, sought comfort given he had a stick handy. The dog's owner, a man and a woman, appeared, the sound of his owners calling him interrupted the dog and all three moved on.
Stephen was alone again, he took a piece of paper and wrote a few sentences. When he finished, Stephen observed the sunset. His eyes gazed at a thrown-away shoe. He observed the little wrinkles on the leather. He also observed the weeds being moved by the tide. His thoughts turned to reality, thinking whether or not he should visit the dentist as he has been paid, and his teeth are in a bad way.
Leopold Bloom was making breakfast and at the same time thinking about his favorite dish; chicken offal and thought about how much he also loved sheep's kidneys. While he was waiting for his tea to boil, his cat was walking around him looking for attention and food, to which he responded by giving her a bowl of milk.
He walked down the hall and asked his wife if she wanted breakfast but she only mumbled "no" and turned over, continuing to sleep. Bloom took his hat from the hanger, snuck out quietly because he didn't want to disturb her. It was a beautiful day, Bloom walked around Dublin, passing by the pub and the school.
Bloom stopped in front of a butcher's shop window and observed sausages and kidneys which still had blood dripping out of them. A girl who lived next door entered the butcher shop, and he observed her worn-out hands and strong hips. Bloom waited to see what she was getting and when she finished he started to follow her, but quickly gave up.
After coming home, he found two letters and a postcard on the front porch. One of the letters was for Marion. He came to her in the room and brought it to her. Marion only looked at it and shoved it under her pillow. She asked Bloom to make some tea. He let some light into the room, picked her clothes up from the floor and placed them on the bed.
Bloom placed some butter on the pan and a kidney on top. While making the tea he opened up the second letter. Bloom brought bread and butter and a serving of tea to Marion. She asked him to pick up the book which was on the floor because she was interested in the word metempsychosis. Bloom explained that the ancient Greeks used that word to express the belief that a human being can turn into an animal or a tree. Marion smelt something burning, it in fact was the kidney that Bloom left in the pan. He ran down the stairs, and managed to save the kidney which was only slightly burned. Bloom gave the burned part to the cat and ate the rest. His daughter Molly had sent him a letter. She turned 15 and thanked him for the gift he sent her. He was a bit worried because he knew his daughter was mischievous.
He took the newspaper to the bathroom. Bloom thought about building an arbor and plants in the garden. He also thought about planting a garden, but he needed fertilizer to do that because the soil was very bad.
Bloom went to a funeral. He stopped at the Belfast and Oriental Tea Company and read the titles of the tea boxes. He took off his hat, ran his hand through his hair. He took the ticket he had guarded in the leather strap of his hat and placed it in his pocket. He again started at the window-shop and thought about the Far East and how it must be a beautiful place.
Bloom was at the post office, he slipped down a postcard and asked if there was any mail for him when he noticed the poster inviting men to join the army. There were soldiers of all sorts shown on the poster. They looked a bit dull and hypnotized. He placed the postcard and the letter the woman gave him in his pocket.
After exiting he ran into M'Coy and hoped to get rid of him soon. He explained he was attending Dignam's funeral. While M'Coy talked about hearing about Dignam's death Bloom noticed a beautiful girl waiting for a carriage, she was in the company of another man. He asked where she was going and thought she was going to Broadstone. The man who chaperoned her noticed Bloom was gazing at her and became confused by Bloom's interest in the young lady.
M'Coy asked Bloom about Marion, with Bloom adding that she will be singing at the ceremony in Belfast, further explaining that it was something like a tour, they even had a committee. M'Coy asked him to sign the book of condolences just in case he does not attend. He has every intention of attending, but if he does not, he wants his name signed. They parted ways, and Bloom went by the coachman's horses eating and thinking what a great life they lead as they had no idea what was going on and didn't have a single care in the world.
Bloom found a quiet spot to read the letter he got at the post office. It was a love letter from Martha. She wanted to know when the two of them would meet and what kind of perfume his wife used. He read another letter and then tore it apart.
When he reached the church, he went up the stairs and sat in the back. He observed how people were taking the Sacramental bread and it was strange to him how they believed they were taking a part of a dead body.
When it was done, he went to the pharmacy to have a pre-funeral lotion made. He forgot the recipe, but he knew it was no big deal because the pharmacist will find it in his book of recipes. He took some soap and decided to pick up the rest later. He went to the Turkish Baths.
Bloom Settled in a carriage alongside Dedalus, Mr. Power and Mr. Cunningham. Bloom thought about the process a human body goes through in preparation for the funeral. People have to wash their hair and whole body, which isn't a pleasant job to do. The funeral procession leads through Irishtown, as they pass the passengers would take off their hats while they were passing by.
Bloom saw Daedalus's son. Dedalus asked whether the good-for-nothing Mulligan was with him. He thought he was at Aunt Sally's. Dedalus reproached Mulligan for being bad company for his son and how he was planning on writing a letter to his aunt to make her see who her nephew really was. Dedalus had no intention of letting him mess up his son.
Bloom's son had passed away many years before, had he lived, he would now be eleven years old. Bloom pictured him following Molly around the house. He would have taught him all about life, helped him get independent, and learn German. He only had Milly now, she was a good daughter but she was already studying and soon she will become a woman.
The carriage stopped and Bloom spent some time reading the obituaries in the newspaper. He remembered the letter and then reminded himself he tore it apart and that he placed the one he had read in his pocket. They passed the theater and Bloom thought it would be a good idea to see a play later that evening.
Mr. Power asked him about the tour. Bloom said it was a great idea because they will only be visiting the capital cities but he added he won't be going alone.
