Thursday, May 1, 2008

The art of imitation...

In Episode 18, Molly reveals that her daughter Milly is very similar to the way that she was when she was Milly’s age. The shared likeness of mother and daughter makes the death of Rudy even more apparent as Bloom has no son to emulate him and take after him. Even thought Bloom attempts to foster a relationship between himself and Stephen, Milly is firmly secured to Molly. While Molly expresses slight jealously at Milly writing her father long letters while she is away and not including her, Molly knows that Milly is her daughter in every sense of the word. Not only are there names almost the exact same, but Milly’s behavior mimics the actions of her mother.

There seems to be an underlying competition between Molly and Milly in the final episode of the novel. Molly thinks about the times when Milly was still in the house with her and Bloom and the comments she would make regarding her mother’s appearance. Milly would tell her mother, “your blouse is open too low she says to me the pan calling the kettle blackbottom” (767). Milly recognizes and comments on Molly’s blatant sexuality and yet, can’t help but imitate her mother’s behavior. Molly, too, feels the need to remark about her daughter’s appearance and burgeoning sexuality. She thinks to herself about Milly, “her tongue is a bit too long for my taste” (767). Molly seems to hold a complicated perspective towards Milly: she wants her to enjoy her experiences but at the same time, there is an underlying jealousy and competition between mother and daughter that occasionally surfaces and reveals itself.

Milly will no doubt follow her mother’s example and become, we can only assume, very much like Molly. Bloom is surrounded by Molly…even his daughter will become almost identical to his adulterous and sexual wife. We see that Molly will live on in Milly but where does this leave Bloom?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Molly the Pure

Upon the conclusion of the last episode, I have come to realize that my views of the characters in Ulysses have changed radically over the course of the novel. The point of view of a single character was not enough to fully define Stephen, Bloom, or even Molly.

Up until the last episode, Molly is characterized as an overtly promiscuous woman. Through the views of Bloom and the people he encounters over the course of the day, I thought of Molly as nothing more than a static character: an unfaithful wife.

We proceed through the novel with this viewpoint of Molly. Even Bloom, who lists her suitors in episode 17, doesn’t fully realize the Molly’s first act of infidelity was with Boylan. I did not apprehend Molly’s actions were a collective result of the aloofness of Bloom and lack of affection ever since the death of Rudy, but that she simply just exuded sex. I had already defined her as nothing more than an adulterer.

With this realization, I thought back to my preconceived notions of Bloom and Stephen. My views and how I characterized them were not based upon solely on their internal monologue, but more heavily based on how other characters in the novel viewed them. With Bloom in particular, we see conflicting characterizations as we are exposed to the novel’s protagonists.

The amalgamation of different viewpoints was necessary to understand each character. How I perceived Molly and how my definition of her was altered in the last episode was consistent with the change in my preconceptions and characterizations of the other main characters, and is what I should have expected from Joyce’s narrative.


on the topic of our main characters' happiness, i would daresay that none of the three (stephen, bloom, molly) is genuinely happy...

stephen is still mournfully moping around on account of his mother's death. he allows himself to be controlled by others (e.g. giving both money and housekey to mulligan). he seems to be overruled by his students in the classroom. he sees his own childhood in the pathetic face of one of his students, cyril sargent. he doesn't really even believe himself (e.g. when asked about his own view of his hamlet theory). like bloom, he doesn't stand up for himself (e.g. when mulligan asks for the housekey or when he feels left out having not been invited to the poet gathering). he evidently turns to drink to alleviate his misery, but then this only digs him into deeper trouble (e.g. with bella cohen and with the privates). he doesn't put much stake in his job or responsibilities as we see him tell his friend in the street that mr. deasy's school should have an opening for a teacher soon. he is apathetic throughout much of his conversation with bloom, and although he seems to cheer up from time to time... he overall demeanor seems hopeless.

bloom, as we have discussed, is also a victim of usurpation. he allows himself to be cuckholded by his wife, and the whole town knows it. i feel as though bloom tries to put on a happy face and go on with his life by ignoring his hurt. he knows about his wife's affair, and i suppose he knows that molly knows that he knows about the affair, yet he doesn't confront her about it. instead, he continues to let it happen, all the while allowing it fester in his mind throughout the whole day. he simply can't take his mind off of it. everything reminds him of molly. he is also frequently reminded of his son's premature death, and this is obviously another source of depression for bloom. like i said, i feel like he outwardly maintains a facade of content, but i think his deeper psychological feelings escape in episode fifteen. i tend to see his hallucinations in episode fifteen as manifestations of his repressed feelings (e.g. the transformation of himself into a woman represents his relationship with molly, the elevation of himself to a position of power perhaps represents a desire to make something greater of his life, the apparition of his deceased son addresses his sadness at never having been able to father a boy and pass on his lineage, etc.). however, bloom puts great priority in his responsibilities (e.g. securing advertisements for the paper, helping the dignam family, visiting the hospital on account of mrs. purefoy's childbearing), and maybe this is his way of taking his mind off of his problems and pushing forward with day to day life. thus, we see him take on a final responsibility of the day to help stephen through the night.

molly does not seem genuinely happy either, though perhaps she does the best of job of masking her unhappiness (or maybe it only seems this way because we are limited to one episode's worth of her thoughts). molly seems to simply take life as it comes to her. her lack of guilt allows her to be selfish; thus, getting her way in most situations prevents her from dwelling too much on her troubles. as we see in episode eighteen, when she begins to think about something depressing (i.e. rudy), she quickly tells herself to not dwell on such gloomy thoughts. thus, molly is not necessarily happy, but because she is always in control, she can sort of feign a certain sort of happiness/content to herself that prevents her from ever being too depressed... if that makes sense...

episode eighteen questions...

1. does molly's final perspective serve to change the way you view other characters/events? how so?

2. why does joyce choose to neglect punctuation in the final episode (save for the very last period)?

3. how do molly's thoughts differ from the thoughts of our other main characters (i.e. stephen and bloom)?

4. why does joyce give us only one chapter of molly?

Monday, April 28, 2008


The topic came up in class about what the period at the end of the 17th Chapter really meant, and the following lack of punctuation in chapter 18. The explanations we came up with were as follows
1.The big period represented unconsciousness of bloom at the end of the chapter
2.Big period meant "THE END"
3.Big period meant a big hole and that something was missing, in this case Molly's perspective

The lack of punctuation reasons we came up with were
1.No puncuation helps stream of consciousness
2.Molly cannot be "constrained" by punctuation
3.Ulysses "used up" all the ink allotted to punctuation.

Some other explanations i came up with were
1.The big period represents the "impotent void" to which bloom as banished the thought of Molly's suitors
2.The lack of punctuation is a "joke" by ulysses to represent his feeling that the book is getting long and needs to end, showing this by being lazy about punctuation. This is supported by the use of his name by molly essentially asking for the story to just end all ready

What do you guys think?


The point made in the Ithaca episode that Bloom is scientific while Stephen is artistic highlights a defining characteristic of Stephen- his tendency towards abstraction. There’s nothing wrong with this except that Stephen takes it so far that it cripples and diminishes his reality, his existence in the present. The artist, he thinks, must be free from all prisons, and so he abandons his family (a physical and psychological prison) to poverty. He chooses to follow his abstraction, his idea of what the artist should be, and so he must live with his conscience- referenced in his repetition of the phrase “agenbite of inwit”- which makes him miserable. His reality is one of suffering because he chooses to satisfy his abstract ideals.

While sitting
in the hospital awaiting the birth of Mina Purefoy’s child, Buck says to Stephen that “it is as painful perhaps to be awakened from a vision as to be born.” As the one in the role of artist and prophet, Stephen is the one with the vision, the idea of how things should be. He is awakened repeatedly from it by reality, which does not always match up with his abstractions. He takes his name from his father Dedalus, and as the son of Dedalus he is likened to the figure of Icarus. Just as Icarus tried to fly too close to the sun and came crashing down, Stephen relies too much on abstraction and the power of his mind, and comes crashing down.

In the Circe episode
we learn that Stephen broke his glasses yesterday. He cannot see clearly, physically and mentally. Because he is stuck with his abstractions, he ignores the reality of the way things really are. He guilt over his mother’s death shows in his fear of the lightning, which he perceives to be a reminder of his own death. Bloom, however, gives him the scientific explanation of lightning. Bloom is a lot more physical than Stephen. The first time we see him he is eating a kidney- he “ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls.” As his father figure, he balances out Stephen’s mentality. Stephen is the “beautiful ineffectual dreamer who comes to grief against hard facts” (184).


Usurpers play a huge role in unveiling the events of the day. There is an argument for almost every character to be a usurper in one way or another. Some of the obvious ones are Buck and Boylan. I would argue that our three main characters also have some usurper-like qualities about them, but of course Joyce doesn’t bring anything to closure as to who THE usurper of the novel is. With all this usurping going on, I’d like to lay out a few reasons I think the main characters might be called usurpers to maybe spark an idea for a paper topic (as I’m taking the test).

Stephen: Usurper of his mother’s faith. Buck criticizes him for this in Telemachus and I think Stephen is haunted by the ghost of his mother for this very reason. Stephen also somewhat usurps Bloom’s feelings of paternity for him by not reciprocating the connection as well as Bloom would like. I think the case for this is reinforced in Ithaca, as the differences between the two are more clearly defined (for instance in the song about the murderous Jewish daughter), and could provide an interesting spin on the way Stephen’s identity as Telemachus in the novel.

