Sunday, March 23, 2008

Thematic Questions: Lestrygonians

In Episode 8 Lestrygonians, Bloom walks through town looking for lunch, preoccupied with the meaning of parallax.

How is Bloom figuratively “the blood of the lamb”?

How does Bloom exemplify the parallax principle (the nature of a thing or person changes depending on the vantage point from which it is viewed) both in terms of the things he sees and how the reader sees him?

1 comment:

Adam Al-Sayed said...

The opening lines of Episode 8 immediately place Bloom in the role of a Christ-like martyr figure with his reading of his own name into the phrase "Blood of the lamb." Throughout the novel he has been presented as an outsider; we have seen in great detail the degree to which his peers degrade and belittle him. He is assigned little measure of merit by the rest of the novel's cast, cuckolded by a social peer, and exploited by his wife. The portrayal of Bloom as a victim of unwarranted malice has been maintained throughout the novel, and his identification in this episode with Christ's sacrifice cements that image. This is further reinforced by his humanitarian deeds in this episode, such as the aid he offers a blind man in crossing the street.

The concept of parallax and its application to Bloom is fairly obvious given that the novel's structure is based on the ever-shifting perceptions of the reader and the novel's characters in relation to the events and situations in which they find themselves involved throughout the day.