After retelling an anecdote about an acquaintance, they decided to calm down a bit to pay their respects to the deceased. Powers stated he saw him last week and how he never thought he would be driving like that behind him. A small coffin passed them. A child was being buried. They thought it was sad to bury a child because the poor thing didn't even live long enough to experience life. Power added that the worse thing possible is suicide because the person who kills himself embarrasses their family. Cunningham interrupted him saying they should have some pity for people like that because suicide was a momentary blackout of the mind.
When the carriage stopped again, it stopped due to livestock, as ironic as it is, today was slaughter day. Bloom said it would be best if the city administration made a railway from the park to the shore so that all of the cattle could be carried to the ships. He also said it would be great to have small funeral wagons.
After exiting the carriage, they joined the others. Mr. Bloom noticed it was a poor funeral; a hearse and three carriages. Cunningham quietly told Power it was embarrassing to talk about suicide in front of Bloom since his father poisoned himself.
In the meantime, Bloom found out that the deceased left 5 children behind. He expressed his condolences to the widow, entered the chapel and later on came the altar servers and the priest. When the priest concluded the service, the people took out the coffin. After the funeral, everyone went their separate ways.
Near Nelson's Column, the tram was slowly passing by. The supervisor shouted their arrivals and departures. Shoe cleaners worked in front of the main post office. In North Princes Street there was the carriage that took the bags of letters and postcards intended to go abroad.
The drivers were assembling empty barrels. Bloom asked Red Murray to cut out an ad in the newspaper. He said he would pass by the printing office and Murray told him he could make a note if he needed one.
Red Murray drew Bloom's attention to a certain man who was passing by the newspaper stand. Simon Dedalus commented his brain was probably settled in the back of his head because he had a fat neck. A young boy ran past them quickly and threw an envelope on the table.
Bloom tried explaining to Nannetti that Alexander Keyes wanted two keys crossed on top with a circle then the name Alexander Keyes, tea, wine, and liquor trader. They all agreed.
Bloom while exiting watched the man carefully making a line and admired his speed. He went back to the office to call the editor because he didn't want to drive all the way to his house only to find out he left. When he left, Bloom bumped into Lenehan and he announced that he had to go out for a short amount of time.
Dedalus came to the office, carrying Deasey's article. The professor wasn't very pleased with the text. He asked Stephen to write something because an article about the disease would make people numb and they needed something sharp-minded. They discussed great speakers for a while. Professor stated John F. Taylor's speech and when he finished, Stephen suggested they go to a bar. Everyone agreed, and while they were walking, the professor told Stephen he would find a place for his article.
Bloom caught up with them, he wanted to make a deal about an ad with Myles Crawford, but he wasn't interested. Noticing everyone was going to give drinks, he wondered whether the idea of this sudden drink was in fact Dedalus's idea.
Bloom walked down O'Connell Bridge. He noticed Dedalus's daughter, dressed in rags and looking starved. Her mother died and left behind 15 children. He started gazing at the seagulls. Bloom threw a paper ball amongst them, but they didn't move. He walked past a girl selling apples, he bought two cakes and crumbled them into the river. The seagulls immediately went to eat them.
While he was walking down the street, Bloom passed a bicycle shop. He remembered a picnic he went to with Molly. She wore a perfect dress, but she hated it that day because she hurt her leg. Milly was a little girl then, and they even gave her a bath that day. Now Milly was big and she was into photography. He remembered how happy they were back then.
Bloom encountered Mrs. Breen, and she asked about Molly. He stated Molly was great, Milly had a job as a photographer. Mrs. Breen said that all her children work at the bakery. She complained about her husband and then she spotted him and started walking after him.
Bloom observed them for a while and thought she must have had it hard with him. He stopped at a crossroads and contemplated having lunch. He had to find an ad in the library, so he decided to go to Burton's because it was on his way. He thought about being happier before and he wasn't sure if he was happy then. He was 28, Molly was 23 and after Rudy's death, everything changed. One can't bring the time back, and he wasn't sure if he would start it all over.
He opened the door of Burton's restaurant, and the smell of fresh meat and cooked vegetables hit him. There were only men, eating and drinking. He thought to himself, 'am I like them'? Feeling the smell of beer and urine he knew he couldn't stay there because he didn't like it. Bloom decided to eat something light at Davy Byrne's.
He ordered a cheese sandwich, salad, and some wine. The sandwich was bad, the cheese wasn't tasteful but the wine made it better. After his meal, he went to the library, on the way, he ran into a blind man trying to cross the road and offered to help. The young man accepted. Bloom tried picturing spending his life in darkness. Their whole life was a dream of some sort and they had heightened senses. They could feel the smell of each road, of spring and summer. Despite this, it was an awful thought for him as the young gentleman was really young.
Stephen was discussing Hamlet with John Eglinton and Russel. Russel started the conversation by stating that art should uncover new ideas and that the most important question was from which depth of life one work emerged. Shelly's and Hamlet's ideas bring us up to speed with Platon's theories. Mr. Best entered the room to tell them Haines left. He loved Hyde's love poems from Connacht and he went to buy them.
Stephen wondered what was the spirit which appeared in Hamlet and who was king Hamlet. He then started narrating about Shakespeare who studied Hamlet his whole life in order to play the role of the king's ghost. In the meantime, he talked to his son Hamlet and the body of his son.