Molly & Bloom: We view most of the novel from Bloom’s side of the Boylan-Molly affair. Therefore, it is easy to call Molly a usurper of fidelity and of Bloom’s love, as we see the estrangement that has come upon Bloom as a result. However, in Penelope we get a taste of Molly’s side, and see that Bloom is wrong in his assumption of her having many suitors. Boylan is her first compromise of their marriage. She feels Bloom has distanced himself from her and may be having fun of his own. Having seen both sides now, I can see Molly and Bloom as being usurpers of each other. However, this doesn’t seem to drive them apart. Instead, Bloom comes to terms with Molly’s affair and Molly seems to choose Bloom at the end of Penelope.

Some Thoughts on Parallax

If I had to point to a single theme as the novel's most important, it would be parallax, but not for its obvious use to underscore the variation of observational perception.
The great challenge -- and one might say responsibility -- Joyce undertook in writing Ulysses was to present Ireland, Irish culture, and what it meant to be Irish in 1904 Dublin, in a manner that was both authentic and pleasing to EVERY Irishman. But Ulysses was not merely a regional production. Therefore Joyce had to present, as nearly as possible, his beloved native culture to the entire world without over-glamorizing but still offering thorough and complete coverage of it.
Yet there isanother audience a man of such confidence and brilliance writes for -- the future. Therefore Joyce had to balance the expectations of audiences across ideological, cultural, and temporal lines and produce a work that would not only appeal to each audience, but also, ideally, effect the same emotional reaction from each demographic of his readership.
Because the novel has sustained, and in fact grown, in popularity since the time of its publication, I would go as far as to project that Joyce included concept in parallax in the book because it was an issue foremost on his mind.
Anyone dig this?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Important Concepts from the text

For those who are taking the exam (and even those writing the papers) I figured this is as good of a forum as any to collectively gather thoughts on the main themes of the novel.

Immediately coming to mind are themes such as Agenbite of Inwit, Parallax, and metempsychosis. From what I have gathered from the text these are some of my interpretations, but this is a great way to start adding and commenting on ideas so we all have a good understanding of what should have been focused on from the epic.

Agenbite of Inwit discusses the idea of regret within one's conscious. This can be associated with all three main characters: Stephen, Bloom, and Molly. In Stephen's case his regret as not being as successful as a poet as he would have liked to be at this point in his lifetime, along with his thoughts on how to handle his younger sisters as they live in poverty and whether he should attempt to work to help them or to avoid being "drug down with them". Also included is Stephen's possible regret towards how he handled the death of his mother.

Parallax- Dealing with the view of different matters from more than one perspective. Not only does this help us to more deeply learn about the characters, but also to look into some truth into each matter. A couple examples that come to mind are everyone's thoughts towards Molly's possible affair and then her own reflection at the very end of the novel and the different perspectives on Stephen and Bloom. Not only Bloom's attempt at a more intimate relationship with Stephen that he does not reciprocate as Bloom may have wanted, and each minor character's view on each of them.

Idea of Paternity- Obviously this mostly focuses around Bloom and Stephen, Stephen and his lack of a relationship with Simon, then Bloom after the death of his son Rudy and his need for another "son".

Any and all other ideas are a great way to start developing thoughts as the semester comes to a close.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


we have discussed several episodes as representing the climax of joyce's novel, and so there really may be no definitive climactic episode. however, i feel like episode 15, circe, exemplifies the climax of the novel as it is the last action-packed scene before the novel drops off and winds down with the final three episodes.

episode 15 finally brings bloom and stephen together for an extended period of time, and we see bloom truly doing his best to look after stephen (his "son"). we see almost all of the characters from throughout the novel reappear in random situations, though it is sometimes difficult to discern whether these characters have actually reappeared or are simply being imagined. although we have seen some crazy things thus far, episode 15 definitely contains the craziest of the crazy. as we discussed in class, the whole scene portrayed throughout episode 15 is nightmarish, and i almost feel like the characters are in a war-zone.

i didn't particularly like episode 15, but i can accept it for what it is... a nonsensical string of events complete with plenty of drunken banter. wiki or no wiki, i do not understand half of what is being talked about in episode 15... but i feel like i'm not necessarily supposed to understand it. i mean, in reality, drunken banter often doesn't make sense. whereas much of the book tends to describe situations almost in slow motion, episode 15 runs at a much quicker pace. then, stephen is knocked out in the street, and the novel (as well as the long day) begins to taper toward it's end.

In response to clay...

I agree Joyce's undertaking is rich with a robust confidence. However, I don't know that his references are made with the purpose of being unintelligible to the rest of the world, as I believe T.S Elliot's The Wasteland was. The references are overwhelmingly Irish and personal. In bringing in the names of common people around the town and noting the physical setting of 1904 Dublin, it makes the book a standing relic of IRISH history, and I believe that was the point. To write a thoroughly IRISH classic to be cannonized in literary glory for all time. Allusions to endings or deaths reappear throughout the novel, and it seems Joyce's goal was to ensure that the Irish spirit captured in the novel, along with its physical artifacts, remain intact for as long as possible.
Furthermore, the "Irishness" of the book also seems to reveal an intent to overwhelm any specifically ENGLISH works. The obscure allusions throughout are clearly Irish, and often reflect the collective anti-English sentiment of the Irish people. This serves not so much as an attack against England, but to further ensure that it is an independent Ireland, in spirit and mind if not in reality, that is forever remembered.
In short, the fact Joyce believed he could cannonize Ireland with one wholly Irish novel. The fact he presumed greatness is a reflection of him being aware of his talents as well as his confidence in the Irish spirit. The references, though certainly obscure, don't flaunt knowledge as much as Irish pride.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Something that was mentioned in passing during class made me think….. Ulysses is generally considered one of the great epics of all time. This is what Joyce set out to accomplish. From the beginning of his decade long ordeal, Joyce wanted to create an epic novel that told the story of his Ireland. It was generally considered a success. What I wonder is whether this is common of the works that are considered “classics.” Did Melville intend for Moby Dick to become what is was or did the story develop somewhat on its own? How many authors set out with goals of leaving the masses in awe and how many write only for themselves? Given the overall tone in Ulysses, I would argue that Joyce set out with a bit of arrogance. He wanted to show everyone else what he knew and understood and what they never would. This is probably inherent to any “epic.” I just wonder how common that is in the rest of literary world.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

a good influence...

Episode #17: Ithaca: We finally get to see Bloom and Stephen interacting with one another in an intimate, private setting without all of the distractions of Dublin interfering in their conversation and interrupting their attempts at forming a meaningful, sustainable relationship. It seems that, for the most part, over the course of the pair’s day in the city, Bloom kept attempting to connect with Stephen on a personal level and forge a friendship with the younger man that never really took hold. For example, when the two men meet up in the maternity hospital, Stephen has already been drinking at the pub and is well passed being able to hold a meaningful dialogue, as witnessed by his drunken rambling at the end of Episode 14. They then proceed to the brothel, where Stephen separates from Bloom and reunites later on even more intoxicated and unable to fulfill Bloom’s wishes of someone who he could really connect with.

Until reading this particular episode, it always appeared that Bloom was the instigator of the relationship between himself and the younger Stephen in order to replace his lost son Rudy and provide him the much needed paternal outlet that he has so desperately craved for all of these years. Stephen seemed to merely acquiesce to Bloom’s insistence that he watch over and help Stephen through the night. Bloom was the one who seemed invested in creating and maintaining a connection with Stephen.

However, in this Episode, it seems that Bloom does act as an influence to Stephen and is compared with some of the other significant people that have been threaded through the course of Stephen’s young life. After Bloom lights a candle to lead the pair throughout the house, Joyce plays on the idea of “lighting fire” and Stephen begins to think about the many people who have metaphorically illuminated his path. “Of what similar apparitions did Stephen think? / Of others elsewhere in other times who, kneeling on one knee or two, had kindled fires for him” (670). Some of the names that appear in the list are: Brother Michael, Father Butt, his sister Dilly, his mother, and his father, and now Bloom. Bloom joins the ranks of religious Fathers and immediate family members in the select group of people who have meant something meaningful and influential to Stephen. We see now that the burgeoning relationship between Bloom and Stephen is not one sided but rather has impacted Stephen as well. Another interesting thing about this passage is that the very institutions that have influenced Stephen the most are the very ones that he attempts to extricate himself from: religion and family. Perhaps to be a source of inspiration also implies becoming a source of burden, as well.

Dead Languages as a Bond

In Episode 17 Stephen and Blooms bond is exemplified by several interactions. One interaction in particular involves the Stephen and Bloom saying a phrase to each other in the respective "dying languages"(this is somewhat arguable regarding hebrew) of their culture.

"What fragments of verse from the ancient Hebrew and ancient Irish languages were cited with modulations of voice and translation of texts by guest to host and by host to guest?

