It is a compilation of the thoughts of Molly Bloom, the randy, concert-singing wife of advertising agent Leopold Bloom whose wanderings around Dublin are followed in much of the book. The very last word of the book are:
"...I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes. "
When James Joyce finally writes frankly the thoughts passing through Molly's mind, the result is striking because it is much different from the over-intellectual ramblings of her husband and the other main character, Stephen Dedalus. It concludes Ulysses on a relatively passionate note.
Ulysses is famous for introducing stream of consciousness to fiction. Characters' thoughts, fragments of memory and fantasies are mixed with input from the outside world. Despite Joyce's attempts to replicate the flow of sensation through characters' minds with a diverse repertoire of literary effects, it is doubtful that anyone has such intelligible thought processes as the characters in Ulysses do. Vast stretches of mental time are often passed without any thoughts that are expressed internally in words. This is a failing of the stream-of-consciousness method. An author must either include blank pages, pages of scribbling, musical notes, etc., or give up the pretence that one is reproducing the mental process. An author has to acknowledge that out of the nearly infinite range of daily human experience he is selecting specific items to put together artificially to represent through language what is largely inarticulate.
The stream-of-consciousness approach introduced by Joyce has had a great effect on modern writing, but Ulysses may be the over-the-top experiment that has allowed other writers to use the technique selectively as it is appropriate in their writing.