by José Goris, M.A.
Famous for his way of using language is James Joyce. His best-known work is
'Ulysses', a story describing eighteen episodes of one single day in the life of Leopold Bloom,
a Jewish advertising salesman. The scene is Dublin; the time is 16 June 1904.
The book is based upon Homer's Odysseus, a well-known Greek legend about the wanderings and
return of Odysseus after the Trojan War. A legend often has a double meaning;
apart from the literal meaning it has a wider meaning as well. Thus, Odysseus
can also be read as the universal voyage of human life, in which all the problems and
difficulties people meet in their lives are described, with Odysseus as a symbol for all men.
James Joyce was interested in this legend, and for each episode of Ulysses - the Latin word for Greek Odysseus -
he had a title from an episode in Odysseus in mind.
Moreover, while writing the book, Joyce devised a schema or plan to describe its structures.
He assigned to each episode not only a legendary title, but also a time, a colour, a technique,
a science or art, an organ of the body and a symbol.
The following fragments are short samples from each episode;
an introduction to Joyce's style of writing and to the novel 'Ulysses'.
First time readers may find it helpful to have the narrative as a guideline.
In a nutshell, and not considering the intricate symbolism and references the story is as follows.
Main characters are Stephen Dedalus (22) and Leopold Bloom (38), who both live in Dublin, though they do not know
each other. Towards the end of the day they meet and a very short comradeship develops.
The entire story takes place within one single day, 16 June 1904, later know as Bloom's Day. It starts at 8 AM, when Stephen
wakes up in Martello Tower, in which he lives with two companions. At the same time, Leopold Bloom wakes up in 7 Eccles Street,
where he lives with his wife Molly. Both men are troubled by problems in their personal lives and are going through
a bad patch. Stephen feels ambivalent towards his father, who neglects Stephen and his younger sisters.
His mother has recently died, and apart from feeling sad at the loss Stephen is troubled by feelings
of guilt because strong anti-catholic feelings made him refuse to pray for her at her deathbed.
He feels unbalanced and does not know what to do with his life: he has not yet managed to find a job or earn his living,
does not feel at ease among his companions and has only vague ideas about the future. He works as a teacher now and then,
has aspirations as a young writer but until now nothing permanent has materialized.
Bloom is older and has succeeded in shaping his life; he has a family and a job - he works as an advertising salesman
for a local newspaper - but he is going through a bad patch, too. He is of Jewish origin though not practising the faith himself,
feels excluded from the Dublin community and scorned by his fellowmen.
To make matters worse, his wife Molly who is an opera singer is having an affair with her impressario,
Blazes Boylan, a coarse womanizer and the opposite of the gentle Bloom. Wistful thoughts about happier times come to Bloom's mind,
and his melancholy mood revives the memory of his son Rudy, who died shortly after birth.
The two men wander through the streets of Dublin on this day; they have several jobs to do and tasks to perform.
Bloom goes to the butcher's, the druggist's, the bath house, the newspaper office. He has to attend a funeral of a Dublin
fellow citizen, after that he has lunch, takes a walk to the beach, visits a neighbour who has just had a baby in hospital.
He has a quarrel in a pub, and in the evening wanders through the red light district. All the time he tries
not to think of what is going on between his wife Molly, who is an opera singer, and her lover Blazes,
who accompanies her on a concert tour.
Stephen leaves Martello Tower in the morning to teach history at a nearby school,
wanders along the beach, visits the library, where he hopes to convince those present
of his artistic and intellectual talents. Later in the evening he, too, becomes involved in a quarrel, and even gets hurt
in a fight. It is then that Bloom takes the boy under his wing, and together they go to Bloom's house in
Eccles street. Bloom offers Stephen lodging, but his offer is declined; after a brief stay Stephen disappears into
the night. Left to his own devices Bloom goes upstairs to his bedroom, where Molly's lover Boylan has just left
their bed. Everything still breathes his presence. However, Molly has thought things over and when Bloom lies down
beside her she realizes he is the one and only man for her: Molly's words "yes I said yes I will Yes"
conclude the novel. The day is over; the next one is about to begin.
- Lotus Eaters
- Scylla & Charybdis
- Wandering Rocks
- Oxen of the Sun
Stephen, nicknamed "Kinch" because of his sharp tongue, wakes up in Martello Tower,
at the outskirts of Dublin overlooking Dublin Bay.
He is staying with his blasphemous friend Buck Mulligan, a medical student, who lives in the tower.
Another guest is Haines, an Oxford student of ancient Irish. Stephen got scared by Haines,
who earlier on had a nightmare and pulled a gun to shoot an imaginary tiger.
In the next fragment Stephen is talking about his mother.
- Scene: Martello Tower
- Hour: 8.00 AM
- Organ: ---
- Art: Theology
- Colour: White, gold
- Symbol: Heir
- Technique: Narrative (young)
-Then what is it? Buck Mulligan asked impatiently. Cough it up. I'm quite frank with you. What have you
against me now?
They halted, looking towards the blunt cape of Bray Head that lay on the water like the snout of a sleeping whale.
Stephen freed his arm quietly.
-Do you wish me to tell you? he asked.
-Yes, what is it? Buck Mulligan answered. I don't remember anything.
He looked in Stephen's face as he spoke. A light wind passed his brow, fanning softly his fair uncombed hair and
stirring silver points of anxiety in his eyes.
Stephen, depressed by his own voice, said:
-Do you remember the first day I went to your house after my mother's death?
Buck Mulligan frowned quickly and said:
-What? Where? I can't remember anything. I remember only ideas and sensations. Why? What happened in the name of
-You were making tea, Stephen said, and I went across the landing to get more hot water. Your mother and some
visitor came out of the drawingroom. She asked who was in your room.
-Yes? Buck Mulligan said. What did I say? I forget.
In the Odyssey, Telemachus decides to leave Ithaca to seek his long-lost father so that
he and Odysseus (Ulysses) might return to drive away Penelope's suitors who are despoiling the kingdom.
In the Ulysses episode 'Telemachus', Stephen Dedalus is about to leave the Tower,
where he lives with Buck Mulligan. He feels Haines and Mulligan are forcing him out of the Tower.
The final question is: 'Who will hold the key to the Tower?' (Ireland's future).
Stephen does not leave Martello Tower with the intention of searching for a father, but his thoughts are about
paternity. The 'false father' theme is present in the form of references to Shakespeare, esp. to Hamlet.
- Stephen = Telemachus, Hamlet
- Buck Mulligan = Antinous
- Milkwoman = Mentor
Stephen teaches history to a class at Mr Deasy's school in Dalkey. The lesson is about the Greek king Pyrrhus,
but when Stephen looks at his pupils his thougths frequently wander away to his own youth.
Stephen is not very good at keeping order and hates history, which is as a nightmare to him.
In an absurd argument with the headmaster Mr. Deasy, a conservative and self-satisfied Englishman and
anti-semitic, he hears a boy shouting and calls history "a shout in the street". Yet, today is Stephen's lucky day for
he gets paid, a welcome event as he has run up debts. When he is leaving, Mr Deasy gives him a letter to
the editor about foot and mouth disease, to be taken to the newspaper's office.
Note: Tarentum is an ancient city in southern Italy, nowadays called Taranto.
- Scene: Mr Deasy's School
- Hour: 10.00 AM
- Organ: ---
- Art: History
- Colour: Brown
- Symbol: Horse
- Technique: Catechism (personal)
-You, Armstrong, Stephen said. What was the end of Pyrrhus?
-End of Pyrrhus, sir?
-I know, sir. Ask me, sir, Comyn said.
-Wait. You, Armstrong. Do you know anything about Pyrrhus?
