Saturday, March 22, 2008

life and death

episode six, associated with hades, is largely about death. however, throughout the episode, we actually find many allusions to life and many portrayals of the relationship between life and death. in class, we discussed one passage in particular in which Bloom, on the way to Paddy Digman's funeral, begins contemplating his own son Rudy's death but ends up thinking about mothers, conception, and new life. several other selections from this episode also depict the link between life and death, or less explicitly, between ends and beginnings.

watching the pointsman conduct railroad traffic, Bloom wonders why they don't invent something that would automatically conduct the traffic without need for an actual person. then, he thinks, "well but that fellow would lose his job then? well but then another fellow would get a job making the new invention?" this is reminiscent of the proverbial notion that one door shutting allows another to open. death, followed by life.

later on at the cemetery, Bloom contemplates the relationship between the cemetery caretaker and his wife. he wonders how a woman is attracted to a man who takes care of cemeteries. he begins to think about taking a girl out to a cemetery. "men like that. love among the tombstones..." Bloom thinks, " the midst of death we are in life. both ends meet." Bloom then goes on to consider the fertility of cemetery soil, noting that the decomposing bodies ought to provide ample nutrients. "it's the blood sinking in the earth gives new life." this concept of life from death carries on throughout the episode, and again appears in the passage about how "every friday buries a thursday if you come to look at it."

this notion of life after death is a very popular theme within many religions, such as christianity. essentially, with each end, there is a new beginning. there must be death in order to realize life.

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