The Secret of Ulysses: An Analysis of James Joyce's Ulysses

By Rolf R. Loehrich | Go to book overview

18. DEFLECTIONS FROM THE HIDDEN PLOT TO THE AESTHETIC MEDIA

Joyce combined his two frames in order to present the occurrences of the day to the reader. He divided his tale into 18 chapters, and three parts with three, twelve and three episodes respectively. The structure has no further aesthetic significance, although it may be interpreted as symbolic.

But where is the story which was to fill the frame? Throughout the story, Joyce gives a description of characters who find themselves in a fusion of wake-state and dream-state. They act and think, daydream and dream, and experience dreams blended with the outside and sometimes dreams which simply break into the wake experience. It is the sequence of two sets of bona fide dreams, in process of becoming concretized, which Joyce meant to be the actual story of the book.

Can the reader find and understand the dream-developments? Only with great difficulty does he find them, let alone interpret them. They are hidden behind associations, thoughts and ideas which were to provide for the decodification of the dreams. As long as the reader has no knowledge of dreamsequences or the laws governing them, as long as the reader does not know the sphere of dreams as the 'other dimension' of life and the occurrences in this sphere as a meaningful sequence, as long as the reader is at a loss to discover the development of Bloom and Stephen, he neither finds nor understands the hidden story.

How did Joyce deal with the difficulties in mediating the artistic intent? He chose to deflect the attention of the reader from his end-aims to the media of presentation. He gave each episode a specific style and form. He did it with such virtuosity of language and style that his inventiveness alone would induce the reader to continue reading, if only as an appeal to sensitivity for aesthetic values. It is remarkable that Joyce selected a style such that it became meaningful expression characterizing the central ideas presented in the episodes.

Let us discuss some of these episodes:

EPISODE 7 -- The newspaper office -- was written with large head-

-132-

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The Secret of Ulysses: An Analysis of James Joyce's Ulysses
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Table of Contents vii
  • List of Tables ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • 1. the Secret 1
  • 2. the Intent 4
  • I - The Interpretation 7
  • 3. the Action 9
  • 4. the Continuity of the Story 13
  • 5. Episode 15 24
  • 6. the Contending Power Groups 55
  • 7. the Lex Eterna 61
  • 8. the Other Dimension 73
  • II- The Code with Joyce 83
  • 9. the Riddles 86
  • 10. Cette Fichue Position 94
  • 11- the Eternal Parents Misjudged As Unfaithful 98
  • 12. the Unfaithfulness of Man 104
  • 13. the Riches of Life 110
  • 14. the Manifestation of God 115
  • III- The Aesthetic Form Of Ulysses 123
  • 15. the Artistic Intent 125
  • 16- the Aesthetic Media: The First Framework 128
  • 17. the Hidden Plot 129
  • 18- Deflections from the Hidden Plot To the Aesthetic Media 132
  • 19. the Changing Viewpoints 136
  • IV- Existence for Joyce 139
  • 20. Fiction or Discovery? 141
  • 21- Bona Fide Dream-Reports And Secondary Thought Elaborations 143
  • 22- Psycho Therapeutics -- the Way Of Atonement 167
  • 23. Guilt -- Infantile and Existential 176
  • 24. Man's Status in Existence 184
  • Index 189
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