Ulysses: Novel Summary: Chapter Three - Episode 18
This final episode is from Molly's point of view and this is the first time we are permitted to see events and the Bloom relationship from her perspective. This offers yet another variant in style as punctuation is barely drawn upon. There are no apostrophes and only eight sentences, and these begin as new paragraphs. This is, then, a classic example of the use of stream of consciousness.
(First sentence) We are told how Bloom used to try and get round Mrs Riordan when they were staying at the City Arms Hotel; when she died, she never left them any money. Molly is suspicious that Bloom has had sex that day because of his appetite and thinks he might have been with a prostitute. She knows he has lied to her. She also reveals that she knows he was writing a letter the day before yesterday (this would have been to Martha), and does not want it (adultery) happening under her nose again as with Mary their former servant.
She remembers the last time Bloom had an orgasm on her bottom was after Boylan squeezed her hand. She then thinks of a priest, and then of the afternoon she has spent with Boylan (and the size of his penis). Her thoughts turn to Josie Powell (Mrs Breen) and how Molly used to try to make her feel jealous.
(Second sentence) Molly thinks of how Boylan has always liked her feet, and Bloom also has an interest in them. Bloom's love of her drawers is also indicated.
It is verified that she threw the coin to the sailor that afternoon and she thinks of her trip to Belfast with Boylan. She thinks it is just as well that Bloom has to go to Ennis for the anniversary of his father's death. Bloom's difficulty in keeping a job is referred to and she notes his stubbornness.
(Third sentence) Molly considers how women are more beautiful than men and reflects on her own body, especially her breasts. She thinks of Boylan and their next meeting on Monday.
(Fourth sentence) Her time in Gibraltar is ruminated over in this sentence. She thinks of how it became dull after the Stanhopes left and how her life is dull now.
(Fifth sentence) This sentence is, for the most part, centered on Mulvey, who was Molly's first suitor (but she did not have sexual intercourse with him). She remembers their first kiss and thinks of what may have become of him now. She then shifts and considers the bonus of having the surname Bloom. Her thoughts return to Mulvey and when she saw him leave. This sentence finishes with Molly breaking wind.
(Sentence six) After contemplating the effects of the pork chop she has eaten, Molly considers how she is lonely in the house and how Bloom leaves her alone all day. We are also told that he sent Milly away to protect her from knowing about Molly's affair with Boylan.
This sentence ends with the onset of Molly's period and she thinks of how it will not be finished before Boylan's next visit. She sits on the chamber pot as the blood flows.
(Sentence seven) Thoughts of visiting the doctor because of the frequency of her period then lead her to remember her first meeting with Bloom and how the Doyles claimed he would become a member of parliament.
The nuisance of the menstrual cycle is referred to again and she thinks of how they have had a difficult time moving house etc. Either something happens or Bloom puts his foot in it. Molly reveals her lack of trust in him once more as she knows he has a condom. She also recognizes that the men in bars make fun of Bloom behind his back.
Her thoughts turn to Stephen and how she read her cards that morning and saw a young stranger. She fantasizes momentarily about him falling for her charms and then returns to contemplate Boylan.
(Sentence eight) The final sentence begins with thinking of Boylan's roughness and then considers the lack of freedom women have. She thinks of Stephen and then Rudy.
Her thoughts shift back and forth as she considers how women do not kill one another; then thinks of how women are 'bitches' to each other, no wonder men treat us the way they do. She also recognizes that women have a difficult time of it.
At the end of the novel, her last thoughts turn to the first time she had full sexual intercourse with Bloom on Howth Hill and how he won her over by calling her a flower of the mountain. She was attracted by Bloom because he knows how women think; she agreed to have sex thinking, 'as well him as another'. The last word of the novel is from Molly when she said 'yes' to Bloom.
This final episode offers the reader a long-awaited insight into Molly's opinions. The flow of this narrative is unstoppable, even when compared to the earlier interior monologues of Stephen and Bloom. Her thoughts shift and flicker and the choice to use little or no punctuation ensures that this final section becomes a by-word for stream of consciousness.
It is of interest that this style is given to a female character. She is represented by this format as unstoppable and unconfined by the standard rule of language. Femininity, when exemplified through aspects of Bloom's character (and as mocked by many of the marginal characters), is once more given expression in this novel. It is also of interest that despite Molly's present antagonism towards Bloom, the reason she found him attractive was because he knows how women think.
Ulysses Study GuideChoose to Continue
- Novel Summary
- Chapter One - Episode 1
- Chapter One - Episode 2
- Chapter One - Episode 3
- Chapter Two - Episode 4
- Chapter Two - Episode 5
- Chapter Two - Episode 6
- Chapter Two - Episode 7
- Chapter Two - Episode 8
- Chapter Two - Episode 9
- Chapter Two - Episode 10
- Chapter Two - Episode 11
- Chapter Two - Episode 12
- Chapter Two - Episode 13
- Chapter Two - Episode 14
- Chapter Two - Episode 15
- Chapter Three - Episode 16
- Chapter Three - Episode 17
- Chapter Three - Episode 18
- Character Profiles
- Metaphor Analysis
- Theme Analysis
- Top Ten Quotes
- James Joyce
- Essay Q&A