A bag of figrolls lay snugly in Armstrong's satchel. He curled them between his palms at whiles and swallowed
them softly. Crumbs adhered to the tissues of his lips.
A sweetened boy's breath. Welloff people, proud that their eldest son was in the navy. Vico Road, Dalkey.
-Pyrrhus, sir? Pyrrhus, a pier.
All laughed. Mirthless high malicious laughter. Armstrong looked round at his classmates, silly glee in profile.
In a moment they will laugh more loudly, aware of my lack of rule and of the fees their papas pay.
-Tell me now, Stephen said, poking the boy's shoulder with the book, what is a pier.
-A pier, sir, Armstrong said. A thing out in the waves. A kind of bridge. Kingstown pier, sir.
Some laughed again: mirthless but with meaning. Two in the back bench whispered. Yes.
They knew: had never learned nor ever been innocent. All. With envy he watched their faces.
Edith, Ethel, Gerty, Lily. Their likes: their breaths, too, sweetened with tea and jam, their bracelets
tittering in the struggle.
-Kingstown pier, Stephen said. Yes, a disappointed bridge.
In terms of the Odyssey, Mr. Deasy, the stuffy, Polonius-like administrator,
represents Nestor, the aged Greek soldier and rhetorician who helped to keep order among
the military principals during the ten-year siege of Troy, and who was the first friend of Odysseus that
Telemachus visited after he left Ithaca in search of information about his father.
In this chapter, several parallels between the two men are found. Nestor, though often useful at Troy,
is frequently satirised by Homer because of his ponderous verbiage; and it is significant that Telemachus
does not gain any valuable information about him. Mr. Deasy, too, may have some sense of national
and civic pride, as seen in his concern for sick cattle, but his virtue is outweighed by his militant
anti-Semitism, his veneration of money and his bland interpretation of the place of Protestantism in
Irish history. In addition, Nestor was well known as a charioteer and a tamer of horses, and
this fact is mirrored in Deasy's horseracing mementoes. Several allusions to the original
Nestor Episode in the Odyssey add to the irony of Joyce's Ulysses.
Deasy restores order on a hockey field, not - as did Nestor - on the battleground, and his "men"
are children; although he is old, Deasy assures Stephen that he likes to "break a lance" - argue jestingly -
with him. At the conclusion of the chapter, the sun casts spangles on Deasy's shoulders, suggesting
the shining armour of a retiring soldier. But this chapter is really about history,
the nightmare from which Stephen is trying to awaken; the "history" is personal, national and military.
- Deasy = Nestor
- Pisitratus = Sargent
- Helen = Mrs O'Shea
This chapter is written in the style of the interior monologue, a flow of thought associations of the mind.
Stephen's thougths during his walk along the beach before going to his lunch appointment with Buck Mulligan are
a medley of memories, associations, ideas, notions, sounds, jokes, foreign words and intellectual wordplay.
To the reader it is like a cryptic crossword puzzle. Stephen philosophizes about what comes in his mind or meets
his eyes: two midwives are associated with umbilical cords, that connect all generations.
He sees a dog running towards a swollen carcass of another dog; it frightens him.
Finally Stephen decides to go to town, passing his aunt's house, evoking in his mind a vivid portrait of
his relatives' lives.
- Scene: Sandymount Strand
- Hour: 11.00 AM
- Organ: ---
- Art: Philology
- Colour: Green
- Symbol: Tide
- Technique: Monologue (male)
He had come nearer the edge of the sea and wet sand slapped his boots.
The new air greeted him, harping in wild nerves, wind of wild air of seeds of brightness.
Here, I am not walking out to the Kish lightship, am I? He stood suddenly, his feet beginning to sink slowly
in the quaking soil. Turn back. Turning, he scanned the shore south, his feet sinking again slowly in new sockets.
The cold domed room of the tower waits. Through the barbicans the shafts of light are moving ever,
slowly ever as my feet are sinking, creeping duskward over the dial floor. Blue dusk,nightfall, deep blue night.
In the darkness of the dome they wait, their pushedback chairs, my obelisk valise, around a board of abandoned
platters. Who to clear it? He has the key. I will not sleep there when this night comes.
A shut door of a silent tower entombing their blind bodies, the pantersahib and his pointer.
Call: no answer. He lifted his feet up from the suck and turned back by the mole of boulders.
Take all, keep all. My soul walks with me, form of forms. So in the moon's midwatches I pace the path above
the rocks, in sable silvered, hearing Elsinore's tempting flood. The flood is following me.
I can watch it flow past from here. Get back then by the Poolbeg road to the strand there.
He climbed over the sedge and eely oarweeds and sat on a stool of rock, resting his ashplant in a grike.
A bloated carcass of a dog lay lolled on bladderwrack. Before him the gunwale of a boat, sunk in sand.
The parallels with Homer in this chapter are very general.
In the Odyssey, Menelaus tells Telemachus how he had to deal with Proteus, the god of the sea
who could change forms at will. Here, Joyce reveals the changes that are beginning to take place within Stephen.
Through the interior monologue technique, Joyce compares Stephen's shifting thoughts to the ever-fluctuating,
"Proteus-like" nature of reality. The first two paragraphs of Proteus are especially difficult:
Joyce, through a stream - of - consciousness technique, is recording the complexity of Stephen's thoughts
as he muses upon the question what is real, and what is not merely appearance.
With Stephen teetering between solvency - both emotional and monetary - and insolvency, hope and despair,
sanity and madness, creativity and waste, the first part of Ulysses comes to an end.
The capital letter S began Stephen's section in "Telemachus"; a capital M, for Molly, will begin Bloom's
journey in the next section, "Calypso".
- Proteus = Primal Matter
- Kevin Egan = Menelaus
- Megapenthus = The Cocklepicker
While Stephen wakes up in the Tower, Leopold Bloom wakes up in his home and starts preparing breakfast,
with the cat as a companion. Leopold is fond of kidneys and has bought some at the butcher's around the corner.
Molly is waiting in bed for a cup of tea, and Leopold (Poldy) takes the tray upstairs together with the mail,
a letter from their daughter Milly, who is fifteen, has a job and lives elsewhere. There is also a letter for Molly,
presumably from Blazes Boylan. This chapter is written in the interior monologue style from Bloom's perspective.
As he is a down-to-earth, mild person the reader feels included in his daily worries.
- Scene: Bloom's House
- Hour: 8.00 AM
- Organ: Kidney
- Art: Home Economics
- Colour: Orange
- Symbol: Nymph
- Technique: Narrative (mature)
Quick warm sunlight came running from Berkeley Road, swiftly, in slim sandals, along the brightening
footpath. Runs, she runs to meet me, a girl with gold hair on the wind.
Two letters and a card lay on the hallfloor. He stopped and gathered them. Mrs Marion Bloom. His quick heart
slowed at once. Bold hand. Mrs Marion.
Entering the bedroom he halfclosed his eyes and walked through warm yellow twilight towards her tousled head.
-Who are the letters for?
He looked at them. Mullingar. Milly.
-A letter for me from Milly, he said carefully, and a card to you. And a letter for you.
He laid her card and letter on the twill bedspread near the curve of her knees.
-Do you want the blind up?
Letting the blind up by gentle tugs halfway his backward eye saw her glance at the letter and tuck it under her
-That do? he asked, turning.
She was reading the card, propped on her elbow.
-She got the things, she said.
He waited till she had laid the card aside and curled herself back slowly with a snug sigh.
-Hurry up with that tea, she said. I'm parched.
-The kettle is boiling, he said.