By Stephen: SUIL, SUIL, SUIL ARUN, SUIL GO SIOCAIR AGUS SUIL GO CUIN (walk, walk, walk your way, walk in safety, walk with care).43

By Bloom: KIFELOCH, HARIMON RAKATEJCH M’BAAD L’ZAMATEJCH44 (thy temple amid thy hair is as a slice of pomegranate)."

These passages do not seem to have any particular significance regarding the plotline, but the fact that they utilized these dying languages gives them a certain link. Perhaps Joyce uses this occurance to represent how both of them feel somewhat distanced from their true heritage and the use of the languages is somewhat of a joint mourning. This shared mourning of their cultural distance provides another thread of commonality between Bloom and Stephen.
A somewhat weak interpretation of this exchange also suggests a re-enforcement of the father son bond. Hebrew and Jewish culture being the much older culture and Irish culture being significantly more recent.

Together: Bloom and Stephen (episode 17)

In Ithaca, the novel's 2nd to last episode, the reader is finally exposed to a situation where Bloom and Stephen are in a private, intimate environment where they can actually talk and interact on a one-on-one basis. However, it seems that Bloom is more in invested in the potential father-son relationship between himself and Stephen than Stephen is aware. The whole day Bloom has been essentially watching Stephen from afar and now that he is finally alone with Stephen he is attempting to foster a relationship between the two of them.
Although Stephen does reciprocate to an extent, the reader does not see the same anticipation in Stephen that Bloom posseses for spending time with Stephen. Unlike Telemachus who is searching for Odysessus, his long lost father, Stephen has stumbled across Bloom unintentionally as a source for parental guidance. On the other hand, Bloom's journey throughout the day has been in pursuit of Stephen
and has been driven by an underlying desire to serve as a potential father figure to a young man in need of guidance.
For Bloom, this episode not only mirrors Odysseus long awaited return to Ithaca because Bloom has also physically returned home but it also reflects Odysseus reemergence into the role he left as Telemachus' father. Odysseus is finally in a position to be Telemachus' father for the first time similar to how Bloom has finally connected enough with Stephen in this episode to provide him with advice and create a potential relationship that can be sustained in future days to come.

Cracked Looking Glass of the Servant

In the first spidoe Stephen points to Buck's mirror and says, "It is a symbol of Irish art. The cracked looking glass of the servant." This idea of art can be applied to the novel as a whole. Ulysses focuses not on historic royalty, the larger-than-life warriors, but on the servants, the commoners. Stephen calls himself, at one points, a servant of three masters.

His looking glass, then, his (and maybe therefore Joyce's?) art, is not reality but his reflection of reality. The novel's theme of parallax is exemplified in this metaphor. The mirror's imperfections and cracks are likened to different perspectives, different fragments of thoughts. The traditional epic has one narrator, but the importance Joyce places on the cracks of the mirror show in his choice of narration; the narrative displays multiplicity, seemingly disjointed ideas from various characters, and includes as question/answer episode, a hallucinatory episode, an episode written like a screenplay, etc.

When reading the line about the cracked looking glass I thought of a line in a T.S. Eliot poem I'd read for a previous class... "These fragments I have shored against my ruins." I'm probably missing a good bit of his meaning, but I took the fragments to be in the same vein as Joyce's cracked mirror, the fragments being different experiences. The modernist writers seem to be focused on the idea of reality as subjective. The idea of producing meaning from fragmentation, from a piece of the whole, is also exemplified in the book's structure- the twenty-four hour setting.

That's what I make of Stephen's line. I'm hesitant about it, however, because I don't understand why Joyce would say it's a symbol of Irish art, instead of a symbol of modern art, or simply art in general.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ithaca Questions

1. Now that Bloom and Stephen are finally together does one believe that their interactions reflect a father-son relationship? Is one investing more in the other or view the relationship as more than it actually is?

2. How does the title Ithaca reflect what is going on in this episode?

3. How are Bloom and Stephen different yet the same? Whatdo you propose the oath their relationship will take in the future?

4. How is Joyce's style in this episode compare to previous episodes? Why does he choose to write this way for the 2nd to last episode? Does it relate to the content or the importance of what occurs in the second to last episode of this 24 hour novel?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Imitation: Molly, Milly and Boylan

    Boylan arrived early. Casual blue suit, light hat. He scaled the stairs with gentle ease. Milly! Go get some milk and meat. Better to preserve the façade.

            Mr. Boylan! – starting to enjoy fucking him. Music first? “Let’s get to it.” Smile like a mirror. Desire, shame at once. Maybe we’ll just sing. No. No going back.

            The routine was going well. Her voice on top of his. Rehearsing the climax of Bartell D’Arcy’s famous love ballad. The melody flows smoothly, seamless nohw. There are traces of love in his pitch. But not in his tempo, too rough; made her feel cheap, their tryst a simple exchange of favors.

            What was Boylan, Who was her husband? Music couldn’t atone for everything. Too much pain, too many reminders all about. Bloom’s suffocating foreskin, his unbearable deference, limitless as his ignorance. All of it depressed her, even Milly. Maybe her mother had been right, maybe -- it was time to embrace and hear about his struggles. Money squabbles, paranoia and, of course, his unfulfilled dreams. Men always had such unreasonable goals. But then, what else did one have?

            She glanced at the two photos on the dresser. The life she chose and the dreams it stole. They co-existed in a peaceful way. The pictures, like the dreams behind them, had had the best of intentions; they never quarreled then, no sense starting now.

            Milly. Her voice radiated in the day. Tickled even the most decrepit soul. Perhaps the vessel intended to deliver Molly’s inner-most hopes. But it was round two, and Boylan was filling the holes at present.

            Milly had heard the muffled pleasure sounds before, but the carnal euphoria went without restraint in her absence. Grizzly noise. Shrill smack of flesh. Too vivid. Something had to be done.

            Milly approached her mother’s room. Sinful door. Illusions of human fancy unwittingly brittle on each side. Mommy near climax.

            The filth was thicker under Milly’s gaze. Ego death. Masses of tangled humanity connected my intimate flesh. His throbbing erection. Her grateful vagina, slathered in the juices of love. Extensive pause broken, privacy restored.

            Molly lay in the sweat. Stunk of heartbreak. Dresser. White gown, fans and the charcoal piano player; the comfort of promise. Loose gown, three forms and two smiles of naïve idealism. THE END.

            Made the mirror. Womanly curves, mother’s daughter to the eye. Father’s portrait in the reflection. Pity over her left shoulder. Subdued orgasms scratching her soul’s left ear.

            They finished. She came. He inside of her. Her idea. Faked it. She more than he.

            Down the stairs, out the door – And where? Darkness setting in. Her father’s hat. Bobbing with a gay purity. She would wait for him inside his gate.

            Upstairs practicing was over. She hoped music would go on. Did it for the music anyhow. Voice slipped, needed a talented partner -- Right? Professional departure, formal greeting. Three souls at dinner. A portrait. THIS is life then? The End?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Joyce Imitation: Father Conmee

Hours Later The Very Reverend John Conmee returned to his old Jesuit Chapel at Clongowes Wood College to read and think back on his lovely day. Erroris ex humanis, profiteer quod penitentia est optimus via oro per Deus. He recants of the couple protruding from the light bush and the one-legged sailor. He thinks about the priestly duty to bless all of God’s children even though some make wrong decisions. This sailor clearly was one of them.

- Those who sin must recant to remain in God’s light to keep away from the darkness of Lucifer.

He reaches back in his satchel for a book which reminded him much of Ave as he sits in the rectory. As he flips page after page, solemnly he reminisces about those in the unfortunate lands inhabited by the unbaptized ones. He ponders whether there are Jesuit monasteries in those lands for the colored men and women so that they may be saved from eternal punishment. The romantics reveled the meaning of those who were not baptized. He knows that those of Dublin have him to confide in with their troubles.

As he begins to read again he hears the opening of the parish door behind him. He had always looked in favor of those who pray daily and visit the church. Turning to see who has graced him with their presence, he notices that it is McDonnell, a man he had once met at a gathering at the house of Mrs. Michaels originally from the Welshland. Conmee tipped his hat to McDonnell as he dipped his hand in holy water and did the sign of the cross. Interesting, the priest thought as McDonnell slowly approached him with the scent of Guinness on his breath.

- I am looking to be healed, are you free for confession?

Getting up quietly, he gestured McDonnell over to the booth as he entered. McDonnell opened the door on the other side of the confession booth and noisily sat down on the other side of the divider.

- Et nomine Patris, et Fili, et Spiriti Sancte...

Seeming impatient, McDonnell interrupts Father Conmee as if in a hurry to repent his sins. The priest, thinking back to his first encounter with the Dedalus boy, thinks of those who do not put God as their savior and the inevitable afterlife that men like him will unfortunately lead. Unlike Dignam, sileo in pacis, when Stephen dies God will not be there to take away his sins and lead him to heaven.

- What is it my son, what are your sins?

McDonnell portrays a long, seemingly vague story about a man who has coveted his wife who is of the Jewish descent, hailing from Germany. As the holy priest listens in on this man’s tale, with hatred in his voice, Father thinks on how men and woman commit acts upon those who are married. What condescending thoughts. As the priest finished up the confession with the drunken man, all Father Conmee can think about is his pity rather than sympathy for this man. How well I am respected in this community are his final thoughts.

joyce imitation: dilly dedalus

Mourir. Mourant. Mort.
Partir, c’est mourir un peu.

