Ulysses – Part Three: Discussion (#ulyssesRAL2017)


I never doubted for a second that I’d finish it, because this time I vowed to read it no matter what but some of it was a chore to get through and nearly everyone I know kept referring to it as The Beast. It is rather beastly.

Part Three was my favorite part, particularly the very last episode titled, Penelope. This is an entire episode dedicated to Molly Bloom’s thoughts as she is in bed with her husband, Leopold Bloom. She recounts the early days of their marriage and the countless men she’s had affairs with. It’s a rather sad episode. Molly hasn’t lived a life of luxury and struggles with identity.

The entire book is a collection of failures and missed opportunities and puts everyone’s weaknesses front and center. As a reader, it’s easy to get lost in the gibberish and the heavy-handed use of slang but buried, deep down,  there are little gems hidden here and there.

There are many reading guides available to help a reader experience Ulysses but really, you just need to dive in and experience it for yourself. This was my first complete read of the novel, but I suspect it won’t be my last. Many recommend rereading it many times to really appreciate it.

We called this a read-along, mainly for the support aspect but many had to put it down for various reasons. I don’t blame them. It’s a book that begs you to hate it with all its rambling prose and lack of plot but I feel that the last episode pulled it all together for me.

Since many have not read Ulysses, what is one classic you’ve always wanted to read but for whatever reason never did?

10 thoughts on “Ulysses – Part Three: Discussion (#ulyssesRAL2017)”

  1. I am in awe that you did this…and I can’t think of any classic that I want to read or reread. English Literature was my minor in college…when there was such a thing as a minor…so I have read tons of classics!

  2. I attempted Anna Karenina three times before I managed to get through it and it was nothing like Ulysses. I just think it is so unique – especially with the made up words and considering Joyce’s motivations. I do want to tackle Ulysses some day. I will. Sorry I was more inspired to tackle the TOB books this time of year or I would have joined you.

    1. That’s okay. I actually feel a little guilty for getting people excited over it. I certainly don’t want to be remembered as the HAG who forced anyone to read it!

  3. Man. You make me feel bad for dropping the book like a hot potato now. I wanted to like it so much, but you are right that it is begging for you to detest it with every fiber of your being. I can’t say that there is any classic I have wanted to read but have not gotten around to reading yet. The Brothers Karamazov was always my nemesis; it took me three times to get through that one, but I finally did.

    1. Don’t feel bad! I certainly wasn’t trying to make you feel bad. If anything, I totally understand why people give up on it. There are sections of it where I just wanted to throw it across the room or drop it in the toilet. And you had not even gotten to that part yet!! I think I was just in a better position to read it this time. As I said, it was not my first attempt.

      1. I know you did not mean it directly! I am just feeling a bit guilty. You know I don’t DNF books lightly, and that I love a good challenge. It does make me think I will most likely be trying it again. I wonder if audio is the way to go…

  4. I will finish the beast…just maybe not right now. 🙂 Two other classics that I’ve tried to read and have not finished are Brothers Karamazov and Moby Dick! They will be on the list for read-a-longs if anyone wants to do one later this year, maybe after the new Stephen King book!

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