Russel was completely against that kind of interpretation because he thought that such an analysis of the author's life was needless. He talked about King Lear who was immortal. John Eglinton added that the world believes Shakespeare made a mistake but Stephen said angrily that a man as smart as Shakespeare didn't make mistakes. Adding that Shakespeare's confusion was planned and served as space for new acknowledgments.
Best kept on affirming that Hamlet was the statement of something personal, almost intimate as a diary. The discussion was interrupted by Buck Mulligan who faked not knowing anything about Shakespeare. Stephen sent Buck a note earlier because he had some inspiration to write how sentimental a person really is without taking the credit for it.
Bloom came to the library to check out Kilkenny People last year. The discussion about Hamlet proceeded. Stephen kept on discussing his wife Ann who was a shrew but that she never broke her wedding vows. According to Stephen, family members were included in the plays and they inspired certain characters or whole scenes and events while Shakespeare included his name in his sonnets.
He thought Shakespeare was amazed by neither men nor women. Shakespeare went back to the town where he was born and where he was as a boy and a grown man.
When Stephen started his opinions about Shakespeare Buck and Dedalus stood up and walked out
Priest John Comney went for a walk to Artane, Mr. David Sheehy (who works in parliament) approached him, they exchanged a few nice words and then they went their separate ways. On the corner of Mountjoy Square, he saw three elementary school boys, asked them how they were doing and sent one to put a letter in the mailbox.
He went around the corner into the North Circular Road. A group of boys crossed the road. Then he walked by Saint Joseph Church where he sensed a strong incense smell. He went down the road where he found Mr. Gallagher sitting in front of his shop which smelled like bacon and butter.
Around the Newcomen bridge, he got on a tram to the city because he didn't like the dirt road leading to it. He went down on Howth Road. The priest passed someone's field filled with cabbage. Father Comney was reading his magazine and gazing at the clouds. A young man and woman snuck through the fence, the priest gave his blessing and continued reading.
Corny Kelleher closed his business book and observed the lid of the coffin he kept in the corner. He observed the shape and decoration, placing the lid back in its place. Cop 57 C stopped at Kelleher to make the time pass faster. He told him quietly that last night he saw that person (referring to the deceased).
Father John Conmee entered a tram at the Newcomen bridge and went to Dollymount.
The one-legged sailor was limping while walking with crutches, he was walking down Eccles Street when a lady who was passing by, stopped and gave him some money. He would stop at every window and mumble. On the last window, the blinds moved, and the girl threw the money across the fence. The coins fell onto the ground, and two boys came running to pick them up and put them in the hat the man was carrying in his hand.
Katey and Boody Dedalus walked into the steam-filled kitchen. Maggy was shoving something with her wooden spoon. Boody asked whether she pawned the books. Katey took them to M'Guinness, but she didn't want to give her any money in return. Boody was very angry and hungry. She asked Maggy if they had any food while Maggy was washing the clothes in the pot. She had some pea soup, so she gave it to her.
Blazes Boylan was in Thorton's shop. A young, blonde girl was placing a bottle and some fruit in a basket as if she was decorating it. Boylan was walking up and down the shop smelling the fruit. He asked the girl to send him the basket and she gave him a piece of paper and a pen to write down his address. While she was counting the fruit and preparing his bill Boylan observed her blouse.
Ned Lambert was trying to explain to Jack that they were in the historic council chamber of Saint Mary's Abbey where Silken Thomas declared himself a rebel in 1534. It is one of the most monumental sights in Dublin. The old Irish bank used to be there and the first Jewish temple until the synagogue was built on Adelaide Road.
He chaperoned his guest to the exit and told him to stop by whenever he was able to. A minute later he remembered that he forgot to tell him about Kildare setting the cathedral in Cashel on fire. After doing that he said he was sorry for his actions but that he thought the archbishop was in there.
Mr. Bloom was reading "The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk" and then he observed Aristotle's work. He put down the books and took a third one named "Tales of the Ghetto", he had read this one already. He found a new title and after realizing he already brought her that one he thought she wouldn't like it. The last book he took was "Sweets of Sin" and he decided to take that one.
Dilly Dedalus was wandering down the pavement and she heard an auctioneer selling something. Mr. Dedalus appeared and told his daughter to stand up straight because she didn't want to end up with her head between her shoulders as he did. First, he didn't want to admit borrowing some money but she saw right through his lies. She asked for some and he got angry when she asked for more saying he will get rid of all of them.
Mr. Dedalus encountered father Cowley in front of an antique shop. Father Cowley told him he was scared because two men were sneaking around the house trying to get in. He was waiting for Ben Dollard who promised to help him and talk to Long John who could help him escape the two men for a little while. Ben came and Daedalus made fun of his oversized suit. Ben stood by them laughing with them at his own clothes.
Haines and Buck Mulligan were in a bar right on the opposite side of a man who carefully observed a chessboard, both of them had the same order. Buck commented that Haines missed Dedalus's lecture about Hamlet. Haines was sure Dedalus had some special theory because people like him always did. Buck told Haines that Dedalus will probably write something about their movement in ten years and then their attention was caught by a steamed bun.
Miss Douce and Kennedy were sitting in a bar, waiting for their tea. They observed people and carriages through the window and then started talking about Bloom and his weird eye. Both of them would burst into laughter every time one of them said something about Mr. Bloom.
Mr. Dedalus came to the bar. He asked Miss Douce about her vacation and she pointed out her tan which was the result of days spent at the beach.
In the meantime, Bloom passed the Essex Bridge. He was thinking about the letter he had to write to Marta.
