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Ulysses

Ulysses

by James Joyce

Ulysses Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Love

Want a simple take-home theme from Ulysses? Love matters. Yet throughout the book, characters struggle with problems related to love. At the end of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Stephen...

Patriotism

When we think of patriotism, we usually have positive connotations; it's good to be proud of your country. In 1904 Ireland, however, resentment of English oppression could sometimes lead to patriot...

Sex

You've probably heard that the plot of Ulysses hinges around the fact that Leopold Bloom's wife is having an affair, and on this particular day, June 16th, Bloom knows that she's going to sleep wit...

Memory and the Past

Ulysses takes place in the course of one day, from 8am on June 16th to sometime after 4 A.M. on June 17th. People often joke about the fact that nothing happens in Ulysses. We readily admit that if...

Time

As you may have heard, all the action of Ulysses takes place over the course of a day. Joyce kept a detailed schema that had each episode in the book beginning at a particular hour. When the bells...

Life, Consciousness, and Existence

This is kind of a catch-all category for a theme, but there are a lot of big head-scratching nail-biting philosophical questions posed in Ulysses. Joyce is an author whose main concern is with how...

Religion

If you've read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, you'll probably remember that Stephen Dedalus grew up in an extremely religious family and that early on he even considered becoming a priest...

Prejudice

Leopold Bloom, the main character in Ulysses, is an Irishman. But in 1904 Dublin there are a lot of people that would not have thought so. The reason is that Bloom is also a Jew, and Jews were look...

Mortality

Ulysses is full of that most common thing – death. Stephen Dedalus's mother has died between the end of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and the opening of Ulysses, and he is tormented...

Freedom and Confinement

In 1904, Dublin could be a confining place to be. No one feels this more than Stephen Dedalus (though many felt it as much). Between English oppression and the enormous influence of the Roman Catho...

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