Friday, March 21, 2008

the butcher shop

Blooms morning trip to the butcher highlights again Joyce's knack for choosing just the right words to enhance the imagery of a scene. From the moment Bloom approaches the butcher's shop to the moment he walks out, everything is described in terms of hunger, meat, and blood. These are typical images to connect with a butcher's shop, but Joyce applies them to other items as well.

When Bloom looked in the window, "the shiny links packed with forcemeat fed his gaze." The butcher wraps up the woman's purchase "with blotchy fingers, sausagepink." Contemplating the woman's husband and family, Bloom states that she is "new blood." Bloom then begins to picture a cattlemarket, specifically "the breeders... slapping a palm on a ripemeated hindquarter, there's a prime one," just as he lowers his newspaper to watch the woman's skirt swinging "whack by whack by whack." As the woman exits the shop, Bloom wishes to hurry so he can "catch up and walk behind... her moving hams."

Without explicitly stating a connection, Joyce manages to link primal themes of hunger and lust as the former turns into the latter through Bloom's visit to the butcher's shop.

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