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Ulysses > 9. Scylla and Charybdis

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message 1: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4409 comments Circe advises Odysseus in Book 12 of the Odyssey that there are two ways for him to proceed: by the wandering rocks, which no man except Jason (with the help of Hera) has ever survived, or through the strait between Scylla and Charybdis. Scylla is sunk to her waist in a cave on the cliff by the sea, and with her six fearsome heads she will snatch any sailors that pass by. On the other side is Charybdis, a whirlpool-like creature who sucks down everything three times a day and spews them back. Circe advises Odysseus to go through Scylla and Charybdis, and to stick to the Scylla side, because it is better to lose six of his men than his whole ship and crew in the whirlpool.

The monsters that lie in wait in Episode 8 are variously identified as Plato and Aristotle, mysticism and scholasticism, and London and Stratford. The organ for the episode is the brain, and the form is of a dialogue that takes place in the National library, where Stephen finds himself after hitting the pub. (Mulligan said that Stephen couldn't manage this argument under three pints, and he was right.)

The bulk of the episode revolves around the theory of Stephen's that Mulligan alludes to in Telemachus: that "Hamlet's grandson is Shakespeare's grandfather and that he himself is the ghost of his own father." The argument is convoluted, sophistical, and in the end Stephen says he does not believe it, but he is preoccupied with it throughout the book. So the reader has to ask: Why?

The theory itself is hard to unravel, and it is spiked with unspoken comments that suggest Stephen himself is not entirely in earnest. Instead he is playing a game of wits, stabbing at the other participants with his “dagger definitions” like Scylla skewering Odysseus’ men.

Stephen's Hamlet theory begins with the question, “What is a ghost?” He starts by suggesting that Shakespeare himself played the ghost of Hamlet's father. Stephen argues that Shakespeare was a ghost in other ways too: after his father died, Shakespeare became the ghost of a son; and after his son Hamnet died, he became a ghost of a father. When he left for London, leaving his wife in Stratford, he became a ghost of a husband, a ghost of himself.

Which raises the question: Does fatherhood or sonhood or motherhood disappear when fathers or sons or mothers die? (Is Stephen a ghost himself in the wake of his mother’s death? Is Bloom, after the death of his son and father? When Bloom enters the office of the Evening Telegraph, MacHugh murmurs, "The ghost walks.")

So the ghost of Hamlet is Shakespeare himself speaking to his son, Hamlet (who Stephen calls Hamnet’s twin) demanding revenge on his wife, Ann Hathaway. Why revenge? Stephen attempts to prove that Ann Hathaway first seduced Shakespeare, which Stephen construes as an attack on his manhood, and was then unfaithful to him with Shakespeare's brothers, Edmund and Richard (whom Shakespeare later made villains in his plays.) Molly's infidelity is outside the scope of Stephen's argument, but it's hard not to see a connection here.

AE. (the poet George Russell) finds Stephen's Hamlet theory distasteful because it pries into the private life of a great man. This raises a question germane to Ulysses itself: when is it valid to interpret a literary work in light of the author’s biography?

Eglinton asks about a literary party scheduled for that night, and it seems that just about everyone (including Haines) has been invited – but not Stephen. As AE leaves, Stephen gives him Deasy's letter to publish in the Irish Homestead. The great artist Dedalus is thus reduced to “bullockbefriending bard.”

In the middle of Stephen’s argument Mulligan enters the library. Stephen has missed his appointment with him and Haines at The Ship, sending Mulligan a telegram that reads: “The sentimentalist is he who would enjoy without incurring the immense debtorship for a thing done.”

Theology enters into the argument at various points as Stephen applies the doctrine of the trinity or its related heresies to his Hamlet theory. He refers to the Sabellian heresy that the “Father was Himself His Own Son” and concludes that Shakespeare “was not the the father of his own son merely but, being no more a son, he was and felt himself the father of all his race, the father of his own grandfather, the father of his unborn grandson who, by the same token, never was born…for nature abhors perfection.” Mulligan mocks this idea vigorously but in doing so reveals what I think is the point of Stephen’s argument: “I have an unborn child in my brain. Pallas Athena! A play! The play’s the thing! Let me parturiate!” Stephen's theory makes most sense to me if it is applied broadly to the creativity and work of an artist in general.