This chapter parallels the Odyssey in that just as Odysseus (Ulysses)
was held as a love captive for seven years by the beautiful nymph Calypso, so also is Bloom, in a sense,
a prisoner of his wife, Molly. Bloom, however, seems to be a more willing captive than his Greek prototype.
Other evocations of Homer in this chapter include the picture of the Bath of the Nymph,
which Molly has said would like nice hanging over the bed, and Molly's answer to Bloom's definition of
metempsychosis as being 'the transmigration of souls': 'O rocks!' Her retort suggests a mermaid
whose shoals mariners - both Greek and Irish - might do well to avoid. Joyce also ties 'Calypso' to 'Telemachus':
they both take place at 8.00 AM, and several motifs in both, e.g. that of food, suggest a strong parallel
between Bloom in 'Calypso' and Stephen in 'Telemachus'. One of the many similarities between the chapter about
Stephen and that about Bloom is the cloud which crosses over the sun to depress Bloom momentarily;
this is the same cloud that affected Stephen's emotions. It is described in almost identical language;
both men think about death. Many of these parallels between Stephen and Bloom continue throughout Ulysses.
- Calypso = The Nymph
- Dlugacz = The Recall
- Zion = Ithaca
Five: Lotus Eaters
Bloom leaves the house, buys a copy of the Freeman's Journal and goes to the post office, where there is a letter for him from his woman penfriend Martha.
He keeps up a secret love correspondence with her, but the two have never met, which is fine by Bloom. He has no
intentions of actually starting an affair. He meets Bantam Lyons. Bloom tells him that he is going to throw away
his newspaper and that Lyons can have it if he likes. Lyons misinterprets his words and assumes that Bloom has a bet
on the horse Throwaway in the Ascot Gold Cup Race. He passes the false tip to others, who as a result put their bet
on the wrong horse.
After Lyons has gone Bloom pops into a church and sits down for a moment, pondering about the
roman catholic faith, its idiosyncracies and the wrongs it causes. After leaving the church he enters Sweny's,
the druggist's, to buy lemon soap for his bath at the bathhouse, where he lets himself soak
leisurely in the water.
- Scene: The Bath
- Hour: 10.00 AM
- Organ: Genitals
- Art: Botany, Chemistry
- Colour: ---
- Symbol: Eucharist
- Technique: Narcissism
He turned away and sauntered across the road. How did she walk with her sausages? Like that something.
As he walked he took the folded 'Freeman' from his sidepocket, unfolded it, rolled it lengthwise in a baton
and tapped it at each sauntering step against his trouserleg. Careless air: just drop in to see. Per second, per
second. Per second for every second it means. From the curbstone he darted a keen glance through the door of the
postoffice. Too late box. Post here. No-one. In. He handed the card through the brass grill.
-Are there any letters for me? he asked.
While the postmistress searched a pigeonhole he gazed at the recruiting poster with soldiers of all arms on
parade: and held the tip of his baton against his nostrils, smelling freshprinted rag paper. No answer probably.
Went too far last time.
The postmistress handed him back through the grill his card with a letter. He thanked and glanced rapidly at
the typed envelope:
Henry Flower, Esq.
c/o P.O. Westland Row,
Answered anyhow. He slipped card and letter into his sidepocket, reviewing again the soldiers on parade.
Where's old Tweedy's regiment? Castoff soldier.
There: bearskin cap and hackle plume.
No, he's a grenadier. Pointed cuffs. There he is: royal Dublin fusiliers.
In Homer's epic, Odysseus and his men come to the land of the lotus-eaters,
a hospitable tribe who have a fault: they are generous to excess, offering Odysseus's men
a food that makes them forget their quest to return home; some of the crew, of course,
eat the flowers and must be physically compelled by Odysseus to leave the country of their soporific hosts.
Joyce, as a parallel, saw Ireland as a veritable land of lotus-eaters, its people dwelling in lethargic bondage
to the Catholic Church and to their own unrecognised - or unadmitted - sexual yearnings, and he fills this episode
with various types of drowsy, sleep-inducing means of escape from reality. Bloom's circuitous wanderings through
Dublin point both to his guilt over the clandestine correspondence with Martha and to his unwillingness to secure
a communication from her that might commit him to take a definite step in their so-far platonic relationship.
The wandering also fits in with the dreamy, confused, drugged atmosphere of this chapter, which describes,
as it were, various types of "lotus eating".
- Lotuseaters = Cabhorses, Communicants, Soldiers,
Eunuchs, Bather, Watchers of Cricket
Bloom goes to the funeral of Paddy Dignam, clerk at a lawyer's office, who died suddenly of a heart attack
even though his friends think it is because of drinking too much. Paddy leaves a wife and five children in needy
circumstances. The funeral procession gathers in South Dublin and proceeds to Glasnevin Cemetry in the North of the town.
Among the guests are Martin Cunningham, a sensitive and tolerant man, Jack Power, a police officer, and Simon Dedalus,
Stephen's father. During their tour through Dublin Bloom ponders about the plight of Dignam and other Dubliners
he sees from the carriage. At the cemetry he cannot surpress sinister thougths about Roman Catholic
interpretations of death. There he sets eyes for the first time on the man in the mackintosh, an unknown and mysterious
person who is present in the background throughout the novel, but whose identity is not revealed.
After the funeral Bloom really has to get to work, and rushes to the newspaper's office.
- Scene: Glasnevin Cemetery
- Hour: 11.00 AM
- Organ: Heart
- Art: Religion
- Colour: White, black
- Symbol: Caretaker
- Technique: Incubism
They halted about the door of the mortuary chapel. Mr Bloom stood behind the boy with the wreath,
looking down at his sleek combed hair and the slender furrowed neck inside his brandnew collar. Poor boy! Was
he there when the father? Both unconscious. Lighten up at the last moment and recognise for the last time. All
he might have done. I owe three shillings to O'Grady. Would he understand? The mutes bore the coffin into the chapel.
Which end is his head.
After a moment he followed the others in, blinking in the screened light. The coffin lay on its bier before the
chancel, four tall yellow candles at its corners. Always in front of us. Corny Kelleher, laying a wreath at each fore
corner, beckoned to the boy to kneel. The mourners knelt here and there in praying desks.
Mr Bloom stood behind near the front and, when all had knelt dropped carefully his unfolded newspaper from his
pocket and knelt his right knee upon it. He fitted his black hat gently on his left knee and, holding its brim,
bent over piously.
A server, bearing a brass bucket with something in it, came out through a door. The whitesmocked priest came
after him tidying his stole with one hand, balancing with the other a little book against his toad's belly.
Who'll read the book? I, said the rook.
They halted by the bier and the priest began to read out of his book with a fluent croak.
Father Coffey. I knew his name was like a coffin. Domine-namine. Bully about the muzzle he looks.
Bosses the show. Muscular christian.
Woe betide anyone that looks crooked at him: priest. Thou art Peter. Burst
sideaways like a sheep in clover Dedalus says he will.
Parallels with the Odyssey are very explicit in this episode. Odysseus's anxiety-ridden
visit to the Underworld of Greek mythology corresponds to Bloom's trip to Glasnevin Cemetery to bury Dignam,
who in turn corresponds to Elpenor, the intemperate follower of Odysseus, who broke his neck in a fall from
the roof of Circe's palace. The four rivers of the Greek Hades are paralleled by the four rivers that the men
cross on the way to the cemetery: the Dodder, the Liffey, the Grand Canal and the Royal Canal. As the mourners pass
the tenements, they see stripped- up sections of a street, suggesting a means of access to Hades.
Among the characters, the kindly Martin Cunningham is a sort of Sisyphus, a Greek symbol of futility; Father Coffey,
who conducts the funeral service and who is humorously described as a dog, is a sort of Cerberus-figure,
who guards the entrance to Hell, or Hades.