Lenehan joined the crew in the bar, and after unsuccessfully trying to court the ladies, he turned to Dedalus to let him know he was drinking with his son Stephen that day. Boylan entered the bar and greeted Kennedy with the touch of his hat, and she gave him a smile.
Blazin Boylan finished his drink, paid and went out, Lenehan followed him. On their way out they encountered Ben Collard who was convincing father Cowley not to worry because Alf Bergan will have a word with John. They sat at Mr. Dedalus's table. The crew was commenting on Bloom and his wife who used to play the piano in a coffee shop when someone added she also did other work. Dedalus confirmed she used to take clothes.
Cowley sat behind the piano and sang. They managed to convince Dedalus to do the same thing and then Father Cowley joined him on stage saying he would play. When he finished, everyone clapped their hands. Father Cowley continued playing while Bloom was listening to Richie Goulding retelling how he listened to Dedalus singing once. Ben Dollard was talking to Simon Dedalus who only nodded his head and smoked his cigarette.
Bloom wrote his letter to Martha. The post office was closed, but he still needed the stamp. Bloom called the waiter. While he was waiting he observed Douce bending over the bar to show the shell she got from her vacation, and she gave it to the lawyer George Lidwell so he could hear it.
Ben Dollar was sitting behind the piano. Bloom was still trying to get the waiter to notice him. While he was going out, he heard people applauding Ben and he was glad he had missed it.
Joe Hynes was on the corner of Arbor Hill when a chimney man came and almost dug his eye out with his broom. He turned around and spotted Joe. The narrator told him how Troy from the police gave him information about a pretty capable thief who lived on the corner of Chicken Lane. He was trying to find him for days.
Joe suggested they visit Barney Kiernan, first, they were welcomed by Barney's dog and then Barney. They ordered some wine and Joe paid with a golden coin which surprised the narrator. He asked them if he had robbed the box for alms.
Denis Breen entered the bar carrying two large books. His wife was behind him. Joe explained he had been walking all around Dublin with a letter someone sent him and that he was writing a suit for violation of honor and was asking for 10 000 pounds compensation.
Alf Bergan joined them and ordered a beer. He took out of his pocket a bunch of letters and envelopes. Bod Doran asked them whom they were laughing at and the narrator, in order not to talk to him because he knew how strange Bob got when he had a few drinks, asked Alf about Willy Murray.
Alf had just seen Willy in Capel Street with Paddy Dignam. Joe told them Paddy was dead and buried that morning. Barney Kiernan gazed out the window and saw Bloom keeping guard for ten minutes. The news about Dignam's death was hard for Bob, and he started to cry telling them what an honorable man Dignam was. Bloom entered the bar asking Terry if Martin Cunningham had been there. Joe asked him what he will be drinking and then a short feud emerged because Bloom declined the drink because he had no time but the others insisted so, in the end, he caved into smoking a cigarette with them.
They started talking about the death sentence. Alf said that the male genitalia stays in the state of erection after a man is hung. Bloom tried to scientifically explain it. One scientist had proven that the sudden fracture of the neck and spine provoked a stimulus in the center of the nerves of the genitalia.
After that Barney started talking about the Irish language and the men who worked in high positions but didn't know how to speak Irish properly. Bloom joined the conversation and talked about the Celtic league. They ordered another round, with Bloom again declining a drink. He explained he had to meet Martin Cunningham because of Dignam's insurance. Dignam didn't tell his friends about the mortgage he had.
The conversation proceeded with Irish sports and games, the national spirit and the rebirth of the nation. Bloom again held a speech about physical labor being hard for people with hearing problems, and his long elaboration of the theme made the narrator moody. Then they started talking about the tour Bloom's wife was on.
J.J. and Ned entered the bar and joined them. Alf asked them if they stumbled across Breen and they did. He was searching for a private detective. Corny Kelleher convinced him not to go to court immediately but to have the letter analyzed first. Bloom admitted he deserved to complain, at least about his wife.
Bloom took the opportunity to talk to Joe about the ad. He emphasized the importance of the keys and Joe promised it would be done. Bloom got lost for a minute and the rest of them kept on drinking.
Three friends were sitting alongside Sandymount. They were enjoying the summer evening on the rocks. The three of them would often meet there to enjoy and talk. There were Cissy Caffrey, Edy Boardman and two four-year-old twins Tommy and Jacky Caffrey. The twins would get loud and a bit spoiled, but most of the time they were well behaved.
They were playing with a ball and digging up the sand when they got into a fight. The problem was the sandcastle built by Jacky. Tommy wanted to add a front door to it, similar to the ones on tower Martello. Both of them were stubborn which ended up with the castle being ruined and the two of them in tears. Their sister called Tommy and reproached Jacky for shoving his brother into the filthy sand. The twins obeyed their sister religiously.
Their third friend Gerty MacDowell gazed into the distance, and she emerged into her own thoughts. Everyone considered her beautiful, and she was born with a sort of a royal posture. Gerty was thinking about Wylie. He was on her mind 24/7. She would always dress nicely just in case she saw him. He wasn't passing by her window on his bike anymore because his father made him sit in the house and study all day to get a scholarship to go to Trinity and become a doctor. She was dreaming about love and marriage but knew it was impossible. Gerty would have been the ideal woman for him, and she thought about making sure he always felt comfortable in their house.
Cissy was the complete opposite of her friend Gerty. She didn't mind using inappropriate words and every time she did it Gerty would blush because she didn't think words like that should be heard out of a lady's mouth. Cissy was also the kind of girl who would always make everyone laugh, she loved getting mischief but she was also a very honest, sincere person.