As the argument winds down, Stephen agrees with Eglinton that “the truth is midway, he is the ghost and prince. He is all in all.”

“Yes..." Stephen says, "The playwright who wrote the folio of the world… is doubtless all in all in all of us, ostler and butcher, and would be bawd and cuckold too but that in the economy of heaven, foretold by Hamlet, there are no more marriages…”

In the midst of all this Bloom has entered the scene in a very peripheral way. He is in search of the design for the Keyes ad. Mulligan has just witnessed Bloom in the museum inspecting the “mesial groove” of Venus Kallipyge in the museum next door. Mulligan assumes Bloom has erotic reasons for doing this, but we know from the last episode that his interest is more cloacal. Mulligan makes unkind and insinuating comments when Bloom enters, and as he and Stephen leave, Bloom passes between them, bowing and greeting. “A dark back went before the. Step of a pard…” Stephen again thinks of the dream he had in the tower the night before: “Last night I flew. Easily flew. Men wondered. Street of harlots after. A creamfruit melon he held to me. In. You will see.”


message 2: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4409 comments Sorry for the length of the opening post. This is a rather tough one to sort out, so here is a much better synopsis, plus some nice footage of the National Library of Ireland:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sC2pW...


message 3: by Tommi (new)

Tommi | 36 comments I didn’t think this was as hard as Proteus because the subject matter (literature, Shakespeare, the -hood question Thomas asks) was so interesting. This might be among my favourite chapters, in fact. Not that I understood much of it... But I think I understood much less of Proteus or Aeolus.


message 4: by Thomas (last edited Jan 28, 2015 10:13AM) (new)

Thomas | 4409 comments Patrice wrote: "First question why is the librarian always referred to as "the Quaker librarian"? I wondered if it was some kind of put down. More religious bigotry?"

Stephen is in a really bad mood, exemplified by his first words, followed by a sneer. I think poor Lyster is just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Stephen seizes on his Quakerism for no particular reason -- he just happens to be a Quaker, which is an easy thing for Stephen to riff on because it distinguishes him. Stephen is playing the Scylla here, stabbing at whatever victim happens to cross his path.


message 5: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4409 comments Patrice wrote: "Interesting. It makes sense, he's scapegoating him. And he knows he won't fight back."

The snide comments that Stephen makes are spoken to himself, and to us in the narrative, so you're right. Lyster continues to be friendly and earnest and helpful throughout the episode because he doesn't hear this stuff.

Part of Stephen's bad mood might have to do with the fact that he has just consumed three whiskeys in Mooney's boosing shed at 2 in the afternoon. He thinks at one point that this is what is making him "witty," but it might also be making him a bit mean.


message 6: by Adelle (new)

Adelle | 127 comments About halfway through.

http://youtu.be/h97kbv4mbsc

;-) Just kidding.

But it's slow going :-)


message 7: by Wendel (last edited Jan 29, 2015 12:06AM) (new)

Wendel (wendelman) | 609 comments The impressionist painters preferred land- and cityscapes, neglecting the formerly more prestigious historical subjects. Maybe Ulysses’s style is also more apt for the fleeting impressions of a Dublin stroller than for the purposes of literary criticism?
Of course personal interest is also a factor - anyway, I ran aground in this chapter. So I have to rely on external sources to lead me to the next episode. I made a short resume of my findings - in a spoiler, as it adds nothing to what Thomas wrote earlier.

(view spoiler)

I'm not a fan of lengthy theoretical debates in novels - the rule show don't tell should ideally put a limit on them. So I cannot avoid the question how all this theorizing is relevant for the book. Does it tells us something about Stephen, about his needs and motives? That made me think of Joyce's own biography (Stephen almost invites us to do so), of the isolation in which he lived (at least until 1914, when he received finally some signs of literary recognition).

