The Role of Women in the Works of James Joyce
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This paper is the study of one aspect of Joyce's personal myth, the women who live in his works. Nearly everyone, even those who have not read Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, knows who Molly Bloom and Anna Livia Plurabelle are, thus neatly illustrating the paradox of the personal myth: the popularity of those two figures attests to their universal relevance, but their origins are firmly set in the idiosyncracies of their author's experience. But the wide relevance of a figure, particularly when the popularity is of the second-hand variety, introduces the danger that we will interpret the image by the light of our own convictions. To avoid that danger we must look closely and sympathetically at the image as Joyce presented it and interpret it in the context of the work in which it appears, Joyce's assumptions and convictions about it, and Joyce's own experience.