Dilly lingered longingly over the tattered pages of the Chardenal’s French primer. Silly to splurge. Precious little we have. Ought not waste for wont of selfish indulgences. Have nothing but scanty scraps on which to live. Already sold most of Stephen’s abandoned books for a beggarly sum of a few bobs. And can’t bear to beg Sister Mary Patrick again… Oh! But what left? Kitty and Boody. Must manage this morning to make some meager change before my regretful return to our hollow home.

Boire. Buvant. Bu.
Quand le vi nest tire, il faut le boire.

Father? Perhaps pity will prompt him to provide a paltry few for his own penniless progeny. Not promising. Reckon he’s up at the Scotch House on William’s row right now as I stand at this spot. Sickens me to seek charity on so many occasions, but I know he squanders his skimpy savings on such sinful drink. But what left?!

Manger. Mangeant. Mangé.
Il faut manger pour vivre, et non vivre pour manger.

Clipclop. Clipclop.
A horse-drawn carriage careened ‘round the cobbled corner, stealing Dilly’s attention. Her gloomy gaze, drifting upward from the Chardenal’s French primer, watched the carriage clipclop down the course before settling upon a solitary bird across the way, hopping happily about beneath the bent boughs of a big tree. Dilly watched as the tiny creature burrowed it’s bitty beak into the damp dirt amid the dewsoaked grass. Searching the soft soil for a wiggly worm with which to feed it’s waiting young, the seablue bird finally found a good grub. Gracefully, the feathered friend flew up to find a fitting branch where it rested for a moment before returning to it’s short-neglected nest.

Even birds not for wont of food, thought Dilly.

Vivre. Vivant. Vécu.
L’espoir fait vivre.

Joyce Imitation: Master Dignam

Master Dignam approached home and could here ma’s voice and the chattering of the visitors, a colony of gulls. They noticed him enter and moved in toward him surrounding him to shower him with their sorrowwords. Master Dignam felt their presence closing in, smothering him as if with a thick blanket. He flicked his eyes toward Ma as if pleading for a rescue but her eyes were distant as if gazing at another world. He dealt with these intruders upon his house in the usual way if not longtime way. He listened, he nodded, he quivered in fear, he offered them his wallet hoping against hope that he would not be killed this very night and at last the danger had passed. The ruffians had left him alone without dignity, but with his life. If only his father had been in danger from vagrants such as these, where one’s body has a chance of life, due to, if not human compassion, human unpredictability. This is in stark contrast to the unfeeling, finality of a drowningwater.

Intoxicated as he was, he could sense the encroaching water in a small wave from a passing barge. He could feel its cold, probing fingers on his toes but the feeling was not unpleasant, they were as the fingers of a lover he had long missed, calling him to continue in and not just that, but to cover himself within her loving embrace. He longed to do so, so he complied. As his breathe wained he smiled as the euphoria overtook him.

He approached his ma and embraced her, able to sense the pain and suffering which his father had inflicted upon her. Master Dignam was sad for his mother. She was griefstricken over her husband and who was left to support her but him. He was nothing, not even truly a man he could depend on for himself, let alone a provider for his mother. This was a problem he could set out to solve, at least he could try. He left the gaggle of visitants hovering around his ma once more and set out to cure this one poxmark upon his manhood.

He had long considered what his prenticeship would be but the water had stolen him that possibility as apprentices don’t’ receive wages. This was a sad state of affairs no doubt, but easily surmountable right.

He picked up a box, this was quite heavy and unlike most of them, packaged well enough that nothing inside moved. This was a most interesting and unusual event so his mind clung to it, wondering at what could be inside this box that was so well packed. Maybe it was an expensive machine of some kind or maybe it was a body, bloated by water and returned to him in a nice little package. As his thoughts had quickly turned a poor direction as he again began his routine of thinking of nothing. Not even the emptiness of sleep makes time proceed at a velocity of blankthought. This is a technique one learns quickly being a slave to the docks.

Joyce Imitation: Dilly

e4 e5

The city marshal playing some gaunt fellow in a scruffy gray jacket. Queen's Raid. Poor fellow hope they didn't put money on it. So complex, millions of possibilities, a labyrinth of a game. The masters can play multiple games simultaneously. Koltanowski played a 34-game blindfold simul. Wish I could. Move on.

Ah another another another. Wednesday follows Tuesday follows Monday follows- the milkman wants his due. Maggy blistering through her second pair of shoes. The magisterial witch of poverty rules her mastodonic kingdom. Thank goodness the pea soup from Sister Mary Patrick-

Father. Glimpse the trilobite. It's time for you... Give it up, father... Did you get any money? Hardly anything. Try again. No. Probably has enough for the Scotch house though. Today and tomorrow and the following and the following until he drowns his miserable- Dilly Dilly for shame he's your father. Move on.

Russia was it banned blindfold simuls. Too taxing on the brain and they caused dementia. Maybe it wasn't the game maybe it was the player. Genius and madness. Old pea soup and the daughters of Mother Ireland. Speak of-

Stephen! Forgot about the book. Shut it. Don't let see. Too late. Hurry through it. His eyes gray like mine. The fallen knight. Tell him we've pawned his books. Misery in his eyes. Why can't he come back. Move on. Your move.

The city marshal and the fellow still by the window. Ah he stopped the f7 mate. Good for him. Nimzo Indian defense, Alekhine defense, Queen's Gambit Declined, Modern, Caro-Kann, Sicilian, Two Knight's, French Scandinavian, Pirc...

The fellow's in a fix. Down two pieces and a few pawns. Must have given them up one by one to salvage the castling area. Sac the queen. Queen f5. Sac her! Come on. Or else he gets his rook to the d file and it's forced mate in three. See the unprotected file. Look at it! D for Dilly, decubitus duchess. All the descendants of Daedalus drowning in a dungeon dank. Save the queen and it's a sure loss. Sac the queen and it's a lengthy likely loss.


Marshal's slight smile. Turn away. Move on. No need to watch the mate. Queen sac was the only way I could see. No surrender. Sac the queen and forge through. The Irish defense.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Joyce Imitation of Cyril Sargent

Whack of the stick, he clumsily opens the door, spots his herd nearby. Shouts, Yelps, Thuds. Inevitable, inescapable. Looking down, his feet too large to be agile, Cyril de Bergerac makes his way to the field. Barely noticed, fly on the wall, he waits near the edge until –

- Here Sargent, you be on our team. Take this, Talbot said hurriedly, thrusting a hockey stick towards the ugly boys limp, pale hands.

Grasping the wood, he shuffles into the game, hesitant, uncertain. Entering into the world an unsure mass of limbs and joints, waiting to be formulated by a phrase. Numbers, equations merged into incomprehensible lines and shapes move through his mind. Numbers eleven through fifteen incorrect. Shame. Numbers sixteen through twenty also. Mr. Deasy’s eyes upon him, rose spreading through his face, down his neck, an emblem of embarrassment. Mother’s sympathy the only one. Waiting by the door at three, plump pale arms embrace and console, Mother Mary waiting for her one and only, offering soup and salvation, empathy and eternal life. The Holy Church of Mother Sargent, bow down on the alter of her bosom and send your prayers u.p: UP. Ball whacks against the wood, reverberating up into his hands and sliding down into his lanky body, escaped from the feet. Trembling flesh, quaking skin – shaking like the volcanoes they learned in last week’s class. Mount Vesuvius, eruptions create destruction. Priests agree. He lines up his stick and swings, the ball scuttles away slowly, clearing itself from the incapable player. Frailty, thy name is Cyril. Comyn hits, the ball sails. The game resumes, balance restored.

He pauses to feel. The tremors have dissipated, leaving behind a vague feeling of disappointment and regret. Its only him inside now. Hands reach up, up, up to his face, fingers clench around the metal of his glasses, his eyes his mother calls them, and pulls them off his head, releasing the metal circles that secure them to his ears. Reduction of the whole, splintered into parts. He holds his eyes in his hands. His mother bought them for him last month, walked to the store hand in hand, made it a trip, she always knew, carefully selected the perfect pair, gave him his sight. His mother, the creator. Prodigious birth of her one and only.

Long grass reaches up to him, inviting. The green of Erin. Longingly he stares at the long grass, longing to lay in its lushness. Perhaps, he thinks. He imagines the way the blades would caress his bare legs and tickle the sensitive palms of his hands. As a baby, they would stroke his palm with their fingers for hours. Infancy is bliss.


The ball whizzes by. Red as the lava in the pictures. Grabbing his stick, he will this time, lines up, swings back, connects. Connection of the ball to the body through the stick. He has become part of the game.

The Undertaker's Assistant

Corny Kelleher closed his long daybook and glanced with his drooping eye at a pine coffinlid sentried in a corner. A harrowing figure, the height and breadth of some unfortunate man, furnished to be filled by an empty body. Perhaps a lumberjack. Large, burly, have to stuff him tight like to make it work. So full then, and heavy, filled with the empty body. The bearer of the soulless. Furnished to bear the soulless. And I, a keeper of such furniture. What’s that?