Joyce had abandoned his religion, found no support in his family and got even less, as we can see reflected in this episode, from his literary acquaintances*. Soon he would decide that exile would be less painful. Like his creator, Stephen is completely on his own - surrounded by what he considered to be Ireland 'suitors’. He is groping for something or someone to fill the void, without violating his integrity, his autonomy.

* Joyce's anger with the young Dublin literati is still alive in Gorman's authorized biography, written 35 years later (view spoiler) Just an example of the partisan style of Gorman's old but interesting book.


message 8: by Wendel (new)

Wendel (wendelman) | 609 comments Even with such a shallow draft, yes.


message 9: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 5012 comments I am reminded of two things by this chapter: 1) listening to academicians haggling 2) those who attempt to ensure credibility of self by association.

Not one of the more enjoyable chapters to me. Perhaps because, while not a Shakespeare aficionado, like many others, I have been exposed to so much of the controversy and so many of the stories associated with his life that the ruminations of Stephen D. seem tame. A place for me where the text here feels dated by the events and ideas that probably followed it, but which may have been more "leading-edge" at the time written. (I don't know enough of the timeline of Shakespearean scholarship to really judge that.)

I'm not so much critical of Joyce here, just perhaps attempting to bring to the fore some of the ways reputations are created in the "modern" world and to suggest that there are both men and women who might themselves gain by recognizing and adapting Joyce's espoused and used technique of reputation by association. (I learned such much too late to be effective in producing things I wanted to help make happen. I had men tell me that wasn't just a "woman issue" -- it had been true for them as well.) Doors were opened for Joyce (by self-association with Homer and Shakespeare and..., not that what he did was minor in scope), we will see if the same is true for poor SD.


message 10: by Wendel (new)

Wendel (wendelman) | 609 comments We have DNA now. Good for kings, but for the church ...?


message 11: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4409 comments Patrice wrote: "If we never really know who our father is then doesn't everything fall apart? How can Telemachus know he will be king? And what about the church? Is there the implication that we don't know who ..."

I think the final point that Stephen wants to make is that biological fatherhood is not as important as spiritual, or artistic fatherhood. Stephen's biological father means little to him, but Shakespeare means a lot. What you said before is quite right, I think: that Stephen wants to think of Shakespeare as his father. (You said Joyce wants to think this, but I think in this case Stephen and Joyce are interchangeable.... incidentally, Joyce's grandson is named Stephen Joyce.) In terms of Stephen's identity, Shakespeare really is more like his father than Simon Dedalus is.

As for the Church, we know how Stephen feels. He speaks of "the playwright who wrote the folio of the world." That is the Father for him: the great artificer.


message 12: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 5012 comments Thomas wrote: "That is the Father for him: the great artificer. ..."

In this meaning: "a skilled or artistic worker : a mechanic or artisan (such as a silversmith) whose handicraft requires skill or knowledge of a special kind"

rather than this one: "one that makes or contrives: deviser, inventor, framer" or "a cunning or artful fellow." ?

Or some combination of all of the above?


message 13: by Hollyinnnv (new)

Hollyinnnv | 60 comments I think that this chapter would have been too remote had I not been familiar with the Shakespeare plays Joyce references. I actually enjoyed the chapter because I felt like I could understand a bit more than in previous chapters-though still admittedly very little in the grand scheme of the book.

Which brings me to my question from the last chapter. Buck says he saw Bloom at the museum. Was Buck the person Bloom was hiding from at the very end of the last chapter?


message 14: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Hicks (goodreadscomlaurele) | 2438 comments I really liked this chapter, possibly because I didn't take it too seriously. All the quotes from Shakespeare and the Bible are great. I am almost sure that James is making fun of the literary discussion, which reminds me very much of authorship debates.


message 15: by Kyle (new)

Kyle | 192 comments The language in the text is far more abstruse, but this episode reminds me of any number of late night discussions I had over (too many) drinks during my first year or two of college. It seems to me that we have a good ole fashioned, high-fallutin' nerd-fight on our hands here. Arguing obscure points that are impossible to prove for no better reason than the enjoyment the give and take of the thing (which can certainly be as good a reason as any). As Thomas says: "playing a game of wits, stabbing at the other participants with his “dagger definitions” like Scylla skewering Odysseus’ men."


message 16: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4409 comments Lily wrote: "Thomas wrote: "That is the Father for him: the great artificer. ..."

