Molloy (novel) Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 40 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Molloy.
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Molloy (novel) Summary & Study Guide Description

Molloy (novel) Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Molloy (novel) by Samuel Beckett.

The following version of this book was used to create this study guide: Beckett, Samuel. Three Novels: Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnameable. Translated by Samuel Beckett and Patrick Bowles. Grove Press, 2009.

First published in 1947 in French, Molloy is the first part of a trilogy of novels written by Samuel Beckett. The English translation of the novel was published 1955 by Beckett himself, in collaboration with writer and translator Patrick Bowles. Molloy is divided into two Chapters, both 85 pages long – the first is from the perspective of Molloy, a wandering man who suffers from several physical ailments, particularly an impaired leg, and the second from an “agent” named Jacques Moran, who is tasked with finding Molloy.

Molloy opens with an unidentified voice claiming, “I am in my mother’s room. It is I who live there now. I don’t know how I got there” (3). Soon it is revealed that this is a man named Molloy who leaves his mother’s room to go find her, even though she might be dead. To this end, Molloy gets on his bicycle and travels through an unnamed town, but gets stopped by the police for riding in a lewd manner, even though the reason he does so is because he has an impaired leg and uses crutches to get around. After getting released, Molloy continues travelling, and accidentally runs over a dog. The owner of a dog, a woman named Lousse, asks him to come back to her house to help her with the burial; Molloy ends up staying with her for an unidentified amount of time, but presumably several weeks. After leaving without his bicycle, Molloy travels to the seaside, and spends some time there, sucking on stones and reflecting on various topics. Walking in no particular direction, he ends up in a forest, beats a man in the woods to death without reason, and ends up in a ditch. Hearing a voice telling him that help is coming, Molloy reflects on past events, while listening to the birds in the sky.

The second chapter is from the perspective of Jacques Moran, an “agent” assigned to find Molloy by a mysterious boss named Youdi. Moran explains that he is writing a report about the mission to his boss Youdi, and that the events of the mission occurred in the past. Prior to this mission, Moran lives in a comfortable home with his son (also named Jacques) and his housekeeper Martha in a town called “Turdyba.” Moran sets out on the mission with his son, and they initially travel by foot across the countryside and then through a forest to “Molloy’s country,” a place called Ballyba. When Moran’s son is sent out to purchase a bicycle because Moran also suffers from an impaired leg, Moran encounters two strangers, and kills the second one, without a given reason. Moran’s son eventually leaves, and Youdi’s messenger Gaber arrives, telling Moran to return home. After returning to his home, Moran writes the conclusion of his report – he claims that a “voice” told him to write it. The final words of the novel, a reversal of the opening words, suggest that the report is in fact a fabrication.

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This section contains 539 words
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