He pulled himself erect. Water clouded his eye. The cursed eye. Mal from birth. Ay, a nuisance, he mutterd. The droop. The flaw. All have their burden. All have their strength. All will come to me in the end. He laid is long daybook at his side, each entry filled, each order satisfied. Gossip? Not now. They will tell me all later. He returned his gaze to the corner. Ah yes, the lid.

He went to it, spinning it on its axle, viewed its shape and brass furnishings. Cordially, he caressed its cornered crevices with candored care. Proportions acceptable, delectable even. Heaven forbid an imperfection in the doorway to hell. The eye moved, a perpetual intake of distortion, blurring deaths door in shades of brown and gold. His cloudy vision caught a certain glare off the coffin’s fittings, and the waft aroma of evergreen petted his nostrils, calling him to the forests of the lumberjack. The orders, the circling, the hacking, the slamming, the sawing, jamming, wedging, hammering, slating, grinding, TIMBER!

Crack and Thud. Brothers Grimm weaving a tale to end all tales. It fell the wrong way. Should have known better! Everyone accounted for? No. Found him, dead. They’ll be coming any moment now with the news. Need a coffin? Made from the pine that killed him. The fruits of his labors will harbor him. And I, the harborer of the harbor will guide him.

Chewing his blade of hay he laid the coffinlid by and came to the doorway. Perhaps a word with a constable. Perhaps some news of life without death. Perhaps. The taste of grass provokes his saliva. Inedible. At least by me. Cows eat it. I eat the cows, the cows eat the grass. Primitive circle. Need a coffin? No. The grass eats me. Sustained then devoured, prolonged then covered then decayed. Lid. Or no lid. Wood, brass, body, emptiness, all. I am the grass. I cover all. Let me work.

There he tilted his hatbrim to give shade to his eyes and leaned against the doorcase, looking idly out.

The Power of one

Down the street. Up ahead. A corner. Jack’s corner. Down. Do.Wn.

Boop. Boop. Prrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrt.

The smooth corner, jutting sharply and carefully to harvest danger.

--Not now! I’ll not be having another! Said Jack Power.

Not him again. Not the Jew. I’ll show him a taste of good ole Ireland. Wait now, he’s gone. Ah, better of it. Hungry. I’ve not eaten. Barney’s. Ah.

--Oy! Jack! Says Bella. Standing on needles, she yodled jollily.

Why had she come? Why had she screamed? Was she truly mine?

Eyes ahunger, he circled her breasts quicklynicelyslowly.

--Good day Bella. Have you seen Bloom?

--Bloom? No. I’ve not seen him. Headed my way?


I’ve got the money. She’s slightly manish. A good tumble. Too conniving. Deserve it. Haven’t earned it. Have the time. Place to be. Can not. Must not. Why not? Will not.

--I must take my leave. I’ve somewhere to be says Power.

Farewell. More hunger. Even the stout need stout. Barney’s.

Mr. Power, turned the corner to avail himself his hunger. The day began fading back, like an old maid in the garret. Feeling ever weaker, Power rushed as a chimneysweep down through his chimney.

Maybe I should have gone? Won’t you send me to a weddin’?

Further on, une jeune fille bent down to retrieve a Freeman. Scarcely sixteen. Lonely. Waiting.

Power stopped to take another look at the girl. Up and down, his eyes pierced her bulkily pompedy cache.

A dress perhaps? A wedding dress? Just my luck, another one out of reach. Oh Dear Me. All is lost now.

Power arrived at Barney’s in time for food and drink. He searched for coin but found only choke. Damn the Jew! He can never understand the true plight of an Irishman! Ah wait yet, there somethinghere.



Power continued into Barney’s only to find Simon Dedalus perched at the bar.

--Oy Simon! Good afternoon, said Power.

Why does he not turn? Better than me? He thinks he’s better than me? No better than Bloom…. A Jew! I will show him my power! I will show him Jack Power. Hold. Not Simon. Too bad. I could take him.

Smiling, the waitress comes for orders.

Full frockcoat. Silk. Pink canary gloves. She stood erect under the pressure of Power’s gaze. Now she’s twenty-four. With a son and a daughter.

Power could smell the baconflitches and butter. HUNGER. But wait, overbearing needs must be fulfilled. He could be alone no longer. A waitress or not, Power had made his decision. Power was now involved.

Walking away, the waitress beamed, recognizing the famine in Power’s eyes.

Come rich man, come poor man,
Come fool or come witty,
Come any man at all!
Won't you marry out of pity?


The Wandering Rocks: Blazes Boylan side story

* * * * *
…May I say a word to your telephone, missy? he asked roguishly…

The blond girl dropped the Spanish jasmine flower1 she was grasping and took the docket and pencil and wrote down her number.

Blazes Boylan placed the blonde girl’s number in his trousers’ pocket.

With a boyish grin, he departed. He swung himself forward and walked along the road.

He reached for ivory horn2 door handles, flung open the doors, and entered Starbucks.

Amidst the dull murmur of conversation, drone of the coffee grinder, and drip** of the espresso machine, Buck Mulligan continued speaking to a preoccupied Haines.

He could on no account be a poet—he was not pure. He had been transformed, an Alpheus3 hunter. The fixed idea of hell had conformationally* altered him; his sense of vengeance, justice, providence and beauty were marked, changed forevermore. He could not see true beauty; Célimène4 beauty, not diminished by character or age, did not exist.

Upon finishing his drink, Buck Mulligan walked to the counter, behind Boylan, leaving Haines to ponder what he had just said. Buck was craving something more than just real Irish cream.

Blazes Boylan placed his order with the barista, a beautiful girl with a delicate figure. Her presence was empyreal5. She had flowing flaxen hair, and lustrous, blue eyes—she was Freya6. She did not belong there; she was a salmon** in the Sonoran7.

Blazes Boylan immediately began to spout** his grandiose stories, in an attempt to strike conversation.

Haines listened in from his seat next to the bathroom. The persistent trickle of water8** was exasperating. Buck, standing in line, observed that Blazes Boylan was the Basilisco knight9.

Blazes Boylan needed to urinate**. He fought off the feeling, and ran his routines, his stories, but with the exigent matter at hand, he was not able to wholly focus on what he was saying. He could not win her. She was uninterested.

With no name-tag visible above her left breast, he asked for her name. Emma Bovary10 said she. The blond girl fended off his next attempts. He thought of redoubling his efforts, but the overwhelming pressure below forced him otherwise**. This was his Actium11**. He was defeated.

With the sting of his loss, Blazes Boylan thought of just ordering his drink, but instead gave in to the urge to micturate12, and walked off without another word. Adad13** was victorious.

He ambled to the bathroom. He glanced back, but the fleeting desire to talk to her again was immediately extinguished by his immediate discomfort***.

Haines noted that Starbucks was not simply a coffee shop, but a culture of its own. It was a rush of images melded together, flowing** through his mind; the transient assemblies of people never gathered for more than a moment. He was unable to focus.***

Monster truck14.

* * * * *

1. Spanish jasmine flower: symbolizes lust--flower symbolism
2. Horns attributed to Pan and the satyr, a symbol for lust. (Roman mythology)
3. Alpheus hunter pursuing Arethusa is turned into a river. (Greek mythology)
4. Célimène beauty not diminished by character or age. (French. Drama: The Misanthrope)
5. Empyreal: of or relating to the heavens.
6. Freya is the goddess of love, beauty, and fecundity; she is beautiful, blue-eyed, and blonde. (Norse myth)
7. Sonoran: North American desert
8. **: Water theme: trout, Alpheus (turned into a river), persistent trickle of the water, Actium: Octavian’s naval defeat of Antony, bathroom references, use of “spout” and “flowing”—referring to the treacherous water passage
9. Basilisco knight: renowned for foolish bragging. (British Literature: Solomon and Persida)
10. Bovary, Emma housewife suffers from ennui. (French Literature: Madame Bovary)
11. Actium: Octavian’s naval defeat of Antony and Cleopatra (31 B.C.--Rom. History)
12. Micturate: to pass water; urinate
13. Adad: the storm god; helped cause the Flood, according to Babylonian mythology.
14. Monster truck: An automobile, typically styled after pickup trucks, modified or purposely built with extremely large wheels and suspension
* I can make up my own words too
*** The “Wandering Rocks” of The Odyssey were boulders that shifted position in the mist and could capsize a ship. The “Wandering Rocks” in my episode is represented by the overwhelming desire to urinate/multiple references to water, which ultimately “capsizes” Blazes Boylan from reaching his goal, attaining Emma.

The Maidens Dedalus: Joyce Immitation

Three little maids, who, all unwary of Dilly Dedalus’s head darting past the open window, dance dangerously close to the boilbubbling pot. Careful, catch your hair and…
Dilly stops – J’arrête, tu arrêtes, elle arrête – outside the window where plumes of smoke issue forth from the pot of creation around which the witches wail. Dinner maybe? Je suis faim? No. wrong verb.

- Rosemary for remembrance, Katey’s voice moist and smogthick.
- Fennel and rue, Maggie with her maiden’s shriek.
- And deadmensfingers!
- Boody!

Probably not dinner. Would be an odd recipe that. Just as well: Boody’s in the kitchen with. Wouldn’t trust it.

Coming up behind Dilly Dedalus’s head full of food thoughts, a thumpclack thumpclack thumpclack. Head turns and oh! Sorry sailor, no coin even for myself. Old riddle out the window with he: four legs in the morning, three at noon already. Imagine without those crutches. Thump, thump, thump all day long.

