Essay by plush37University, Bachelor'sB, November 2003

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In the beginning of the twentieth century when Puritanism attitudes were slowly decreasing, but still evident, suppression of thought was the norm. What Joyce proceeded to do was out of the ordinary. He wrote a book that not only incorporated very liberal ideas, but also sexual desires, parallelisms, and acts. He made apparent the thoughts of men and women that they normally subdued daily. Unconsciously, due to society around us, we suppress feelings and actions we think will be shunned in an effort to fit in. When James Joyce stepped away from this norm, Ulysses was seen as perverse. Although it was banned in the United States and Britain for what critics saw as filth and obscenity, it helped to shape what modern literature is today; natural life affirming plots with grace and freedom. When American critic, Judge John M. Woolsey, claimed: "Ulysses is no doubt emetic to some readers, but not aphrodisiac," he was almost right.

For what he did not include in his conclusion were moral opinions. Dependant on their background, each reader will take a different approach to how they feel about eroticism. Therefore, it should be noted that what pornography stands for is dependant on the values of the audience; for some people it is something to be ashamed of, while others see it as a form of free expression. Also, how the reader perceives the story is directly related to its content. In Ulysses, much of the pornography throughout can be excused by the direct link to a specific subject. The book is not just a variety of erotic text; it incorporates the lives of several characters that the reader can learn from. Finally, it made it easy for critics to judge Ulysses by pulling out sections of it and not leaving them in the...