The Quest For Paternity In James Joyce's “ulysses”

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The Quest for Paternity in James Joyce's “Ulysses”


Search for paternity is one of the fundamental themes in the masterpiece of James Joyce “Ulysses”. Throughout the novel, the author tried to mark himself equal to other literacy minds (Atherton, Pp.315). The novel is inspired by many real life experiences of the author. James Joyce, in his master pieces, tells us a story of two characters that are searching for paternity to reinforce their individual identities. Stephen Dedalus is the young person who is seeking an ideal father for himself that will allow him, in turn, to become a good father who is not only capable appreciating his son's achievement but also understands him. He does have a biological father who is quite opposite to his expectations, which intensifies his quest further. Critics have also identified this character as Joyce himself because there are many things in common between the main character and the author himself. Both are looking for a symbolic father to fill in the gaps of their personalities in order to improve on their personalities as a father. Leopold Bloom is a grown up man who has seen half of his life and experiences almost all ups and down of an ordinary life. He is married to a lady and had a son who died 11 years ago. He misses his son. He wants someone to take up his son's place and fulfill all his wishes including carrying on his identity.

Another interesting element that can be easily noticed in the novel is its parallelisms with Homer's Odyssey. There are many events that are common between them. As the plot develops, we find more evidence of linkage between them. The connection of two key characters with each other in Ulysses, Bloom as a sonless father & Dedalus, as a fatherless son is analogous to the conditions of Odysseus and Telemachus.


'Ulysses' is one of the master pieces of James Joyce. It revolves around several themes out of which quest for paternity constitutes the predominant motif. Three main characters of the plot are Stephen Dedalus, Leopold Bloom, and Marion Bloom a.k.a Molly. Stephen is an intelligent and well read person. He is in early twenties and likes music. He seems to be live for himself rather than the community or group of medical students he usually moves around After the death of his mother, he is shown to be struggling with concerns of faith and doubt. Leopold Bloom is the 2nd character of the plot. Brought up in Dublin by Jewish father and Catholic mother, Bloom is his in later thirties. He likes reading and pondering upon science. He also enjoys sharing his knowledge with others. By nature, he is kindhearted and inquisitive. Stephen and Bloom both shares likeness for music. The plot's third, main character is a lady from Gibraltar, Molly, who happens to be wife of Bloom. She is good looking and flirtatious. She is clever and prejudiced. Their son died eleven years ago. After which, Bloom stopped going near to ...
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