Thumpclack fast approaching decapitated Dilly who three steps on two full legs and into the house but not before quick check Chardenal’s – here it is: jambe. Il a une jambe; better every day – hop: home. Where are the legs? Poor old Johnny won’t be marching home like that.

Whole place full of smoke. Boody’s doing no doubt. Dilly plodges to the kitchen where three little maids demurely sit, sweet paragons of etiquette, with soft silly smiles as yet unmet, three little maids are they. Not getting off that easily. Stand stark still till they flinch first. Surely Maggie will –
- Katey has a suitor!
- Maggie!

Up one, two, three they hop and envelop Dilly in shrill cries as they run two three about the kitchen, yelling explanations at the top of their lungs. Inside the pot a concoction to call forth a lover and cure spots of all sorts. Age spots they say. Never anything so ridiculous in my life.

-Ooh ooh! Look, Katey, it must have worked, Boody cackles, extending a crooked finger toward the window where thump and clack passes laboriously by. A right spring chicken if I don’t say so myself! Do not believe his vows, for he is broken!
- Boody! scolds everreproachful Dilly.
- Careful, dishonor on you if you your chaste treasures open to his one longest leg!
- Stop it Boody, it isn't him, says Katey dreadfullydefinsive Dedalus.
- Perhaps he came to you in disguise, a traveling minstrel. Not quite the romance you thought?
- For England…
- Sit down! All three! Dignified Dilly takes command of her unruly brigade. Now, Boody and Maggie, take the pot around back and dump it.
- Maybe Johnny out there wants a taste. Grow him a new one.
- Not one more word, Boody. Katey, stay here and help me put mother’s spices back on the rack.
- Why do I have to do the pot? cries little Maggie.
- Yours is not to reason why, yours is but to do and die. Now on to it.

Do and die? Must have picked it up somewhere. Stephen maybe.

- And none of you, not one word to father about this suitor nonsense. He’ll wring our necks and hang us on the tree when he gets home.

Outside the thumpclack slumps slowly away to Boody’s call:

Where are the legs with which you run? Hurrah, hurrah
Where are the legs with which you run? Hurrah, hurrah

- Knock it off Boody, it isn’t nice.

Agenbite of inwit. That’s what Stephen called it? Shouldn’t have thought the same thing about the poor blighter earlier. Yours is but to do and die – Morter? Mourir! – Lord Alfred someone. That was it. Stephen’s books.

The girls out back giggle gleefully as the little Dedalus maids boldly ride and well all into the valley of death.

Episode 16 "Eumaeus" Questions

1. What is the significance of Stephen’s indifference?
2. How does the postcard depicting woman in Bolivia reflect or contrast the situation in Dublin?
3. What does Murphy mean by “simple souls” and to whom does the term apply (besides the Aztecs)?
4. Explain the meaning of Stephen’s statement “Ireland must be important because it belongs to me”. Does this conflict with or confirm our existing understanding of him?

Boylan's affair

Where's my love? I feel...I'm ready. Yes, quite ready. The readiness is all. Who was that? Lear? Henry? Whoever. Bah, bo bee bum bo. Looks like it is time to go. She's surely ready. Yes. Yes, yes, yes. Ha and there he is. Jew wouldn't know it if he were to open the front door for me. Don't mind me sir, I have an appointment with your wife. My lover calls me, I must not say no.

Walking out of the bar, a beauty with flowing black hair distracts our villain. Black beauty. Always eager to stare at a woman's bosom, his eyes wander. From behind, his eyes can only grasp her hips. When she walks, she swings her arms, instead of her hips. She has a pretty yellow dress on. Straps hanging gently on soft smooth shoulders. Her arms swing freely, like she's the only one on the street. Like it won't matter if she collides her tiny, thin, long, bony, angular elbows into some lucky bachelor. The truth is that he'll be a quiet sensitive type but, if she's prepared to take a chance, she might just get to know the inner him: witty, adventurous, passionate, loving, loyal. A little bit crazy, a little bit bad. But hey - don't those girls just love that?

Have to get her attention. Have to see those breasts. Ok. Here it goes. Kah! ACHEW! AHEM!

And she looks back. Not that she's interested in seeing a grown man coughing up the slimy yellow stuff that's been accumulating since the last time he had the luxury of a good cough. But its gross and maybe he needs help and maybe she knows him and maybe he's dying.

But no. He's fine, and he really wanted to see the twins. If he ever had a drive to be with a woman, you could find it in his pants.

Badump! Badump! Badump! Badump! Badump! Badump! Badump! Badump!

Lord, am I there yet?!

And he is. Why knock when she would have to get all the way out of her lovely, soft warm bed. Blanket is warm. No, I'll just go in. I have my condom here. The readiness is all. I feel... I'm ready. Where's my love?


Try again.

That's why you're here, isn't it?

Shes looks so comfortable. But there's a good chance he could add to her comfort. He too, needs some comfort. Some afternoon delight. His shirt comes off. Now they're going to bed. Loving her is easy because she's beautiful. Doo Doo do doo.

That's it?

It's not you, it's me. I wanted to last longer too. Well, look. That was great. When are you gonna dump the ol' Jew-bag? He's nothing but a lousy loser, you know? What do you see in him? I saw him at the bar, you know the fool won't have a drink? And he believes in capital punishment. I could look for a dumber, more worthless man, but I don't think I could succeed.

She covers herself in her robe.

The door is that way, she points. Maybe you can spend less time getting out of here than you did doing the deed.

Stephen as Prisoner

Stephen Dedalus is something of a prisoner in many aspects. As he says, "I am the servant of two masters... an English and an Italian... And a third... there is who wants me for odd jobs" (20). He is referring to England (which rules Ireland), the Roman Catholic Church, and Ireland. THese are the three masters that are keeping him from achieving full independence, from fully recognizing himself as an artist.

Buck notes that Stephen's Catholic visions of hell have thwarted his art, and he is not far from the truth; Stephen's life is stunted by these visions... he hears a thunderclap and thinks of God's anger and his own impending death, and he is plagued by the ghost of his dead mother, who he had refused to pray for. I would add another prison (albeit one that he has effectively escaped from), and that is family. He has abandoned his struggling family and his absent drunk of a father, but he hasn't completely escaped. He is held there by his conscience, which recognizes his abandonment, especially when he sees his sister Dilly, who resembles him in so many ways: "she is drowning. Agenbite. Save her. Agenbite... Agenbite of inwit. Inwit's agenbite. Misery! Misery!" (243). He abandons her in fear that she will drag him down with her and compromise his own freedom, but his guilt continues to hold him to that psychological prison.

His last name, Dedalus, recalls the Greek artificer who created the prison-like Labyrinth, was himself imprisoned, and flew to freedom by fashioning himself a set of wings. Like Daedalus, Stephen is trying to escape his prisons, to free himself as an artist.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

foreign language

ulysses is by no means an easy read. as we discussed from the start, joyce purposely writes in a way that forces the reader to delve into the words in order to extract meaning from the novel. while this can often be frustrating, i would have to admit that it is usually rewarding in the end. i certainly do not always understand joyce on the first read, but after i rake through the text a second time... i start to see how the themes fit together. i begin to appreciate the novel's intricacies, and i actually feel accomplished.

however, episode fourteen was a beast. i honestly felt as though i were reading a foreign language. to explain, i have studied a decent amount of spanish, but i am by no means fluent; if reading a spanish text or listening to a spanish speaker, i pick up words here and there in order to grasp the overall subject of what is being written/spoken. this is how i felt while reading episode fourteen. i would read a page, but i would only have a vague idea of what was actually being said and done in the novel.

i will say that it got easier towards the end of the episode as joyce began to use more modern english writing styles, but it was still not easy. in a way, i suppose the earlier english writing styles really are a foreign language. the words are so archaic that, in many cases, they have become obsolete. despite what we discussed in class, i still feel as though there is no good explanation for joyce choosing to write this episode in the way that he did... except that perhaps that was his point... that he doesn't need an explanation for writing the way he writes. anyway, not much actually happens in episode fourteen, and i think i was able to discern the little bit that did happen... so i suppose i can still forgive joyce and move on with the novel.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Caution: attempted impression of Joyce

Snap, crackle, and pop. Its milky ways gliding down the metal tundra until engulfed by whiteness. A white, white world empty. No pot of gold beyond the never-ending rainbow of poverty. It's not really a small world after all. The sweetness is gone. Milly thought it should taste the same, but what's a good glass Ovaltine without amor matris? Brown, chalky ant hills in a glass rim with no love. Pondering mother may I? Not even here to ask. Woe is she. Stumbling through a paradise lost, Milly thought when will the flood end. Just want the comfort of poured and stirred. Her there, easy approval. One shall overcome when the gain conquers the pain.

July 23rd the dress fell from the hanger. An empty silhouette is all that remains. Nothing to fill out the curves. No Marilyn Monroe can take her place. Life's a beach. The garlic ghoul approaches freshly doused from his bathroom venture. Break time. Seems like its been four score and seven years ago since emancipation. If only I had been Cleopatra, but it seems heavy hearts are always chained to tragic tales. No salve or herb can cure a daughter's loss. Chicken noodle soup should not come from a store bought can.

