Female Sexual Expression : Mary Joyce 's ' The Odyssey '

2543 WordsJul 31, 201611 Pages
Sophie Johnson 7/28/16 8A: Teaching a Class Question: Can we call Joyce a feminist? / What is the role of female sexuality in Ulysses? Female Sexual Expression in Ulysses Joyce weaves the theme of sexuality throughout Ulysses, exploring the link between sex, the physical incarnation, and sexuality through numerous manifestations and characters. Joyce’s use of sexuality as a motif highlights the dichotomies of religion and sensuality, masculinity and femininity, and both challenges and undermines societal conventions. Although Ulysses resembles Homer’s The Odyssey both thematically and structurally, Joyce addresses contemporary issues in his, fairly unflattering at times albeit realistic, portrayal of the human condition. The erotic discourse is further used to call into question the apparent morality of several of the characters and their sexual and gender identities in contrast with the traditional gender roles. The two primary female consciousnesses to which we, as readers, are given access to are Gerty MacDowell in the “Nausicaa” episode, and Molly Bloom in the “Penelope” episode. These women do not whatsoever dominate the novel in any terms, and rather are vehicles for Joyce’s expression of the feminine voice, which at the time was so often subdued or denied by the patriarchy. The repression of the female sexuality can be seen plainly in the consciousness of both Gerty MacDowell and Molly Bloom, however, both seek to strive out against the rules of female sexual

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