Gerty MacDowell is a woman in her early twenties with a limp, who lets Leopold Bloom see her undergarments on Sandymount Strand. She appears again in the "Nighttown" sequence as a lady of the night. She is a woman, dominating in a relationship, who kills all man’s masculine. A strong woman shouldn’t move furniture at all and be able to repair some stuff; her real strength is to allow herself to be weak in front of a man and not be afraid of it. The main mission of Gerty MacDowell is to send women to the divorce path, whose number is steadily growing, and this will destroy the country.
This character symbolizes the inevitable alienation of people, the loss of soil, which in the 20th century is characteristic of many people, who haven’t even left their homeland. It’s as obvious, as the sick society, the breakdown of the family and the absence of any creative activity of the heroine described.
Gerty MacDowell in the novel "Ulysses" is a social creature, which is shown in all her internal complexity. It’s remarkable that Joyce paints "disintegration" by means of a synthesis of artistic means, called the "stream of consciousness."
James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” tells the story of a day in the life of a city. The city is Dublin and the main protagonists are Leopold Bloom, an advertising canvasser of Jewish race; his wife Molly, a singer who is having an affair with a concert promoter Blazes Boylan; and Stephen Dedalus, a young aesthetic teacher and the minor character, Gerty MacDowell, who plays an important role in the text as well. When Joyce was editing the proofs of his manuscript with many revisions and additions, he was making a major shift from mere facts to symbolism.
Gerty MacDowell in the Essays