The boys played nicely for a few minutes, and then Jacky's stubbornness emerged, and he hit the ball so hard it hit a man. Cissy asked the man politely to throw back the ball because the twins started crying. The man threw the ball right at Gerty's feet and she wasn't pleased about it. She tries to kick it back but misses, which causes Cissy and Edy to laugh.
The twins started arguing again, and Jacky kicked the ball to the sea and both of them started running after it. Cissy and Edy jumped up yelling because they were scared the twins would drown. Cissy came running after them and thinking about the last time she took them for a walk. They went home after because it was getting late.
After getting ready to leave they saw the fireworks from the fair. Edy ran with little Boardman, Cissy held the twins' hands so they would trip while running and Gerty had no intention of running after them. She stayed in their spot and saw the fireworks from there.
As Gerty was left alone she made eye contact with the man in black. She watched the fireworks and intentionally pulled up a little bit revealing her halter, garters and panties. She knew he was watching and enjoying it, the man in question was Leopold Bloom. The fireworks were done and Cissy called for her. Gerty took out a white handkerchief and waved goodbye.
Bloom observed Gerty while she was leaving. He thought he was limping and he was glad to not have spotted it before she pulled up her skirt, even though it wouldn't make much difference. Bloom started liking younger girls. He even thought about leaving her a note so she would come back the next day but in the end, he gave up on that idea. It was around nine and Bloom headed home.
Horne had a house in which women gave birth, the house had 70 beds and approximately 300 women would walk through his home. The nurse who was on-call that night waited for a man wearing black in the lobby of the hospital. He was asking questions about O'Hare and she sadly said the doctor had passed away when he heard the news, sadness filled his heart. The nurse told him the doctor died on Mona Island around Christmas three years ago due to stomach cancer.
Then he walked to another nurse and asked about a woman who was giving birth for three days. She was in terrible pain and the nurse said she could deliver the baby soon but that she wasn't sure how it would all turn out in the end because she had never seen such a difficult situation for a woman.
While Leopold was talking to the nurse, the doors of the castle opened and they heard the noise coming from inside. There were people sitting around the table. Dixon approached them and invited them in to celebrate and have a good time with them. Leopold declined, but Dixon wouldn't take no for an answer so Leopold had to join them and take a break in the castle.
The nurse was begging them to stop drinking so much because the woman in the room above was going through terrible pain. Sir Leopold was sitting at the end of the table and he observed Lenehan. While others were drinking Leopold was thinking about the pain the woman was going through. Only educated people were around the table; Dixon with his friends Lynch and Madden, Lenahan, young Stephen and Costello, who was the drunkest and Sir Leopold next to him. They were waiting for young Malachi because he promised to come, but it seems like he will break his word.
Sir Leopold was listening to their conversation and opinions about giving birth and justice. Some of them were joking and laughing, but Sir Leopold was still serious because he remembered Marion giving birth to a child who died eleven days later. He was sad because he didn't have a son who would be his heir and he was sad about young Stephen hanging out with those lowlifes and living an unbridled life.
Stephen poured everyone a drink and Costello sang Staboo Stebella. Soon a nurse came to reproach them and she ordered them to keep it down. The nurse wanted to make sure everything was in order for Lord Andrew's arrival and she didn't want anything disturbing the peace while she was on-call.
Frank started talking about the cows from Kerry which needed to be slaughtered because they got the plague. Bloom said he saw the cows being boarded on ships, so he didn't believe the situation was so bad. He had experience with the matter because he used to be Joseph Cuffe's notary and he was trading cattle. Just when they were finishing their conversation, Malachi Mulligan came with Alec Bannon who came to town a while back because he wanted to join the army. They joined the others around the table.
Mulligan gave them his card which he had made a few days before. He was planning on offering his body to women stuck in a marriage with irresponsible men. Mulligan was going to rent an estate on Lambay Island and build a national fertilizing farm named Omphalos. He won't ask for money and women of all social standards will be welcome as long as their character and appearance are acceptable. The others loved the idea and Dixon asked him if he was also planning on throwing sand around the desert.
Francis and Stephen remembered the times they went to school together. He asked Stephen about some friends they had in common, but he knew nothing about them. Later they decided to go to Burke, Stephen went first, and everyone else followed. The doctor was walking down the stairs, saying that the birth was over. They ended up at Burke's and kept on drinking.
On Mabbot street, there was an ice cream truck surrounded by people. A deaf-mute man came, and the children trapped him. Soon they released him and he went on his way.
Cissy Caffrey was singing in an alley, Stephen Dedalus and Lynch came. Stephen was singing joyfully while Lynch had a serious face on. A pimp was standing on the side trying to get them to follow her by saying she only had virgins but Stephen walked past her singing which made her very angry.
Stephen was explaining to Lynch that movement instead of music or smell could be the universal language. He gave him his stick so that he could demonstrate bread and a pitcher of wine. Stephen and Lynch kept on walking while Tommy Caffrey was climbing up a street light. Jacky joined him.
Bloom appeared under the bridge and he went to Olhausen's butcher shop. When he went out two bicyclists drove past him, almost running him over. Bloom ended up on the ground with mud on his face. His father Rudolph appeared and reproached about the money he had spent that day. He told him he will never save any money if he keeps on hanging out with drunks.
Marion came and demanded to be called Mrs. Marion and not Molly. Bloom was breathing deeply, excited because he had a lot to say, and he apologized to her. He promised to go the next morning to the pharmacy and buy her the orange lotion because the shops and everything else closed earlier on Thursdays.