The conversation of the four men in the funeral carriage relates to several motifs in Ulysses. For example,
Bloom's memories of his father's suicide, thoughts brought on by Mr. Power's rambling comments,
reinforce the father- son theme; and old Rudolph Bloom's dying request that Leopold take care of his dog,
Athos - a parallel to Odysseus's faithful old dog Argos -, suggests the novel's god-dog concept.
In order to contrast the bland but usually good-natured Bloom with the often-aloof Stephen,
Joyce includes several parallels between 'Hades' and 'Proteus'. Both chapters deal with the beginnings of
life and with its end.
- Dodder, Grand and Royal Canals, Liffey = The Four Rivers
- Cunningham = Sisyphus
- Father Coffet = Cerberus
- Caretaker = Hades
- Daniel O'Connell = Hercules
- Dignam = Elpenor
- Parnelll = Agamemnon
- Menton = Ajax
The office of the 'Freeman's Journal' for which Bloom works takes up a central part in this chapter.
Joyce wrote it in the form of a newspaper: short sections with headings in capitals.
Bloom wants to place an advertisement for an important client, Alexander Keyes, merchant in tea, wine and liquor.
It is only natural that he wants to take special care of the order; however, to get it published he has to deal with
the blunt, even hostile editor. When Bloom is about to leave the office
Stephen comes in with Mr Deasy's letter to the editor. Unlike Bloom, he is treated with respect.
- Scene: The Freeman Newspaper Office
- Hour: 12.00 PM (Noon)
- Organ: Lungs
- Art: Rhetoric
- Colour: Red
- Symbol: Editor
- Technique: Enthymemic
INTERVIEW WITH THE EDITOR
-Just this ad, Mr Bloom said, pushing through towards the steps, puffing, and taking the cutting from his pocket.
I spoke with Mr Keyes just now. He'll give a renewal for two months, he says. After he'll see. But he wants a par to
call attention in the Telegraph too, the Saturday pink. And he wants it if it's not too late I told councillor
Nannetti from the Kilkenny People. I can have access to it in the national library. House of keys, don't you
see? His name is Keyes. It's a play on the name. But he practically promised he'd give the renewal. But he wants just
a little puff. What will I tell him, Mr Crawford?
- Will you tell him he can kiss my arse? Myles Crawford said, throwing out his arms for emphasis. Tell him that
straight from the stable.
A bit nervy. Look out for squalls. All off for a drink. Arm in arm. Lenehan's yachting cap on the cadge beyond.
Usual blarney. Wonder is that young Dedalus the moving spirit. Has a good pair of boots on him today. Last time I
saw him he had his heels on view. Been walking in muck somewhere. Careless chap. What was he doing in Irishtown?
-Well, Mr Bloom said, his eyes returning, if I can get the design I suppose it's worth a short par. He'd give
the ad I think. I'll tell him..............
This episode corresponds with the Odyssey in two main respects.
In Homer's epic, Aeolus, the custodian of the winds, gave Odysseus a great boon: all adverse winds,
which could hamper his return to Ithaca, were sealed tightly in a leather bag. Within sight of home,
Odysseus's men, out of curiosity and greed, opened the bag as their leader dozed, and both the crew and
the commander were blown back, off their course. In Ulysses, the newspaper headlines,
reproduced in large type, parody the often windy, empty journalism that makes up the daily news.
And Bloom, within sight of 'home' - that is, successfully negotiating the Keyes advertisement -
is foiled in his attempt by the demanding Keyes and by the irritation of Bloom's own boss, Myles Crawford,
the editor. Bloom's movements in 'Aeolus' form, as it were, a mini-odyssey by themselves, and they must
be carefully traced.
- Crawford = Eolus
- Incest = Journalism
- Floating Island = Press
Shortly after noon Bloom takes a walk, which ends at the library in southern Dublin. He meets several people, in person
or in his head. He broods over the multitude of men that had an affair with his wife at some point in the past, when he
meets Josie Powell, whose sorry plight takes his mind off his own worries. When he arrives at the restaurant in which
he intended to have lunch he is appalled by its unseemly atmosphere and flees to Davy Byrne's pub; a snack will do.
He orders a glass of burgundy and a gorgonzola sandwich with mustard. Afterwards he catches a glimp of Blazes Boylan,
whom he tries to ignore by crossing the street to the National Museum, where he pretends to be admiring a statue of
a naked godess.
- Scene: Lunch at Restaurants
- Hour: 1.00 PM
- Art: Architecture
- Colour: ---
- Symbol: Constables
- Technique: Peristalsis
Perched on high stools by the bar, hats shoved back, at the tables calling for more bread no charge,
swilling, wolfing gobfuls of sloppy food, their eyes bulging, wiping wetted moustaches. A pallid suetfaced young
man polished his tumbler knife fork and spoon with his napkin. New set of microbes.
A man with an infant's saucestained napkin tucked round him shovelled gurgling soup down his gullet. A man spitting back on his plate:
halfmasticated gristle: no teeth to chewchewchew it. Chump chop from the grill. Bolting to get it over.
Sad booser's eyes. Bitten off more than he can chew. Am I like that? See ourselves as others see us. Hungry man is
an angry man. Working tooth and jaw. Don't! O! A bone! That last pagan king of Ireland Cormac in the schoolpoem
choked himself at Sletty southward of the Boyne.
Wonder what he was eating. Something galoptious. Saint Patrick converted him to Christianity.
Couldn't swallow it all however.
- Roast beef and cabbage.
- One stew.
Smells of men. His gorge rose. Spaton sawdust, sweetish warmish cigarette smoke, reek of plug, spilt beer,
men's beery piss, the stale ferment.
Couldn't eat a morsel here. Fellow sharpening knife and fork, to eat all before him, old chap picking his tootles.
Slight spasm, full,
chewing the cud. Before and after. Grace after meals. Look on this picture then on that.
Scoffing up stewgravy with
sopping sippets of bread. Lick it off the plate, man! Get out of this.
In Homer's epic, many of Odysseus's men are devoured by the giant,
cannibalistic tribe of Lestrygonians, and this particular episode of the novel is filled
with many allusions to eating, a good number of them alluding to disgusting eating practices.
The bestial actions of the customers in the Burton restaurant, for example, epitomise the
analogy with their Greek prototypes. The opening pages record Bloom's sensitivity towards
the passing things of life and remind the reader that Joyce's novel is about the humanity
that exists behind the common events of daily existence.
- Antipathes = Hunger
- The Decoy = Food
- Lestrygonians = Teeth
Nine: Scylla & Charybdis
At the time of Bloom's flight into the National Museum Stephen is having a discussion with four gentlemen at the
Library. These gentlemen really existed in Dublin at the time and are Thomas Lyster, a Quaker, George Russell, a theosophist
and writer under the penname A.E., John Eglington, also a writer, and the assistant librarian Richard Best. The four men
are advocates of the Celtic Renaissance, an Irish literary movement led by the poet Yeats. They are adherent to Plato,
whereas Stephen is a follower of Aristotle. They talk about Shakespeare, and Stephen presents his outspoken views of Hamlet.
In the course of the debat Buck Mulligan enters, and when the two men leave they see Bloom in the gallery. Stephen
has also seen him that day at the newspaper's office and recognizes in him the man that appeared in his last night's
dream as a dark stranger, who accompanied him to an oriental brothel and offered his wife to him.
- Scene: The National Library
- Hour: 2.00 PM
- Organ: Brain
- Art: Literature
- Colour: ---
- Symbol: Stratford, London
- Technique: Dialectic
- The world believes that Shakespeare made a mistake, he said, and got out of it as quickly and as best
- Bosh! Stephen said rudely. A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals
Portals of discovery opened to let in the quaker librarian, softcreakfooted, bald, eared and assiduous.