In this meaning: "a skilled or artistic worker : a mechanic or artisan (such as a silversmith) whose handicraft requires skil..."


Probably a bit of both. When he uses the phrase in Portrait of the Artist he is referencing Daedalus, creator of the labyrinth. And I suppose what we are dealing with here in Ulysses is another kind of labyrinth, so maybe the metaphor holds up?


message 17: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4409 comments Patrice wrote: "I'm not sure that it's SD who is calling the librarian "Quaker". On re-reading it seems to be Joyce's narration.

Joyce (SD) is just full of hubris. at 1057 he says
"The playwright who wrote the ..."


It's an interesting question, especially given Stephen's conclusion that the son and the father, and the artist and the creation are "all in all." Though I wonder a bit if Stephen is entirely serious when he says that. It sounds to me like the Scylla might be falling into the Charybdis there.

But your comment has me curious now. How do you tell the difference in this book between the narrator and the character's interior thoughts?

Stephen seems to me on the side of Aristotle when he asks, "Which of the two [Aristotle or Plato] would have banished me from his commonwealth?" But by the end of his argument he seems to be propounding exactly the thing that he criticizes AE and the mystics of, an unbounded, indefinite world of ideas where everything sort of folds into everything else. But this is where his own sophistry has led him.


message 18: by Adelle (new)

Adelle | 127 comments Thanks, Patrice, Thomas, Wendal, etc.

I thought of paternity and the line from the Wordsworth poem. "The child is the father of the man."

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/...

Oh, I did like how the paths of SD and Bloom crossed.

I noted SD thinking "must part."


message 19: by Linda (new)

Linda | 322 comments Tommi wrote: "I didn’t think this was as hard as Proteus because the subject matter (literature, Shakespeare, the -hood question Thomas asks) was so interesting..."

And the subject matter that you point out in this chapter is the reason why I have come to read Thomas' summary while I'm still only halfway through reading the chapter myself. My background is weak in these subjects, along with Aristotle and Plato, so I'm finding the conversations in this chapter confusing.


message 20: by Linda (new)

Linda | 322 comments Patrice wrote: "Great synopsis Thomas, I think this is the hardest chapter yet, worse than Proteus."

I agree, Patrice! I'm feeling a bit deflated after attempting this chapter and then coming here to read the summary before I'm even done reading the chapter myself.


message 21: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Thomas wrote: "Sorry for the length of the opening post. This is a rather tough one to sort out, so here is a much better synopsis, plus some nice footage of the National Library of Ireland:

https://www.youtube...."


You may be sorry for its length, but I'm extremely grateful. I'm still working through the early sections on the Hamlet discussion, but I'll get there eventually.

A.E. was a favorite poet of my father's, and I have in my poetry section his 1926 copy of Collected Poems, which book "holds what poetry of mine I would wish my friends to read." I'm afraid that when AE showed up in Ulysses, I took the book down to revisit, and spent time with it that I should have been devoting to Joyce. But oh well.


message 22: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Patrice wrote: "First question why is the librarian always referred to as "the Quaker librarian"?"

Might it simply have been that the librarian in that library was at that time a Quaker? Quakers were pretty distinct with their simple attire, broad brimmed hats, and thee-ing and thou-ing, so it wouldn't be surprising I think for him to have been identified as such.

Aside: one of the little touches of Quaker humor I grew up with was the story of the little Quaker girl who got so mad at her brother, of course she couldn't hit him or swear at him, but she expressed her anger quite adequately with "thee, thee, thee YOU thee!"


message 23: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Patrice wrote: "I bought into the Hamlet theory, I always wondered why he named his hero (if that's what he is, he does remind me of Bloom) after his dead son, "

Perhaps it was the other way around. There was another play about a character named Hamlet before Shakespeare wrote his Hamlet, so Shakespeare didn't invent the name.


message 24: by Thomas (last edited Jan 29, 2015 07:59PM) (new)

Thomas | 4409 comments Patrice wrote: " Is this just a preparation for SD to see Bloom as his spiritual father? It seems a little odd since SD barely knows Bloom at this point"

I think that's part of it. There are moments of "telepathy" between Stephen and Bloom, where one thinks something that the other has thought or dreamt about. These are hard to see unless you've read the book a few times, but one instance of this is when Bloom passes between Stephen and Mulligan at the end of this episode, and Stephen thinks of the dream he had the night before: "Last night I flew... Street of harlots after. A cream fruit melon he held to me."