Pensare. Sognare. Ricordarsi. (Thinking. Dreaming. Remembering.)

Stephen: Don't worry about a thing cause every little thing is gonna be alright.

Screw Bob Marley the dredded hair man with 161 types of lice sharing his wisdom with the world. Life's dredded and this is one dred no shampoo can remedy. She's made her nest, its burrowed deep. Like gum lodged into the head of a schoolyard bully. Stuck and tangled.

Stephen: Lighten up. Mo money, mo problems.

Milly: Easy for you to say. Maybe if you'd stop wallowing in your own poetic piss you'd actually have a family at least.

Stephen: E tu Brutae. You'll never know the trouble I've seen.

Milly: Go back to your tower Rapunzel away from the world. Bullshit, love thy brother like thyself.

Bitterness hovers over the struggling Dedalus, as she reaches for the warmth of the sole son with extinguished flames. She's not here but that doesn't mean you can't be. Parting ways, Cain and Abel leave the hill neither dead nor alive, but it's purely a matter of survival of the fittest.

The shack in the distance, he proclaimed why me? The question reverberates through the Dedalus' collection of empty jars and stomachs neither of which possess a mouth that holds the answer. The riddle of the sphinx remains unsolved.

Bring Bring. Breaks over shrieks the garlic ghoul. Milly stumbles back into the factory along with the other mindless leprechauns returning to a day of packaged rice and cardboard boxes. No moment of clarity reached, she leaves the memory and returns to the nightmare. Once upon a time there was no happily ever after.

Joycean Immitation (EC)

Disclaimer: I wrote this trying to be as verbose and over the top as possible. It's probably more straightforward if you follow the one-legged sailor's portion of "Wandering Rocks" on pg. 225. Enjoy.

Colin Rice
James Joyce Imitation
One Legged Sailor
“Wandering Rocks” pg. 225

Bitterness engulfed the tripodic frame of the former man, clutching and grumbling along the raindropslickened path ahead. Unpatriotic, ungrateful for green Erie, the Union Jack fastened prominently beneath his grizzled brow, he plodded fourth into the unaccepting gaze protruding outward from Larry O’Rourke. Insolvent, garmentdevouring Katey and Boody gaze upon the sailor’s mangled shell of humanity, to which he grunts:
-home and beauty.
The slight glint of copper caught the sailor’s bloodshot, imagediffusing eye. The copper fell gracefully into the nonglinting basin of the sailor’s hat, a stout woman’s act of abject pity. Faint lyrics danced upon the sailor’s innerear, from outside or in he could not tell.

-I'm a rambler, I'm a gambler,
-I'm a long way from home
-And if you don't like me,
-Well, leave me alone
-I'll eat when I'm hungry,
-I'll drink when I'm dry
-And if moonshine don't kill me,
-I'll live til I die

Luxury of candy affronted him, waste and innecessity gleaming, children of fortune standing twofooted beside the shoddy replacement he flaunted as a leg. Hasty convulsions of transport carried the sailor beyond the spectacle, to which he muttered behind
-home and beauty.
Windy lyrics continued to perform on the woodwinds of his mind as he thrust the blocks and Pubs past, ending at a point. A houseportal’s undergarment gave way and yielded a bit of parchment preaching the flat’s nakedness, fluttering downward into the sailor’s gaze.
Out from within the housportal protruded the fleshy upperappendage, fastened to a colorabsent petticoat. The sailor’s pitiful magnetism drew from the aboveground arm yet another metallic saucer of currency, cast upandover the railing toward the saturated pavement.
That which appears to be self indulgent may too present the façade of generosity. The candystickened little mongrels who previously had bestowed glances of horror towards the limbdeformed sailor now scurry to the coin lying flaccid on the moistened path. The sailor’s headcovering, made into a receptacle, now received the misguided funds from above, to which he heard:
-There, sir.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bloomusalem, really? and what about those eight beatitudes?

Chapter 13 was a very interesting chapter, kind of weird in my mind, but interesting to say the least. It was chalk-filled with recurring themes which have been presented throughout the novel (epic) so far, including parallax, metempsychosis, and the man in macintosh. His little day dreams at night or whatever they are considered were kind of sad for the most part. A lot of these thoughts were focused negatively towards Bloom, with Bello continually abusing him, and then he becomes king and then is found out for a fraud? One of the parts that I thought was significant about the chapter other than Bloom reaching out to Stephen and taking care of him, was specifically Joyce's little story about Bloom becoming king. With quotes such as "He's a man like Ireland wants" and calling the new Golden City "Bloomusalem" were significant to me because Bloom, a man who is degraded and not even considered to be a true Irishmen (especially by the Citizen) has now become the greatest Jewish-Irish hero to the people of Dublin. This part is as if it is digging down deep into Bloom's conscious into how he wish people regarded him. For most of the stories that are provided in the chapter, this is one of the only happy ones, which made me happy as well because for once Bloom was not being ridiculed. This did not last long though because soon the man in Macintosh arrived to disprove his greatness by saying "Don't believe a word he says". Dignam also plays a part in one of the later stories as ridiculing him.

There are also a lot of religious references in the chapter such as "Bloomusalem" and the mentioning of the eight beatitudes, to name a few. A quick mention about the beatitudes, to me it is kind of sac religious I guess but interesting how the eight beatitudes in this little story are "Beer beef battledog buybull businum barnum buggerum bishop". I don't want to say that they are funny, but just interesting how the first two beatitudes are beer and beef, then the last one is bishop.

Sorry that this blog is a little all over the place but there is a lot to talk about that jumped out at me, and these are some of my initial thoughts, I am sure I will have more to say later.

One question I do have though is about the man in Macintosh. He appears and speaks for the first time in Bloom's little dream-esque sequence and I am still wondering who he is. He ridicules Bloom after Bloom is pronounced ruler, then again later on with this man Lipoti Virag. Maybe I didn't catch what was going on completely but this Lipoti Virag character wore a brown macintosh. Does that signify something? And is Virag Bloom's grandfather? Or is Bloom calling him Granpapachi mean something completely different or just part of the queer stories that are being told?

Bloom and Bald Pat

Deaf bald Pat appears largely out of place in the sound-themed episode "sirens." He is hard-of-hearing and cannot fully enjoy the sounds of the piano or of the men singing. Instead of the repetition of the tuner's tap, which everyone but Pat hears, you have the repetition of the word "wait": "Wait, wait. Pat, waiter, waited" (266). He is characterized not just by his deafness or his baldness but by his passive waiting. I suppose he's a bit like Odysseus' crew, who plugged their ears and so could not hear the sirens. I think, however, that bald Pat bears closer resemblance to Bloom.

The narrative, when it wanders around to bald Pat, becomes strangely choppy and repetitive: "Bald deaf Pat brough quite flat pad ink. Pat set with ink pen quite flat pad. Pat took plate dish knife fork. Pat went" (278). This strangely light narrative creates an image of Pat as almost comical. Indeed, like Bloom he is a subject of mockery: "Paint face behind on him then he'd be two" (280)... "Pat is a waiter hard of his hearing. Pat is a waiter who waits while you wait. Hee hee hee hee. He waits while you wait. Hee hee. A waiter is he. Hee hee hee hee... While you wait if you wait he will wait while you wait" (280).

His disability excludes him from the musical experience. Like Bloom, who in this episode "sang dumb" (276), he is an "other." That he is introduced as bald Pat rather than just "Pat" serves to underline yet another imperfection and makes him look even more comical. He is physically located in another room, separated from the beautiful voices. He strains to hear through the door. Bloom too is in this other room, separated, physically and mentally. Like bald Pat, he can only wait. He waits in the restaurant for Boylan, hoping to follow him (he fails). He can only wait as minutes pass and Boylan drives closer to bloom's house. Later, he stands on the beach passively as his wife and Boylan have sex.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

episode 12 versus episode 13

episode twelve and episode thirteen seem to be set up in contrast to one another. this contrast begins with the homeric titles, before we even start to read the episodes. episode twelve is related to the cyclops. in homer's odyssey, the cyclops, polyphemus, is a character who attacks the hero, odysseus. in contrast, episode thirteen is related to nausicaa. in homer's odyssey, nausicaa is a character who looks after the hero, odysseus. similarly, in ulysses, we see the hero, bloom, being persecuted by his peers (particularly the citizen) in episode twelve and then admired by gerty in episode thirteen.

bloom's persecution in episode twelve is due in large part to his jewish heritage. the other men mock bloom for being a jew, and continually push him to the outside of the conversation. however, in episode thirteen, it is this jewish heritage which draws the attention of gerty. she is fascinated by his foreign nature, and we learn at the end of the episode, that molly, too, was drawn to bloom by his foreign nature. questioning why molly had chosen him over other suitors, she responded, "because you were so foreign from the others." i believe this is also an instance of parallax, as the same attribute is viewed differently by different people. in some instances, it has brought bloom harm, and it other instances it has brought him good.

additionally, the stylistic contrast of the two episodes is rather apparent. episode twelve is marked by long, complicated lists with drawn-out, run-on sentences; it is filled with tough, violent imagery that highlights the masculinity of the episode. on the other hand, episode thirteen is a relatively simple read with straightforward, though sometimes flowery, language; it relies on images of hopeless romanticism and the use of color to highlight the femininity of the episode.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Cows and Bulls

Cows seem to be a reoccurring symbol throughout Ulysses. In Episode 4, Bloom ponders how cows are made to suffer as he looks at an ad for Israel: “Those mornings in the cattlemarket the beasts lowing in their pens…flop and fall of dung…there’s a prime one, unpeeled switches in [the breeder’s] hands”. and then associates the white heifer with Israel and the Jewish people (59). The Jewish people and the land they inhabit suffer like the stallfed heifers: “The oldest people. Wandered far away over all the earth, captivity to captivity”; the land “dead…the grey sunken cunt of the world. Desolation” (61). Likewise, a few chapters later, the funeral car passes “branded cattle…lowing, slouching by on padded hoofs…Tomorrow is killing day…Roast beef for England” (97). Here, the cows serve as a metaphor for Ireland and Irish culture, which is purged by and for the benefit of the English.

