Joyces Awakening: Part 1 First Time at Forty

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A transitory interest in his cousin Katsy Murray had been followed by the stronger, but unexpressed and unrequited, interest in Mary Sheehy. Instead, on June 10, , Joyce was walking down Nassau Street in Dublin when he caught sight of a tall, good-looking young woman, auburn-haired, walking with a proud stride. When he spoke to her she answered pertly enough to allow the conversation to continue.

She took him, with his yachting cap, for a sailor, and from his blue eyes thought for a moment he might be Swedish. Her name was a little comic, Nora Barnacle, but this too might be an omen of felicitous adhesion. But Nora Barnacle failed to appear, and Joyce sent her a note in some dejection:. I may be blind.

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I looked for a long time at a head of reddish-brown hair and decided it was not yours. I went home quite dejected. I would like to make an appointment but it might not suit you. I hope you will be kind enough to make one with me — if you have not forgotten me! The appointment was made, and for the evening of June 16, when they went walking at Ringsend, and then arranged to meet again. A couple of months passed, the relationship intensifying — and Joyce began to grow desperate to leave Ireland. He applied for a job in Europe -with the Berlitz school — and began to be convinced that Nora had to come with him.

They had to be together. They could not live freely in Ireland. On September 16, — shortly before his departure date, he wrote a letter to Nora which still, for me, trembles with passion as I read it:. It seemed to me that I was fighting a battle with every religious and social force in Ireland for you and that I had nothing to rely on but myself. There is no life here — no naturalness or honesty. People live together in the same houses all their lives and at the end they are as far apart as ever … The fact that you can choose to stand beside me in this way in my hazardous life fills me with great pride and joy … Allow me, dearest Nora, to tell you how much I desire that you should share any happiness that may be mine and to assure you of my great respect for that love of yours which it is my wish to deserve and to answer.

When it came time for him to leave, she jumped ship with him. James and Nora did eventually get married — in — and that was long after they had had two kids, and had spent almost 20 years together as a couple. Chaotic, and very much their own.

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He wondered if he were distinct to her. One of the things that really bothered him was her use of pronouns. She does not distinguish. Joyce found this fascinating, infuriating, and very very female.

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So he used it. After the book came out, Nora was asked if she were the model for Molly Bloom.

The Disappointment of Unrealistic Expectations - Part 4 - Enjoying Everyday Life

The Penelope episode is 40 pages long, and I think it only has 5 sentences in it. I actually went through once, trying to locate the periods. For the most part, it is a run-on sentence. Molly lies in bed, Leopold lies next to her — and she thinks out loud. About her life, her men, her rendesvous with her lover, her dead son … but more than that: it is the ruminations of an insomniac, frayed by sleep, letting her mind off the hook that it needs to be on during the conscious daytime … and going from topic to topic … memories coming up, receding … Molly is hugely witty.

She thinks men are rather silly. She thinks women are silly, too — but the silliness of men affects her more personally. The chapter is the only time in the book when a character is alone … with herself … and the darkness. The rest of the book is highly social — interactions with the human race left and right. But here, now, 3 a. She muses about her period which has at that moment. The cramps, etc. You know … this kind of stuff was just not talked about back then! In the same way that a man, lying in a tub, looks down at his penis, and contemplates it … and other men would understand that, and know they have done such things … the mystique of the genitalia does not exist in such casual moments.


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This is rather revolutionary, if you look at the literature of the time. You are missing not just her humanity, but your own. Joyce said he wanted to end the book with the most positive word in the English language — which gives you some idea of his thoughts on the book as a whole.

And Molly — who has been unseen and yet omnipresent thru the entire book — suddenly takes center stage. Why is she making him a cuckold? She is shaming him! Is she a whore? But then. She takes over the book. Joyce lets HER end the book — which seriously, is so amazing when you think about it.

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The ascendancy of the female … the real female: not the whore of The Circe episode, not the sweet virgin of The Nausicaa episode … but the wife. The human being. The flawed human being … who loves Leopold Bloom, and whose heart has broken since he distanced himself from her following the death of their son. She is a vibrant funny philosophical woman, with much forgiveness towards menfolk even with her sharp observations about how unfair much of life is for women — she lies in bed, and aches for her marriage.

Aches for the Bloom who had made love to her on the hills at Howth a memory that he has already shared with us, the reader … She remembers how his mouth felt, and her breasts, and the way the rhododendrons were … It is the sweetest most loving memory she has. You have to work hard to make sense of it and find the punctuation on your own. The sentences, even without periods and commas, just fall into place. And at first, Penelope does not even recognize her husband.

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She only believes it is him when he describes their bed to her. The voice of Molly, in this chapter, is not rambling, or incoherent. But it has something in it of a doubling-back, a word-assocation — puns leading to other thoughts, jokes made to herself … sudden swoops of romanticism, punctuated by menstrual cramps. So: she is everything. She becomes — oddly enough — the entire human race , in all its messiness, beauty, pettiness, and physical limitations. But her voice itself is hypnotic, almost scary at first … we are so deeply inside her, and up until this point in the book we have only heard things about her, and judged her behavior … and Joyce does not prepare us for what happens in the last episode.

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Preview — Joyce's Awakening by Amanda Sandton. Joyce has just turned forty.


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She holds down an important job as a Chief Probation Officer but her personal life is bleak. She is still a virgin - lonely and sexually unfulfilled. Out of the blue she receives a visit from a TV company. They present her with an offer to take part in a new reality show which will feature her deflowering. She is affronted and refuses point bla Joyce has just turned forty. She is affronted and refuses point blank to accept the proposition. Then she meets the 'lover' they have lined up for her.

This is Part 1 of Joyce's four-part story. Originally published as "Joyce 1" Get A Copy.

Joyce's Awakening

Kindle Edition , 71 pages. More Details First Time at Forty 1. Other Editions 2. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Joyce's Awakening , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details.


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  4. More filters. Sort order. Aug 30, Bookfetish rated it liked it. Although I quite enjoyed this first book in the series, the series totally deteriorated after this book. However I rated this one a three as it did keep my interest going, at least until the third book in the series. Mar 30, Rachel Mckenna rated it it was amazing. Thank goodness someone wrote about women over the age of 21!!! The writing is very good as is the story line however implausible it is for a woman to still be a virgin at age 40 in this day and age.

    Looking forward to reading more. Elizabeth Stevenson rated it really liked it Jul 17, Angi rated it really liked it Oct 03, Barbara rated it liked it Jun 06, Kirstie rated it it was amazing Jul 29, Ann Gillies rated it liked it Aug 11, Kee Patterbee rated it liked it May 17, Seychelles21 rated it really liked it May 16, Rebecca rated it liked it Jun 09, John Ward rated it really liked it Aug 08, Roxann Gambler rated it it was amazing Jun 26, Miranda King marked it as to-read Jul 03, Melissa Caldwell Brady marked it as to-read Jul 04,



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