If you go back to Calypso, Bloom reads about Agendath Netaim, "Orangegroves and immense melon field north of Jaffa." Bloom thinks about that throughout the day, and the image of melons and citrons recur -- and these will appear to Stephen at times as well, inexplicably. Joyce seems to be establishing a psychic connection between them with these images, even though they don't know each other well.


message 25: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4409 comments Patrice wrote: "Look what I found! There really was a Quaker librarian.

genius.com/James-joyce-ulysses-Chap-9..."


The other characters -- Mr. Best, Eglinton (pseudonym Magee), and A.E. of course -- were also real people. One of them, Magee I think, complained that people would express surprise when they met him because they thought he was a fictional person made up by Joyce.


message 26: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4409 comments Everyman wrote: "Perhaps it was the other way around. There was another play about a character named Hamlet before Shakespeare wrote his Hamlet, so Shakespeare didn't invent the name. "

I know very little about Shakespeare's biography, so I'm looking forward to hearing what you think about Stephen's treatment of it. I'm expecting it to be twisted out of all proportion... but maybe not?


message 27: by Suzann (new)

Suzann | 358 comments Patrice wrote: "When we were reading the Henreid I, in my People Magazine mode, read Bill Bryson's "Shakespeare: The World as Stage", in the hope of finding out about the man. Although Bryson cobbled together en..."

This is one of the themes of postmodernism. Historians cobble together the few "facts" they find with projections from their own experience and imagination. Thus the history is biography, biography is fiction concept. Joyce cobbles together material from history, literature, philosophy with fantastic imagination and verbal acuity. We call this fiction, but I maintain that the creative/writing process for "history" is not significantly different. The believers in the accuracy of history will find this concept of history as narrative offensive, but Patrice points out how little is known about Shakespeare and how many films, biographies etc., in spite of the few facts, create the Shakespeare we "know" today.


message 28: by Suzann (new)

Suzann | 358 comments http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/engl_2...

There have been references to Plato and Aristotle, neither of whose philosophical positions I was very clear about. Do you think these lecture notes from the U of Idaho fairly characterize their positions? Does this information enhance a reading of U.?


message 29: by Chris (new)

Chris | 371 comments Thomas wrote: "Circe advises Odysseus in Book 12 of the Odyssey that there are two ways for him to proceed: by the wandering rocks, which no man except Jason (with the help of Hera) has ever survived, or through ..."

I LOVED this synopsis of the chapter. I'm only halfway through, but this will certainly help my understanding of what is going on. Thanks!


message 30: by Adelle (new)

Adelle | 127 comments Chris wrote: "Thomas wrote: "Circe advises Odysseus in Book 12 of the Odyssey that there are two ways for him to proceed: by the wandering rocks, which no man except Jason (with the help of Hera) has ever surviv..."

Well wouldn't that just be Joyce, SD, taking the hard way.


message 31: by Wendel (new)

Wendel (wendelman) | 609 comments We all know practically everything that is to know about Shakespeare. Very little. All those countless biography’s cannot do much more than fill in the background. The centre stage remains empty. So Stephen is building a theory based on fancy assumptions, the stuff not of history but of historical fiction. However, Stephen not only oversteps the limits of empiricism, he goes also beyond the limits of reason.

In general he is, like Joyce, a good Aristotelian, both by education and instinct. And as such he must steer (as advised by Circe, another good Aristotelian) close to Scylla. It’s better to suffer her slings and arrows, than to disappear in the vortex of mysticism. But this time he cannot keep course and ends up dangerously close to the middle (!).

