Paper 1 Proteus

Paper 1 Proteus - Willy Stout English 101-15 February 12th,...

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Willy Stout English 101-15 February 12 th , 2008 Catching and Deciphering “Proteus” James Joyce’s novel, Ulysses , is subdivided for simplicity into chapters with the names of the original Odyssey chapters. The third one, “Proteus” is usually considered one of the hardest chapters because of it’s hard to follow stream of consciousness style writing. Every word must be taken singularly, analyzed and then considered within the broader context of Stephen’s thought. The first word that should be analyzed is the chapter’s title, “Proteus”, which will give a starting point to understanding the chapter along with what awaits ahead. In Greek mythology Proteus is originally an early god of the sea who becomes Poseidon’s son in Olympian theogony. He possesses both prophesizing powers and the ability to change into any shape imaginable in order to escape capture. Only those who capture him are allowed to ask a question regarding the future. The parallel in Ulysses lies exactly in that continuous change. The narrative is constantly moving; Stephen’s thoughts jump from one idea to the next with little or no explanation of the path taken, the associations his mind makes are hard to follow and once the reader is about to catch up comprehension once again slips away. Joyce is able to capture Stephen’s thoughts by using what is known as stream of consciousness of interior monologue. This writing technique enables the author to translate to paper what the character is thinking and his thought process in the exact way the character is thinking. This does not come as a surprise because if one took a pen and wrote down everything that went through his head it would closely resemble the style in which the “Proteus” chapter is written. People do not think in complete, grammatically correct sentences. There are sudden jumps from one idea to another that may only make sense in a single person’s mind. As we see with Stephen often it is not even in English, as he thinks about German philosophical terms, Italian operas and past French conversations. The stream of consciousness gives the illusion that there is not narrator or author which allows a deeper connection and a better understanding of the character. The entire “Proteus” chapter is devoted to Stephen’s thoughts as he walks along Sandymount Strand, about nine miles away from Mr. Deasy’s school. Every object Stephen sees is a starting point for a thought process that builds and builds on itself until a new stimulus triggers a new thought. First off Stephen contemplates that real world, what actually exists and what registers through vision. He then closes his eyes and continues to walk listening to the sounds he makes and
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course ENGL 101-15 taught by Professor Hajduczek during the Spring '08 term at Tulane.

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Paper 1 Proteus - Willy Stout English 101-15 February 12th,...

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