- A shrew, John Eglinton said shrewdly, is not a useful portal of discovery, one should imagine. What useful
discovery did Socrates learn from Xanthippe?
- Dialectic, Stephen answered: and from his mother how to bring thoughts into the world.
What he learnt from his other wife Myrto - (absit nomen!) - Socratididion's Epipsychidion, no man, not a woman,
will ever know. But neither the midwife's lore nor the caudlectures saved him from the archons of Sinn Fein and their
noggin of hemlock.
- But Ann Hathaway? Mr Best's quiet voice said forgetfully. Yes, we seem to be forgetting her as Shakespeare
himself forgot her.
His look went from brooder's beard to carper's skull, to remind, to chide them not unkindly, then to the baldpink
lollard custard, guiltless though maligned.
- He had a good groatsworth of wit, Stephen said, and no truant memory. He carried a memory in his wallet as he
trudged to Romeville whistling 'The girl I left behind me'.
In Homer's epic, Odysseus was forced to pass between
the six-headed monster, Scylla, and the whirlpool, Charybdis. Following the advice of Athena,
he hugged the mountain lair of Scylla; Charybdis, he had been told, promised certain disaster
and he sacrificed one of his men for each of Scylla's maws. In Ulysses, the whirlpool
is represented mainly by the poet A.E. (George Russell), an exponent of mysticism, Platonism,
and emotive Irish nationalism. Stephen is, as it were, Scylla, constantly snapping at the arguments
of his opponents; he is possessed of a sharp, cutting, Aristotelian mind and is, as Mulligan called
him earlier in jest, Kinch, the knifeblade. Joyce adds complexity to the Homeric parallel by comparing
Stephen to Scylla, an 'enemy' of Odysseus / Ulysses (Bloom). In a sense, Stephen, with his carping logic,
is an opponent of the more mundane and practical Bloom, and, in the later stages of Ulysses,
Joyce portrays the impossibility of the two men's reaching any satisfying or permanent relationship.
Also, by placing Stephen in a generally Homeric context, Joyce suggests that Stephen must go through
his own odyssey in the novel - that is, he must attempt to reconcile the flesh with the spirit, the mind
with the body, and his deep and grandiose thoughts with workaday concerns. Finally, it may well be plausible
to see the six-headed hydra, Scylla, in the six principals with whom Stephen debates: Lyster, Best, Russell,
Eglinton, Mulligan, and Stephen himself in his role as a self-doubting sceptic who does not believe his own
theory of Shakespeare or any other 'theories'.
- The Rock = Aristotle
- The Whirlpool = Plato, Mysticism, London
- Ulysses = Socrates, Jesus, Shakespeare
Ten: Wandering Rocks
This is the central chapter in Ulysses. More than fifty characters meet in the streets of Dublin. Everything happens at
the same time and represents the way in which Joyce pictured simultaneousness. It is as if he climbed Nelson's Column,
which was still there at the time, and described what he saw in nineteen fragments: Father Conmee, head of Joyce's
Clongowes Wood College, Corny Kelleher, the undertaker, a one-legged sailor, Stephen's sisters Maggy and Dilly, Blazes
Boylan, Stephen, his father, Bloom, Gerty MacDowell, a girl that will attract Bloom's sexual interests in a later chapter,
and many other characters that play a role in the novel pass before the readers' eyes.
The routes of Stephen and Bloom cross twice.
- Scene: The Streets of Dublin
- Hour: 3.00 PM
- Organ: Blood
- Art: Mechanics
- Colour: ---
- Symbol: Citizens
- Technique: Labyrinth
Father Conmee crossed to Mountjoy square. He thought, but not for long, of soldiers and sailors, whose
legs had been shot off by cannonballs, ending their days in some pauper ward, and of cardinal Wolsey's words:
'If I had served my God as I have served my king He would not have abandoned me in my old days.'
He walked by the treeshade of sunnywinking leaves and towards him came the wife of Mr David Sheehy M.P.
- Very well, indeed, father. And you father?
Father Conmee was wonderfully well indeed. He would go to Buxton probably for the waters. And her boys, were
they getting on well at Belvedere? Was that so? Father Conmee was very glad indeed to hear that.
And Mr Sheehy himself? Still in London. The house was still sitting, to be sure it was. Beautiful weather it was,
delightful indeed. Yes, it was very probable that Father Bernard Vaughan would come again to preach. O, yes: a very
great success. A wonderful man really.
Father Conmee was very glad to see the wife of Mr David Sheehy M.P. looking so well and he begged to be
remembered to Mr David Sheehy M.P. Yes, he would certainly call.
- Good afternoon, Mrs Sheehy.
Father Conmee doffed his silk hat, as he took leave, at the jet beads of her mantilla inkshining in the sun.
And smiled yet again in going. He had cleaned his teeth, he knew, with arecanut paste. Father Conmee walked and,
walking, smiled for he thought on Father Bernard Vaughan's droll eyes and cockney voice.
Parallels with Homer's Odyssey are especially clear in this chapter.
In Homer, Circe told Odysseus that to return home he must sail either through the large, moving -
'wandering' - rocks or else he must pass between Scylla and Charybdis. Because only the mythological
Jason of the Argonauts had succeeded in negotiating the rocks, Odysseus chose to battle Charybdis,
the whirlpool, and Scylla, the six-headed monster. Joyce, however, is having fun at the reader's expense
in this chapter because, to read Ulysses, the reader must pass through both the treacherous rocks
and the labyrinth of the National Library. Also, in Homer, the wandering rocks were probably based on optical
illusions, and Joyce has correspondingly filled his rendition of the myth with 'false clues' and
deliberately misleading language. He seems to be saying to the reader: 'you have come through nine episodes,
and you think that you really know Dublin and my writing methods, but you are being over-confident.
Dublin and my writing methods are neither simple nor easily grasped.'
- Bosphorus = Liffey
- European Bank= Viceroy
- Asiatic Bank = Conmee
- Sympiegades = Groups of Citizens
The pages of this chapter have to be heard, not just read in order to grasp their full meaning. Joyce intended it to be
a fuga, and used all kinds of musical tricks: loud, soft, repetitions, staccato and so on. The first pages constitute
an overture, in which later events are announced.
In the empty bar of Ormond Hotel two barmaids are gossiping about the passers-by. They are appalled when they see Bloom;
image being married to such a 'greasy nose'. Simon Dedalus enters the bar, and some minutes later Lenehan, who has an
appointment with Blazes Boylan. Bloom is invited in for a meal by Stephen's uncle Richie Goulding, and when the two
are sitting down they see Boylan leaving: on his way to Molly. Dedalus sings an aria from the opera "Martha", which reminds
Bloom of the letter from his penfriend Martha, which he was just about to answer.
- Scene: The Ormond Hotel - Concert Room
- Hour: 4.00 PM
- Organ: Ear
- Art: Music
- Colour: ---
- Symbol: Barmaids
- Technique: Fuga per Canonem
She sipped distastefully her brew, hot tea, a sip, sipped sweet tea.
- Here he was, Miss Douce said, cocking her bronze head three quarters, ruffling her nosewings. Hufa! Hufa!
Shrill shriek of laughter sprang from Miss Kennedy's throat. Miss Douce huffed and snorted down her nostrils
that quivered imperthnthn like a shout in quest.
- O! shrieking, Miss Kennedy cried. Will you ever forget his goggle eye?
Miss Douce chimed in in deep bronze laughter, shouting:
- And your other eye!
Bloowhose dark eye read Aaron Figatner's name.