Gerty accused Bloom that everything she had was his and that she hated him for it. Bloom faked and pretended that he never saw her. Mrs. Breen encountered him while he was talking to a pimp and she judged him about being in that neighborhood and threatened to tell everything to Molly. Bloom reminds her of the days they used to hang out as kids, he took her palm and slowly she caved in. Bloom never forgave her for marrying her husband and leaving him because she was his everything.
Bloom kept ongoing, but he was stopped on stage. Martha accused him of breaking his promise about marriage, and she said she wanted to clear her name. Bloom accused her of being too drunk to know what she was saying. The next witness was invited to the stage, Mary Driscoll. She stated she was honest but that she had to leave her job because of his behavior. She said that he waited for her once and grabbed her so hard that her body was bruised and that he placed his hand under her skirt twice.
Bloom stated in front of the court that he wasn't guilty. Despite being described as a bad man he decided to get better, forget his past and start a new peaceful, quiet family life filled with love. J.J O'Molloy was representing Bloom and he was trying to defend him the best he could.
Mrs. Yelverton Berry demanded the court to lock him up because he had sent her an anonymous letter while her husband was away and he signed it with the name James Lovebirch. He suggested in the letter that the two of them should commit adultery on the coming Thursday. Mrs. Bellingham also accused him of sending her letters of the sort. Mrs. Mervyn Talboys said he had sent her an obscene photograph and asked her to punish and whip him.
The judge accused him of being a forger, pimp and bigamist. They stated they were trying to free Dublin of white people trafficking and Bloom was ordered to be imprisoned and hung. Paddy Dignam's ghost appeared, and everything disappeared. Bloom was making his way through the ditch.
He came to Zoe Higgins, a young prostitute, and he asked her about Mrs. Smack. Mrs. Cohen lived there and Mrs. Mack lived on 81. Bloom spent a few minutes flirting with Zoe and then he found himself in a city councilor's clothes. He was exposing his program to the constituency. Everyone was clapping, and they wanted to build him a monument.
Bloom was now the president of the Court of Consciousness and he was handing out judicial and medical advice without charging for them, he was solving riddles and other problems. Bloom stated he was pro-reform in civil morals and new ten commands. He also wanted everyone, including Muslims, Jews, and Atheists to unite. Bloom wanted luxury hearse and physical labor for everyone.
Blazing Boylan came and called for Bloom because he wanted to know if Mrs. Bloom was dressed. Bloom was dressed in a velvet suit and short pants, had light-brown socks and a powdered wig on his head. Boylan threw some money to Bloom and told him to drink something because he had a job to do with his wife. Marion waited for him naked, and Boylan told Bloom he could watch through the keyhole and have fun with himself. Bloom thanked him and asked if he could invite his two friends to join.
Stephen's mother emerged from the floor. Her body was skinny and her face was green and worn out. Her eye sockets were empty. Buck Mulligan was standing on top of the tower looking at her. Stephen was terrified and talked to his mother, suffocating himself in fear and chills. He told her everyone kept saying he had killed her but he knew it was actually cancer.
His mother asked him to repent for his sins. Her face came closer to him and she told him to watch out for God's hand. Stephen got furious and he broke the candlestick with his walking stick.
Bloom found Stephen sleeping drunk on the street. He convinced the cops not to take him away because his father was a prestigious citizen. His stick, money and hat were with him and Bloom had promised to take care of him. Bloom tried to wake him up. He unbuttoned his shirt so that he could breathe easily, at least Stephen wasn't hurt. Bloom kept guard and he felt very sorry for Stephen.
Mrs. Bloom cleaned Stephen's suit and gave him his hat and stick when he came to his senses. Stephen wanted to drink something but it was late and there wasn't anything in sight. Bloom remembered there was a coachman's tavern nearby, next to the bridge, and that they could find something to drink there.
Neither one of them was capable of walking but they had no other choice. Bloom was completely sober so he warned his drunk friend about the dangers lurking in those neighborhoods. He was very angry with Stephen's friends who just left him drunk on the street.
They crossed underneath the Loop Line bridge. Stephen saw a guard standing in the dark guard's house but when he saw that the guard was his father's friend Gumley he came closer to the poles of the bridge. Underneath the arches appeared someone to greet them. Bloom kept his distance but he wasn't scared despite knowing that it was highly likely someone will attack them with a gun. It was John Corley, he invited Stephen to talk to him alone and he complained about not having enough money to pay for a room.
He asked Stephen for advice on finding a job. Stephen knew no one would believe Corley's story because it was the 16th which was paycheck day but he felt sorry for him. He thought about giving him some money for food but when he reached into his pocket there was no money. He couldn't remember if he lost or spent the money. He found some change in his other pocket and gave it to Corley.
Stephen soon joined Bloom who was shocked to hear Stephen gave Corley money. He asked him where he would be sleeping that night and why he had abandoned his father's home. Corley answered that he was looking for misfortune. Bloom warned him about his friend doctor Mulligan who only thought about himself and didn't know what it was like to live without regular meals.
They came to the coachman's tavern and got settled in the corner, they drew the attention of some homeless and drunk people who were also there. The owner brought them coffee and some buns. A sailor showed interest in them and asked Stephen for his name. The sailor knew Stephen Dedalus. He told the story about his wife who had been waiting faithfully for him for seven years while he's been on deck. The sailor also told him all about the places he visited and the things he had seen. Bloom was a bit suspicious and he didn't believe his story completely.
The conversation continued and they talked about shipwrecks and ships which just got lost in the fog. The sailor said he survived a few monsoons. Then they complained about the decadence of the Irish shipping industry.