It follows that the cows in Episode 14 Oxen of the Sun do not represent the sanctity of life. Rather the cows symbolize the unheard people who are relegated to the periphery. Women, like Jews and the Irish, are oppressed peoples. Joyce statement, “In Horne’s house rest should reign”, is a cry for calm and peace for women.

And if women are the cows, then men are the bulls: “He’ll find himself on the horns of a dilemma if he meddles with a bull that’s Irish, says he. Irish by name and Irish by nature, says Mr. Stephen, and he sent the ale purling about, an Irish bull in an English chinashop” (399). Irish men are the ones who silence the birthing mother in the next room. Another bull in the novel is the Church. Lord Harry “bought a grammar of the bulls’ language to study…In short, he and the bull of Ireland were soon as fast friends as an arse and a shirt. They were… as the ungrate women were all of one mind, made a wherry raft, loaded themselves and their bundles of chattels on shipboard”.

Episode 14 Blog Question #2

Bloom and Stephen stand out as the only ones who do not joke callously about childbirth/fertility/motherhood. But does Joyce ever suggest an error in either of their mindsets, or portray either of them in a less-than-positive light? If so, then how does he accomplish this?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

exquisite contrast

throughout episode eleven, joyce makes noticeably repeated references to the notion of "exquisite contrast" (pg, 257, 258, 268, 289). knowing, by now, that joyce always chooses his words for a distinct purpose, i tried to think about the possible significance of this phrase ("exquisite contrast") in regards to the context of this episode (the sirens). i ended up coming back around to the recurring theme of the contrast between visual and audible sensations. while this episode strongly focuses on the audible (e.g. the singing, the piano playing, the tapping, the jingling), i feel as though it is still set up in contrast to the visual, or perhaps the lack of visual.

for instance, bloom and goulding do not dine in the same room as the music, so they must rely on their hearing rather than their sight to decipher who is singing/playing. on page 275, bloom thinks "wish i could see his face, though. explain better... still hear it better here than in the bar though farther."

both the tapping and the jingling heard throughout the episode serve as additional contrasts between the visual and the audible. though neither the blind man nor boylan are seen much in this episode, they are consistently heard all along. plus, the blind man more explicitly delineates this contrast as miss douce comments on his "exquisite" piano playing despite the fact that he cannot see: "i never heard such an exquisite player... and blind too, poor fellow" (pg 263).

lastly, the visual/audible theme can be seen in the sirens/barmaids themselves. the sirens lure men in with their singing (audible) while the barmaids lure men in with their appearance (visual). this goes along with what adam stoller said about episode eleven highlighting the differences between the odyssey and ulysses, rather than the similarities... in other words an "exquisite contrast."

Episode 14 Blog Question

In Episode 14 "Oxen of the Sun", Joyce uses many different past styles of the English language to write the episode. What do you think his purpose is for constantly shifting and changing his writing style to mimic past forms of the language? What is the connection between the style he writes in and the scene he is writing about?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Mockery of Bloom

In Episode 12: Cyclops, Joyce presents the episode as a series of parodies and satires. We have been watching Bloom struggling in the past episodes with his ability to communicate and present himself effectively to others around him. Bloom continually fails to assert himself or his values, even when under direct assault from his acquaintances. In Episode 6, the men in the carriage discuss suicide as one of the greatest of all sins and how this decision was inexcusably immoral. Rather than standing up for the memory of his father, Bloom allows the men to disparage his father’s final decision and suggest that eternal peace still eludes him. In the beginning of Episode 12, we witness Bloom attempting to make himself heard and to communicate effectively with the others. He states, “You don’t grasp my point…what I mean is…” (306). Bloom unsuccessfully tries to communicate with the men in the pub in an attempt to forge friendships and make a lasting and meaningful connection with another person that seems to have eluded him his entire life. We do, however, finally see Bloom stand up for his values and his identity as an Irish Jew in the episode. Yet, because this section remains nothing more than a series of mockery and parody, Joyce reduces Bloom’s assertions to another example of derision and ridicule in the text. After Bloom defends himself and his position as a persecuted individual, the men in the pub dismiss his statements as ineffectual and vaguely pathetic. Wyse responds, “Right…Stand up to it then with force like men” (333). Rather than respecting Bloom’s present self-assertion, Wyse ridicules Bloom and the Jewish people for not addressing the problem as a group head on. Even though Bloom finally stands up for himself, it appears to be too little, too late in the eyes of the surrounding men. His one rebuttal will not undo their perception of Bloom as a weak man “limp as a wet rag” (333). By placing Bloom’s long-awaited self-assertion in the middle of this particular episode, Joyce positions Bloom in a position to be further mocked and scorned by the men around him as well as the reader.

Parallax in Cyclops

The narrow-mindedness of the racism displayed by the narrator, the citizen, and all those in the bar exemplifies the idea of a one-eyed monster. These Cyclopes have limited view and do not perceive depth like most two-eyed beings do. We see Bloom one way (due to the narration of the novel), whereas they see Bloom another way (due to his religion). They see selective facts and interpret these facts in a skewed manner. In the past couple hours, for instance, Throwaway loses to Scepter, and Bloom leaves the pub. They choose to believe he gave them a faulty tip on purpose, and that he leaves in order to cash in on his bet.

Parallax is also demonstrated by various parodies of certain types of prose. In prose typical of myths, for instance, even the citizen can sound like a hero. Only our previous knowledge of his racism / xenophobia and the abrupt shift to the normal narrative remind us that the citizen is far from a hero. It becomes clear that perception is affected not just by the viewer but by the box that the facts come in.

This idea can be applied also to the novel as sa whole. The protagonists of epics are always larger-than-life heroes. Joyce elevates the common man (normal Dubliners who cheat on their spouses, pick their noses, go to the bathroom, etc) to this heroic level by including in his novel the elements of an epic: length (for sure), a (mock) invocation to a muse, a beginning in medias res, a journey to the underworld (the funeral), etc. It's a matter of parallax, then. Normal people can be normal people when viewed through a certain lens. Viewed through another lens, a second eye, they become heroes of epics.

Monday, April 7, 2008

familial relationships

thus far in the novel, a strong focus has been placed on familial relationships... especially those marked by death or tragedy. at the start of the novel, we are presented with ideas concerning maternal relationships. as the first few episodes take place along the water, we are repeatedly fed images of the sea as a mother-like figure. we also discover that stephen's mother has passed about a year ago, and yet stephen is still mourning this loss. whether or not he admits it, we learn that stephen is plagued with guilt over his mother's death, specifically over not having prayed by her bedside as she had asked. this guilt is also a recurring theme as we constantly hear stephen's inner monologue interrupted with "agenbite of inwit" (meaning remorse of conscience). in the classroom, stephen helps a particularly ugly student and consequently thinks to himself about the importance of a mother's love.

while maternal relationships are portrayed in a positive, if not perhaps sad, light, paternal relationships begin to dominate the novel in a much more negative light. we discover that stephen is not close to his father, and that his father has essentially left his children to fend for themselves since their mother's death. a number of other father-son relationships are touched upon throughout the novel, but this particular relationship between stephen and simon dedalus seems to be at the forefront. in episode nine, stephen explains the significance of fathers in a not-so-appreciative manner: "[the son's] growth is his father's decline, his youth his father's envy, his friend his father's enemy... what links them in nature? an instant of blind rut." here, stephen suggests that a father's only link to his son is the moment of conception, whereas a mother continues to nurture the son throughout his life. the son, essentially, usurps the father's role in time. clearly, stephen does not have a very high opinion of fathers.

in episode ten, we are given a glimpse of an otherwise rare sibling relationship. while walking through dublin, stephen encounters his younger sister, dilly. again, his internal monologue is overcome with the phrase "agenbite of inwit" as he feels remorse for his siblings' predicament. at his age, stephen is independent and able to care for himself, but his encounter with his sister brings him face to face with the fact that his younger, dependent siblings are stuck at home with essentially no one to care for them. their mother has died, and their father is a selfish drunkard who fails to support them. thus, stephen is torn between wanting to help them, but not wanting to get sucked into such a dreadful situation.

given these insights into the familial relationships of the novel, we see that the family is not so much a happy, close, supportive group of individuals as a distant, loosely connected group of individuals who happen to be blood-related.