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by James Joyce

Analysis: Narrator Point of View

Who is the narrator, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him?

Third Person Omniscient

Point of view is something that is extremely important to Ulysses. Namely, the point of view is unconfined, and we are exposed to myriad perspectives in the course of the book. Language and voice can seemingly go anywhere or do anything in the novel. Some chapters are more traditional, but we constantly see evidence of the narrator at play: the headlines in "Aeolus," the play-dialogue in "Circe," the way that the language can soak up the setting and the time of day through its style.

In a more traditional sense, the narrator of the story has access to the most intimate thoughts of Leopold Bloom, Stephen Dedalus, and Molly Bloom, as well as somewhat more limited access to the minds of other characters. When we get inside a character's head, we are exposed to stream-of-consciousness style that attempts to follow that character's thoughts as closely as possible no matter how fragmentary and disjointed they may be. Yet there is always the freedom to zoom out, to stray from one mind to another, to re-focus from a different perspective.

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