Bloom talked about the Jews further explained to Stephen that everyone falsely accused them of ruining the country. He said Spain ruined itself by persecuting Jews during the Inquisition and England blossomed after Cromwell took them in. They kept on talking about the country but then Stephen interrupted the conversation asking them to change the subject.
Bloom enjoyed the company of the man who was obviously intelligent. He loved hanging out with people who made him think. It was late and both of them agreed it was time to go home but Bloom wasn't sure if he would be able to carry Stephen home. He asked him to come to his home, Stephen nevertheless cared much about the place in which he will sleep.
They went out and headed to Bloom's house. Stephen still felt weakness in his legs but Bloom convinced him he would be better in the fresh air. They talked about art and music while they were walking.
Stephen and Bloom talked about Ireland, Paris, Dublin, friendship, women and music. Bloom noticed both of them preferred music over art. They also preferred living on a large land rather than an Island. Both of them expressed their disbelief towards religious, social, ethical and national doctrines.
They didn't see eye to eye on everything. Stephen's opinion about nutrition and citizens relying on their own strength was different from Bloom's. Bloom also didn't agree with Stephen's belief that the human spirit is affirmed through literature.
When they reached the house, Bloom realized his key was in his other pants. He was angry because he told himself twice to take the key but he still forgot. Bloom was in a dilemma; to knock or not. He managed to enter the kitchen through the laundry room. Then he let Stephen in.
He lit up the fire and placed two chairs for them to sit near it. He went to wash his hands with melted Barrington soap with a lemon scent for which he hadn't paid yet. Bloom also shaved and made tea for him and Stephen.
Both of them were educated but showed completely different characters; Bloom was a scientist and Stephen was an artist. Bloom started to be more prone to applied sciences. He thought about a household problem that occupied his brain a lot and it was his wife. He didn't know what to do with her. He tried board games, knitting for the poor, singing musical duets, going to parties, or frequenting courses. He was mostly up for the courses because his wife wasn't very educated and knew nothing about politics.
He strategically left the book around open at a certain page, he tried to teach her something but her attention span was small. She would listen to interest but soon she would forget everything.
Bloom suggested Stephen spend the next two days relaxing on the couch which was in the room right above the kitchen. Stephen would have a safe place to relax for at least two days and Bloom would feel rejuvenated for having the chance to talk to such an insightful young man. Stephen politely declined the offer.
Bloom placed the candlestick on the floor and Stephen adjusted his hat. When they opened the door, the cat took the opportunity to sneak into the house. When they went out the sky was filled with stars and Bloom showed his guest a few constellations.
When they said goodbye, the church bell rang. Bloom passed through the garden and entered the hallway. He took a candle and went up the stairs. After placing the candle on the fireplace he observed the books which were there. The biggest one was Hozier's history of the Russian-Turkish war. While he was sitting he felt that his vest was suffocating him so he took it off and placed it on the table. He unbuttoned his pants and took off his shirt and shoes.
For a while, he dreamed about inheriting mansions and redecorating it his way. He thought that daydreaming and stories he told himself helped him diminish fatigue which results in healthy sleep and a higher level of vitality. As a biologist, he knew that a human being spends 20 years sleeping. As a philosopher, he knew that a few amounts of human desires come to life.
He took off the rest of his clothes and left them on the chair. Then he took his nightshirt and went to bed.
This chapter is narrated by Molly Bloom. She was thinking about the possibility of him getting ill and everyone around him having to convince him for a month to go to a hospital. If a nurse, like the one on the picture he had hidden, appeared he would probably stay there until they kicked him out. One time he cut his thumb and he was convinced of getting his blood poisoned but when she would get ill, she wouldn't receive attention whatsoever. As a woman, she hid her illness to not create disturbance or inconvenience for others.
She remembered one night when she entered the kitchen to tell him all about Dignam's death and Bloom hid a letter underneath a stack of papers and pretended to be working. All men get like that in their 40's. They find a young woman who will milk the money out of them. Molly didn't mind his adultery as long as he kept it as far away from her as possible. She didn't want the incident with Mary to repeat.
Of course, that one woman was never enough, he needed a few. He would come onto maids and once he even suggested one of them have Christmas dinner with them. Molly didn't allow it. The maid also used to steal so she was fired.
She remembered one night when there was a strong storm that made her believe that the world will be ending so she repented for her sins and said a prayer. It was ridiculous for him because he didn't go to church or believe in anything.
She knew he had doubts about her and Boylan, but she didn't care. Molly was sure that seeing Josie Powell, the funeral and the thought of her and Boylan made him angry. He said to have danced with her just because no one else wanted but she noticed them looking at each other the whole night on the night at Georgine Simpson's housewarming party.
Whenever Josie was with them she would hug her while her thoughts were on him. He used to be handsome but he was overly beautiful for a man and he tried to look like Lord Byron.
All of the men were very different. Boylan noticed the shape of her leg while she was with Poldy in DBC. She noticed him looking at her while she was standing up. After that, she went there for two days in a row to have tea but he was gone. She got him to spend the night with her after one of the Goodwin concerts. Molly remembered the man with curly hair from Lucan's dairy shop and then Bartell D'Arcy who kissed her on the stairs.
Bloom was obsessed with panties and he asked her to cut out a piece of hers so he could carry it around with him. He would always look at girls on their bikes when their skirts would rise up. When they first met, Molly noticed him standing on the street. He kissed her hand and asked her to take off her gloves. He wanted her to raise her skirt and show him her underwear which she did, despite being in public. She had to lie to her father that she left her wallet in the shop just to go back there.
