Ulysses Read-Along: First Impressions

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I have now read the first six episodes of Ulysses and I am actually quite surprised by how easy it has been to read these parts of the book after what I had heard about the book from different people over the years.

I can totally see why people say this book is difficult to read with its chopping and changing between description, dialogue and internal monologue sometimes in the same paragraph with no separation to try and work out which is which some of the times. After a while you get used to this style and it become a lot easier to read I would say. Some of the chapters are almost entirely internal monologue which is quite interesting and some of the chapters have a bit of everything.

The description is sometimes a little bit flowery but uses some really interesting metaphors and similes that you wouldn’t normally consider using but somehow work really well.

The dialogue is interesting because it is such lifelike dialogue sounding like the way people actually talk to each other, and it is full of dialect, which is sometimes difficult to make out but gives it an authentic twang and it can also be laugh-out-loud funny.

Even though the swear words do stand out a bit from a book written in the early part of the twentieth century, it doesn’t seem that out of place when you are reading as it sounds like the sort of thing that people, like the characters in this book, would say and just becomes part and parcel of the authentic dialogue in the book

The internal monologue is probably the most interesting part of these first six episodes as this where Joyce really lets go with his use of language, which is more often than not way out there with words and compound words and sound like words that I have never heard of before, and probably never will again such as ‘brightwindbridled’, ‘contransmagnificandjewbangtantiality’, and words such as ‘lawdeedaw’ and ‘dringdring’ and the really bizarre word ‘Mrkgnao!’.

This book is full of them and, as a result, is so much fun to read, especially aloud!

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