Chapter Eighteen, Penelope
Narrative Focus: Molly
Characters: Molly, Bloom, various figures from her past.
Setting: The Bloom Bed, an hourless time of night.
The final recognition and reunion of the Odyssey take place after the return and revenge of Odysseus: Penelope, the last to believe that Odysseus has dies on the return journey, is also the last to know of his return (Book XXIII). Appropriately, Joyce ends with a similar affirmation of the husband’s return in Molly’s final word: “Yes.”
Initially awake while Bloom has fallen asleep, Molly recreates in progressively unconscious reveries her childhood at Gibraltar, her lovers before and after marriage, the events of the day, and her surrender and marriage to Bloom.
The one and only chapter that allows us into Molly’s head. It is composed of eight sentences.
“[I]t begins and ends with the female word Yes. . . . It turns like the huge earthball slowly surely and evenly round and round spinning. Its four cardinal points being female breasts, arse, womb and . . . expressed by the words because, bottom . . . woman, yes.” (Letters, 170).