How James Joyce Challenges His Readers in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake

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How James Joyce Challenges His Readers in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake

In the history of written literature, it is difficult not to notice the authors who expand their reader's style and manner of reading. Some write in an unusual syntax which forces the reader to utilize new methods of looking at a language; others employ lengthy allusions which oblige the reader to study the same works the author drew from in order to more fully comprehend the text. Some authors use ingenious and complicated plots which warrant several readings to be understood. But few authors have used all these and still more devices to demand more of the reader. James Joyce, writer of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, uses extraordinarily inventive and
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This pattern holds true to the close of both books: Odysseus returns home to his wife after a long journey looking much different than when he had left, and by demonstrating knowledge that only they know, proves to her that he is indeed Odysseus. In Ulysses, Bloom returns home to Molly after his long journey and her last thoughts of him, while she is falling asleep in bed, are of past things which only they share (a romantic tryst of their past):

" he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes an d drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes." (Ulysses 768)

Throughout the novel, Joyce makes his readers not only know the Odyssey well

enough to recognize situations out of it, but also be aware of symbols and

people representing characters, such as the motif of pins representing the

needle-teeth of the Lestrygonians in that chapter (Barger)

Finnegans Wake is somewhat different. Instead of paralleling his characters'

actions with the events of one

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