Why do I always think Figather? Gathering figs I think. And Prosper Loré's huguenot name.
By Bassi's blessed virgins Bloom's dark eyes went by. Bluerobed, white under, come to me. God they believe
she is: or goddess. Those today. I could not see. That fellow spoke. A student. After with Dedalus' son. He
might be Mulligan. All comely virgins. That brings those rakes of fellows in: her white.
By went his eyes. The sweets of sin. Sweet are the sweets.
In a giggling peal young goldbronze voices blended, Douce with Kennedy your other eye.
They threw young heads back, bronze gigglegold, to let freefly their laughter, screaming, your other, signals
to each other, high piercing notes.
In Homer's epic, Odysseus stuffs his men's ears with wax so that they will not be seduced
by the songs of the mermaids, who induce sailors to smash their ships on the deadly coastal rocks.
Odysseus, however, wanting to hear the noted songs himself, has his men tie him to the mast and orders
them to ignore him, even if he commands them to release him. The sirens here are Lydia Douce and Mina Kennedy,
two barmaids, and an unappetising prostitute that Bloom - as Ulysses - evades at the end of the episode.
The most interesting parallel in this chapter, however, is not the sirens themselves; it is the
intoxicating power of music, whether it be sung by old men who wish to drown the memories of
their failures in sentimental melodies that exalt Irish national failures or whether it is music that
is heard by a middle-aged man - Bloom -, who traces in the lyrics his own failures as a father and as a
husband, and who will, during the course of this chapter, lose his wife to another man.
- Sirens = Barmaids
- Isle = Bar
This chapter ridicules the kind of talk used by locals on a pub crawl.
The journalist Hynes enters Barney Kiernan's pub for a talk with 'the Citizen', one of Joyce's characters
in the novel. Outside they see Bloom who has been waiting some time for Martin Cunningham to pick him up,
in order to sort out insurance matters for the deceased Paddy Dignam's widow. When Bloom enters the pub to ask
if they have seen Martin he is confronted with hostility and lands into a quarrel with the citizen about Irish
freedom fighters. Moreover, they suspect him of having won money in betting on horses, and being too stingy to buy
his companions a drink. The atmosphere is getting dangerously aggressive when the Citizen insults Bloom for being a Jew.
By now Bloom is angry, and from the carriage in which he leaves with Cunningham he cries out loud in defense of
the Jews. This enrages the Citizen, who throws a biscuit tin at him.
- Scene: The Tavern (Barney Kiernan's)
- Hour: 5.00 PM
- Organ: Muscle
- Art: Politics
- Colour: --
- Symbol: Fenian
- Technique: Gigantism
Bloom was talking and talking with John Wyse and he quite excited with his dunducketymudcoloured mug
on him and his old plum eyes rolling about. - Persecution, says he, all the history of the world is full of it.
Perpetuating national hatred among nations.
- But do you know what a nation means? says John Wyse.
- A nation? says Bloom. A nation is the same people living in the same place.
- By God, then, says Ned, laughing, if that's so I'm a nation for I'm living in the same place for the past
So of course everyone had a laugh at Bloom and says he, trying to muck out of it:
- Or also living in different places.
- That covers my case, says Joe.
- What is your nation if I may ask, says the citizen.
- Ireland, says Bloom. I was born here. Ireland.
The citizen said nothing only cleared the spit out of his gullet and gob, he spat a Red bank oyster out of him
right in the corner.
- After you with the push, Joe, says he, taking out his handkerchief to swab himself dry.
- Here you are, citizen, says Joe. Take that in your right hand and repeat after me the following words.
This chapter takes place in Barney Kiernan's pub, which becomes, metaphorically,
the Homeric cave in which Odysseus and his men were imprisoned by the cannibalistic giant cyclops of Greek myth.
Other parallels with the Odyssey are quite explicit and determine several of this episode's motifs.
In Homer's epic, the cyclops, Polyphemus, who devoured some of Odysseus's men, was, of course, one-eyed.
He was also an anarchist, as were the other cyclopes in Homer's legendary country.
Odysseus escaped the cyclops by getting him drunk on wine; after the monster had fallen into a deep slumber,
Odysseus blinded him with a fiery stake. Odysseus made the mistake of taunting the blind cyclops,
who hurled a large rock at the departing voyagers. He missed Odysseus and his men,
but Polyphemus asked his father, Poseidon, to curse the crew, and because Poseidon was the god of the seas,
Odysseus was forced to wander for many extra.
- Noman = I
- Stake = Cigar
- Challenge = Apotheosis
After the visit to Paddy Dignam's widow Bloom takes a walk to Sandymount. He sits down on a rock overlooking
the beach, where three girls are playing with three small children. Cissy Caffrey is there with her twin brothers, aged
four, and Edy Boardman pushes a pram with an eleven months' old baby in it. Then there is Gerty MacDowell, an Irish
seventeen-year-old beauty that attracts Bloom's attention. In the sort of prose you normally find in doctor-and-nurse novels
Joyce describes her fantasies about the perfect husband, for whom she is longing after breaking up with her boyfriend.
She notices Bloom who fits perfectly in this profile. Watching Gerty's beautiful legs as she bends backwards to seduce him ,
Bloom has an orgasm, with in the background the fireworks above the houses in Sandymount. When Gerty leaves it is obvious she
limps. Bloom feels ashamed and tired, yet at the same time satisfied and decides to pay a visit to Mrs Purefroy, who is
awaiting the birth of her baby in the maternity hospital.
- Scene: The Rocks on Sandymount Shore
- Hour: 8.00 PM
- Organ: Eye, Nose
- Art: Painting
- Colour: Grey, Blue
- Symbol: Virgin
- Technique: Tumescence, Detumescence
Cissy came up along the strand with the two twins and their ball with her hat anyhow on her to one
side after her run
and she did look a streel tugging the two kids along with the flimsy blouse she bought only a fortnight before
like a rag on her back and bit of her petticoat hanging like a caricature. Gerty just took off her hat for a moment
to settle her hair and a prettier, a daintier head of nutbrown tresses was never seen on a girl's shoulders,
a radiant little vision, in sooth, almost maddening in its sweetness. You would have to travel many a long mile
before you found a head of hair the like of that. She could almost see the swift answering flush of admiration in
his eyes that set her tingling in every nerve. She put on her hat so that she could see from underneath the brim
and swung her buckled shoe faster for her breath caught as she caught the expression in his eyes.
He was eyeing her as a snake eyes its prey. Her woman's instinct told her that she had raised the devil in him
and at the thought a burning scarlet swept from throat to brow till the lovely colour of her face became a glorious
Edy Boardman was noticing it too because she was squinting at Gerty, half smiling, with her specs,
like an old maid, pretending to nurse the baby. Irritable little gnat she was and always would be and that
was why no-one could get on with her, poking her nose into what was no concern of hers. And she said to Gerty:
- A penny for your thoughts.
Parallels with Homer are not difficult to recognise.
Odysseus, washed ashore on the land of the Phaeacians, was awakened from sleep
when he was struck by a ball misthrown by Princess Nausicaa and her friends;
the resourceful and beautiful young girl had come to the shore to play and wash some clothing.
Not nonplussed by the appearance of a naked stranger, Nausicaa told the hapless, stormtossed
wanderer to go to her father's palace to receive succour, Gerty - Joyce's Nausicaa - aids
Ulysses alias Bloom by enticing him into the sexual respite provided by auto-eroticism,
an act which he has been postponing until now. She also parallels the unmarried Nausicaa
of Homer because marriage is much on Gerty's mind, especially after her break-up with her
steady boyfriend, Reggie Wylie : a parallel here with Bloom's loss of Molly. Gerty is also
compared to the Blessed Mother, and Mary's colours, especially blue, appear throughout the episode.
