Discuss the use of letters and their significance in narrative technique in the novel Ulysses by James Joyce.

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The letters in Ulysses stand apart as a totally separate form of discourse, underlining the difference between Milly's writing, which has a specific audience and purpose, and Joyce's, which is much more ambiguous.

Unlike the novel in which they appear, the letters exist within Bloom's fictional world, and our reading of them is mediated by the conditions under which they were written. That is, Milly's letters to Bloom are meant to be communications between Milly and Bloom, separate from (although still a part of) Joyce's larger, much more diffuse rendering of Bloom's day.

Take, for instance, Milly's letter to Bloom in chapter 4. The text of the letter appears in amidst Joyce's impressionistic rendering of Bloom returning with letters to Molly, still in bed, and his making tea and cooking a bit of kidney. Milly's voice stands out distinctly from Joyce's stream-of-consciousness narrative; her idiosyncratic writing style requires some deciphering, both by Bloom and the reader. Bloom reads the letter twice and launches into a series of memories and associations about Milly.

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