The next day Bloom asked Molly if he had offended her and she gazed at the ground but she knew Bloom could see she wasn't offended. Every morning he would write her a letter, sometimes two. When he lost his job at Hely's she sold clothes and played the piano. Bloom used to tell her she looked like a nymph when she let her hair down. She asked him if nymphs actually looked like that but he was terrible at explaining anything.
Molly burned half of his old copies of Freeman. He left everything around the house and he got messy. She threw the other half in the upstairs bathroom and decided to make him cut them.
It was late at night and she saw he was having company over. She hoped Bloom will stop talking to those people because he behaved as a young man, coming home at four in the morning. At least he had the decency not to wake her up. He used to spend a lot of money on drinks.
One time she thought she had heard someone in the house and Bloom went downstairs making the biggest noise possible to alert the burglars. There wasn't much to steal but it was still an unpleasant feeling especially since Milly wasn't around anymore. She couldn't believe he sent their daughter to study photography instead of sending her to an academy.
Molly remembered the day she made him propose to her. He was wearing a gray suit and they were on Howth Head. Molly fed him a cake from her mouth and after the second kiss, she felt breathless. It was 16 years ago. He told her she was a flower and that all women were flowers. Molly thought it was the only truth he ever said. When he popped the question she spent a few moments thinking and then asked him to ask her again and Molly accepted.
Leopold Bloom - one of the main characters in his late 30's. He lived in Dublin with his wife Molly. They had a daughter who went away to study photography. After Milly, they had a son who died 11 days after being born. He worked in the magazine Freeman. Bloom was described as a good-natured man and a good husband. He was often laughed out because of his personality. During the novel, we see his other side - the one obsessed with women. He had affairs with maids and visited prostitutes. He used a pseudonym while writing letters to Martha. He considered himself a scientist and he enjoyed talking to Stephen because he made him feel young. Bloom had a small circle of friends. His father committed suicide and it left a trace on him. He often thought about philosophy and always controlled how much he was drinking.
Molly Bloom - Leopold's wife. She wasn't very educated which presented an obstacle for them. Bloom tried to educate her but it was unsuccessful because she forgot everything fast. On the other side, Molly found his attempts of always explaining everything annoying and she never could completely understand him. Molly was younger and more attractive than her husband. She was completely aware of it and she had an affair with Blazing Boylan who thought her husband couldn't satisfy her. Molly was a singer and she often held concerts. Molly had a lot of reproaches about her husband but she knew she could have done worse so she was happy right where she was.
Stephen Dedalus - a young poet and philosopher. He taught history in elementary school. Dedalus was enigmatic and hard to understand. He had a lot of confidence but he mostly kept quiet when in the company. Dedalus tried to be an artist but he never quite succeeded in it. He spent some time in Paris and left his father's home under the explanation that he was looking for trouble. Buck Mulligan was his friend and everyone else thought Buck was only taking advantage of Dedalus. He lived in Martello Tower with Buck and Haines and he despised both of them. His relationship with his family wasn't good, he didn't communicate with his drunken father Simon Dedalus and he was haunted by his mother's death because he didn't pray for her before she died. At the end of the novel, Stephen and Bloom spent some time together and Leopold acted as a father figure in his life.
Born James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (1882 - 1941) James Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet. His psychological perceptions and innovative literary techniques made him one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century. He was born in Dublin, the son of an impoverished civil servant. Although middle class, his family quickly lost that distinction with his father's alcoholism, they began a steady downward slope. Educated at Jesuit schools, he was raised to be Roman Catholic but broke with the church while in college. In 1904 he left Ireland with a chambermaid named Nora Barnacle. The two finally married and had two children. They lived in Trieste, Italy, Paris and Zurich. They lived on his salary as a language instructor and gifts from patrons.
In 1907 James Joyce was struck with iritis. This was the first of the severe eye troubles that left him almost blind. After living in Paris for twenty years, Joyce took his family to Zurich just as World War II began. He lived there until his death in 1941. Most of his stories are set in his fictional Ireland, which is populated with caricatures of family members and people from his Irish community. He said that he always wrote about Dublin because if he could get to the heart of Dublin, he could get to the heart of any city.
Joyce's early work consisted mostly of essays and poetry. His first book, Chamber Music, published in 1907, consisted of thirty-six love poems. The poetry showed a preference for Elizabethan James Joyce's book, Dubliners, comprising fifteen short stories, that all tie in together as stories set with the middle class. The book is broken up into three groups. Childhood, adulthood and old age. His first long work of fiction was The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and is largely autobiographical. It recreates his home life as a child in his character, Stephan Dedalus.
He became internationally famous after his publication of Ulysses, in 1922. Based on Homer's Odyssey, tells the story of a twenty-four-hour period in the life of a Jewish Irishman. It also tells of the same day in the life of Stephan Dedalus. Then the two characters meet at the end. "Finnegan's Wake" was the last novel by James Joyce. It was also his most complex. It is an attempt to embody in fiction a cyclical theory of history. The novel is written in the form of an interrupted series of dreams of the Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, during one night. Joyce uses various historical figures and mythological creatures in the book.
James Joyce used symbols to create what he called "epiphany". The revelation of certain inner qualities. Using experimental techniques to convey the essential nature of realistic situations, Joyce merged in his greatest works the literary tradition of realism, naturalism, and symbolism. Thus, the earlier writings reveal individual moods and characters and the plight of Ireland and the Irish artist in the early 1900s.