- Phaecia = Star of the Sea
- Gerty = Nausikaa
Fourteen: Oxen of the Sun
This chapter is particularly difficult to read as Joyce has tried to describe the development of the English language
from embryo to child. It is made up of pastiches of both unknown and well-known writers, from the early Middle Ages
up to the end of the 19th century. The chapter starts with three semi-religious formulae, each of which is repeated
thrice. After that the story continues in ever changing styles.
Leopold Bloom visits Holles Street, the popular name of the maternity hospital, where shortly afterwards Mina Purefroy
gives birth to a boy. In the canteen a group of noisy medical students is bragging about sex, women, contraceptives,
abortion and difficult births; a game of smutty talk. Mulligan is one of them and Bloom also recognises Stephen;
he has caught a glimpse of him thrice that day: when he was in the funeral procession, at the newspaper's office,
and outside the National Library. Now, for the first time, he sits next to Stephen, who is drunk
and talks all kinds of nonsense. Bloom is worried, and decides to keep an eye on him. Around eleven p.m. the party
follow Stephen to Burke's, a pub opposite, and afterwards Stephen and a friend set out for the red light district,
Bloom following in their wake.
- Scene: The Maternity Hospital
- Hour: 10.00 PM
- Organ: Womb
- Art: Medicine
- Colour: White
- Symbol: Mothers
- Embryonic Development
The man that was come into the house then spoke to the nursing-woman and he asked her how it fared with
the woman that lay there in childbed. The nursingwoman answered him and said that that woman was in throes now full
three days and that it would be a hard birth unneth to bear but that now in a little it would be. She said thereto
that she had seen many births of women but never was none so hard as was that woman's birth.
Then she set it forth
all to him that time was had lived nigh that house. The man hearkened to her words for he felt with wonder women's
woe in the travail that they have of motherhood and he wondered to look on her face that was a young face for any
man to see but yet was she left after long years a handmaid. Nine twelve bloodflows chiding her childless.
And whiles they spake the door of the castle was opened and there nighed them a mickle noise as of many that
sat there at meat. And there came against the place as they stood a young learning knight yclept Dixon. And
the traveller Leopold was couth to him sithen it had happed that they had had ado each with other in the house of
misericord where this learning knight lay by cause the traveller Leopold came there to be healed for he was sore
wounded in his breast by a spear wherewith a horrible and dreadful dragon was smitten him for which he did do make
a salve of volatile salt and chrism as much as he might suffice.
And he said now that he should go into that castle for to make merry with them that were there.
And the traveller Leopold said that he should go otherwither for he was a
man of cautels and a subtle.
The parallel with Homer, here, is broad, but very important.
Odysseus's men, despite his warnings, slaughtered the cattle of the sun god,
Helios, and thus brought death upon themselves, leaving Odysseus as the only survivor of
the voyage from Troy. In Joyce, the 'slaughter' is apparent on several levels.
Literally, the Homeric parallel is with the Kerry cows; they are suffering from foot
and mouth disease - the Deasy letter appeared in the paper this evening due to Stephen's influence -,
and these cows might well be slaughtered in Liverpool. Of much greater concern than the
slaughter of these cattle, however, is the whole matter of birth and death, life and its prevention.
Joyce's positive attitude about birth and life is clearly evident in the design of 'Oxen of the Sun':
the nine months of gestation are marked by the so-called nine periods of the English language,
through which the plot and themes of this chapter are presented.
- Hospital = Trinacria
- Lampetie, Phaethusa = Burses
- Helios = Horne
- Oxen = Fertility
- Crime = Fraud
This chapter is the longest in the novel, and according to critics should be read as Joyce's hallucinations about
writing Ulysses. All its themes, characters, thoughts, symbols, memories and events are put before a
distorting mirror, and the underworld becomes one huge grotesque theatre, with bizarre stage directions in between
the dialogues. The first act is set in Mabbot Street in Nighttown, where life is not healthy. Then Bloom arrives,
looking for Stephen but overcome by hallucinations of his women and his parents. In the third part he is still looking
for Stephen, but now sees himself as mayor of Dublin. After that he is lured into Bella Cohen's brothel, where he is
involved in sado - masochism and travesty. Finally Stephen fights with two British soldiers, when
Bloom comes to his rescue. The chapter ends with Bloom's hallucination of his son Rudy, who died eleven days
- Scene: The Brothel in Night-Town
- Hour: 12.00 AM (Midnight)
- Organ: Locomotor Apparatus
- Art: Magic
- Colour: ---
- Symbol: Whore
- Technique: Hallucination
FATHER FARLEY: He is an episcopalian, an agnostic, an anythingarian seeking to overthrow our holy faith.
MRS RIORDAN: (Tears up her will) I'm disappointed in you! You bad man!
MOTHER GROGAN: (Removes her boot to throw it at Bloom) You beast! You abominable person!
NOSEY FLYNN: Give us a tune, Bloom. One of the old sweet songs.
BLOOM: (With rollicking humour)
I vowed that I never would leave her,
She turned out a cruel deceiver.
With my tooraloom tooraloom tooraloom tooraloom.
HOPPY HOLOHAN: Good old Bloom! There's nobody like him after all.
PADDY LEONARD: Stage Irishman!
BLOOM: What railway opera is like a tramline in Gibraltar? The Rows of Casteele. (Laughter)
LENEHAN: Plagiarist! Down with Bloom!
THE VEILED SIBYL: (Enthusiastically) I'm a Bloomite and I glory in it. I believe in him in spite of all.
I'd give my life for him, the funniest man on earth.
BLOOM: (Winks at the bystanders) I bet she's a bonny lassie.
THEODORE PUREFOY:(In fishing cap and oilskin jacket) He employs a mechanical device to frustrate the
sacred ends of nature.
THE VEILED SYBIL: (Stabs herself) My hero God! (She dies)
This episode is based more loosely upon Homer's epic than are other episodes in the novel.
In Homer's Odyssey, Circe turned Odysseus's men into swine; Odysseus, however, never succumbed
to Circe's spells. In Joyce's Ulysses, Circe - the symbolic female of this chapter - is Bella Cohen,
and she keeps a brothel in the midst of the Dublin red-light district. Unlike Homer's hero,
Bloom is not spared the debasement of Odysseus's men; Bloom is debased, and, significantly,
this chapter initiates the subsequent cathartic effect of that debasement. Both Homer in his
Odyssey and Joyce in 'Circe' are concerned with a universal psychological theme:
the fear that expression of sexuality might well turn the participants into 'animals'.
'Circe' ends with a terrifying vision: Bloom's dead son Rudy appears to him as he would have been -
had he lived - a harrowing apparition: little Rudy, the Lamb of the World.
The prose in this chapter is lenghty and sleepy, in accordance with the atmosphere at this late hour.
Bloom helps Stephen to get up after he was knocked unconscious in the fight.
They are together at last: the young, cynical intellectual Stephen Dedalus and the mature Leopold Bloom, a kind, helpful
citizen. They are each other's opposite: yet they also have many things in common. Both are loners, outsiders, strangers
in their own environment. Critics believe both men represent a side of Joyce; together they are the author. Both Stephen
and Bloom have forsworn their parents' religion. Stephen is thirsty and together they stagger towards the
cabman's shelter at Butt Bridge. In a fatherly manner Bloom explains that Nighttown is a dangerous place for young men,
especially when drunk they are easy victims for whores and shady types. In the Cabman shelter Bloom tells about the Citizen,
who insulted his Jewish faith. He confides in Stephen and boasts about Molly's musical talents.
When Bloom realises that Stephen has not eaten all day he invites him to come home with him.
- Scene: The Cabman's Shelter
- Hour: 1.00 AM
- Organ: Nerves
- Art: Navigation
- Colour: ---
- Symbol: Sailors
- Narrative (Old)
Preparatory to anything else Mr Bloom brushed off the greater bulk of the shavings and handed
Stephen the hat and ashplant and bucked him up generally in orthodox Samaritan fashion, which he very badly needed.
His (Stephen's) mind was not exactly what you would call wandering but a bit unsteady and on his expressed desire for
some beverage to drink Mr Bloom, in view of the hour it was and there being no pumps of Vartry water available for
their ablutions, let alone drinking purposes, hit upon an expedient by suggesting, off the reel, the propriety of
the cabman's shelter, as it was called, hardly a stonesthrow away near Butt Bridge, where they might hit upon some
drinkables in the shape of a milk and soda or a mineral.
But how to get there was the rub. For the nonce he was rather nonplussed but inasmuch as the duty plainly
evolved upon him to take some measures on the subject he pondered suitable ways and means during which Stephen
So far as he could see he was rather pale in the face so that it occurred to him as highly
advisable to get a conveyance of some description which would answer in their then condition, both of them being
e.d. ed, particularly Stephen, always assuming that there was such a thing to be found. Accordingly, after a few
such preliminaries, as, in spite of his having forgotten to take up his rather soapsuddy handkerchief after it had
done yeoman service in the shaving line, brushing, they both walked together along Beaver street.
In Homer's epic, Odysseus meets with the faithful and hospitable swineherd
Eumaeus after Odysseus has returned to Ithaca; shortly thereafter, Odysseus joins with Telemachus and
slaughters Penelope's suitors. In Joyce's novel, a coffee-house which is said to be run by Skin-the-Goat
(James) Fitzharris provides a symbolic place for Bloom and Stephen to chat before the two men return to
Bloom's house in the next chapter. The Homeric parallel also reinforces two other themes in the episode:
first, the motif of disguises and the imagery of the wanderer's return; no one knows whether the
returned sailor 'W.B. Murphy' really bears that name, or whether, like Bloom and Odysseus,
he actually is going to return to a wife whom he has not seen for several years.
And who knows whether Parnell, like Bloom, will ever 'return' - that is, were there really only stones
buried in Parnell's casket? And, more important to this narrative, will Bloom be able to return in any
meaningful way to Molly? Throughout this episode Joyce infuses a sense of exhaustion, emptiness, and futile
wandering. The syntax contributes immensely to this effect, as Joyce fills the chapter with lengthy,
unfinished sentences, creating an atmosphere of tiredness.
- Eumeus = Skin the Goat
- Sailor = Ulysses Pseudangelos
- Melanthius = Corley
This chapter is written in the catechism style: questions and answers. The answers are elaborate and quasi -
scientific, with great attention to detail. We get to know all about Bloom: his dreams, beliefs and
disappointments, his outward appearances, his living room, his books, his father's suicide, his daughter and his not so educated wife.
When the two men have reached 7 Eccles Street, it becomes clear that Bloom hasn't got his
latchkey with him. He enters through the cellarage and opens the door for Stephen. They talk into great detail about
their resemblances in spite of completely different backgrounds. Bloom thinks Stephen would be perfect to teach Molly Italian,
a language she needs for her singing and invites him to stay the night. Stephen refuses; he'd rather leave, and after urinating
together in the garden Bloom is alone again.
- Scene: Bloom's House
- Hour: 2.00 AM
- Organ: Skeleton
- Art: Science
- Colour: ---
- Symbol: Comets
- Catechism (Impersonal)
What action did Bloom make on their arrival at their destination? At the housesteps of the 4th of the
equidifferent uneven numbers, number 7 Eccles street, he inserted his hand mechanically into the back pocket of his
trousers to obtain his latchkey.
Was it there? It was in the corresponding pocket of the trousers which he had worn on the day but one preceding.
Why was he doubly irritated? Because he had forgotten and because he remembered that he had reminded himself
twice not to forget.
What were then the alternatives before the, premeditatedly (respectively) and inadvertently, keyless couple?
To enter or not to enter. To knock or not to knock.
Bloom's decision? A stratagem.
Resting his feet on the dwarf wall, he climbed over the area railings, compressed
his hat on his head, grasped two points at the lower union of rails and stiles, lowered his body gradually by its
length of five feet nine inches and a half to within two feet ten inches of the area pavement, and allowed his body
to move freely in space by separating himself from the railings and crouching in preparation for the impact of the
The contrast of Bloom's actions with those of Odysseus is crucial.
Odysseus and Telemachus united at the end of the Odyssey in order to kill the suitors
who had insisted on courting Penelope until she chose among them. Bloom, the passive twentieth-century
anti-hero treats Molly's infidelity with the 'suitor' Boylan with acceptance and generosity.
The style of this episode, with its question - and - answer format and its 'scientized' language,
has caused critics some difficulty. Joyce called the chapter his personal favourite.
The style fulfils several functions. Its catechetical nature supplies a religious basis for
the discussion between Bloom and Stephen; so does the vast amount of religious imagery.
- Eurymachus = Boylan
- Suitors = Scruples
- Bow = Reason
The last chapter in the novel is completely told by Molly in one long sentence, in the style of interior monologue.
Bloom finally lies beside her in their bed and at first Molly does not recognize him, there is something about him
that has changed.
Molly is an attractive, sensual woman who has had many lovers in her life.
They all pass before her mind's eye. The last one has just left: Blazes Boylan, her impressario.
Her thoughts linger mainly on five men: two loves of her youth, long ago; then on the young Stephen Dedalus, her lover Blazes Boylan and finally on Leopold Bloom,
her husband. She has often been disappointed by him, sometimes thinks him ridiculous, but nevertheless, yes, he is also
the man who really makes her feel worth while and feminine, and her love is exclusively for him.
- Scene: The Bed
- Hour: Dawn
- Organ: Flesh
- Art: ---
- Colour: ---
- Symbol: Earth
- Technique: Monologue (Female)
.................... and the Spanish girls laughing in their shawls and their tall combs and the
auctions in the morning the Greeks and the jews and the Arabs and the devil knows who else from all the ends
of Europe and Duke street and
the fowl market all clucking outside Larby Sharons and the poor donkeys slipping half asleep and the vague
fellows in the cloaks asleep in the shade on the steps and the big wheels of the carts of the bulls and the
old castle thousands of years old yes and those handsome Moors all in white and turbans like kings asking
you to sit down in their little bit of a shop and Ronda with the old windows of the posadas glancing eyes a
lattice hid for her lover to kiss the iron and the wineshops half open at night and the castanets and the
night we missed the boat at Algeciras the watchman going about serene with his lamp and
O that awful deepdown torrent O and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious
sunsets and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and pink and blue and
yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gibraltar as a girl where
I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall
I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and
then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain
flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts
all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.
In Homer's epic, Odysseus is reunited with Penelope after he has slain the numerous suitors.
At first, however, Penelope does not recognise her husband; she is convinced that indeed he is Odysseus,
her husband, after he is able to describe to her the construction of their bed, a fact known only to the
two of them.
In Joyce, the scene for 'Penelope' is Bloom's bed, whose jingling sound has been heard, vocally foreshadowed,
and developed through several motifs in Ulysses throughout this single day of June 16th, 1904.
- Penelope = Earth
- Web = Movement
Text: Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics. Introduction by Declan Kiberd, 1992.
Homer parallels: Cliffs Notes on Joyce's Ulysses, 1999.
Pictures: from the former website "Ulysses for Dummies".