But he may be right after all. For one who wants to be an artist, a course too close to Scylla is not a good choice. The artist (in us) not only has to cater to the brain (the organ of this episode), but to the heart as well. The domain of religion, art, love and hate - where reason is powerless.


message 32: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4409 comments Susan wrote: "http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/engl_2...

There have been references to Plato and Aristotle, neither of whose philosophical positions I was very clear abo..."


I think that's good enough for the purposes of this chapter. Stephen is insulted when A.E. says, "all the rest is just the speculation of schoolboys for schoolboys" because this alludes to Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas, whose ideas serve as the foundation for Stephen's aesthetic theory. Plato's "world of ideas" is set against this, and Stephen lumps Plato in with A.E.'s fondness for theosophy and the Celtic revival. It's not particularly fair for him to do this, but Stephen is not playing fair here.


message 33: by Adelle (last edited Jan 31, 2015 02:06PM) (new)

Adelle | 127 comments Wendel wrote: " For one who wants to be an artist, a course too close to Scylla is not a good choice...."

I appreciate very much the commentary on Plato and Aristotle.


message 34: by Suzann (new)

Suzann | 358 comments Wendel wrote: "We all know practically everything that is to know about Shakespeare. Very little. All those countless biography’s cannot do much more than fill in the background. The centre stage remains empty. S..."

Whoeee! It's percolating now!!


message 35: by Kyle (last edited Jan 31, 2015 12:29PM) (new)

Kyle | 192 comments A couple things struck me this time through the episode:

1. Stephen is lonely in a passive sort of way... he seems to want a woman to sweep into his life. Two passages that I could find below.(seem to remember on more, but not seeing it now) Each consists of Stephen talking about a woman/sexual encounter, then his thoughts:

-"The Greyeyed goddess who bends over the boy, Adonis, stooping to conquer, as prologue to the swelling act, is a boldfaced Stafford wench who tumbles in a cornfield a lover younger than herself.

And my turn? When?"

-"His eyes watched it, lowlying on the horizon, eastward of the bear, as he walked by the slumberous summer fields a midnight, returning from Shottery and from her arms.

Both satisfied. I too...
Wait to be wooed and won. Ay, meacock. Who will woo you.

2. I think it was already covered that Stephen and Bloom both wear black. Have we mentioned that Boylan and Mulligan both wear white hats, and are flashy dressers? I noticed Mulligan described as wearing a "primrose" shirt (though i can't find the reference just now), and his Panama hat came up a lot as well. just an interesting side note, i thought.

3. Stephen starts referring to Richard III as "nuncle Ritchie", who he did not visit during his stroll on the strand in Proteus, and who is disdained by Simon Deadalus. I did not see if its come up in this these threads, but the suggestions of pedophilia has always struck me w/r/t nuncle Richie and little Crissie - in Proteus we have Crissie described as "Papa's little bedpal. Lump of love", and Hades Simon says that Crissie is "the wise child that knows her own father". Anyone else getting that?

Overall, my feelings on Scylla & Charybdis are best summed up by Ellington: "You have brought us all this way to show us a French triangle". Reading Ulysses is a great pleasure, but spending too much time in Stephen's headspace wears on me.


message 36: by Adelle (new)

Adelle | 127 comments Kyle wrote: "A couple things struck me this time through the episode:

1. Stephen is lonely in a passive sort of way... he seems to want a woman to sweep into his life. Two passages that I could find below.(s..."




I think you are right about Crissie and for precisely the quotes you posted.

I hadn't noticed the clothes though. It seems to fit. Stephen and Bloom ... not exactly dark holes emitting no light--But more self-contained... not the outgoing, more colorful characters Mulligan and Boylan are.


Well, I shall imagine them now so clothed.


message 37: by Adelle (last edited Jan 31, 2015 03:12PM) (new)

Adelle | 127 comments Patrice wrote: "Interesting point, dark clothes absorb light.

Bloom does seem to take the feminine role.
SD imagines Shakespeare in that role too."


Does he? Shakespeare in a feminine role?

Point me in the right direction, please. ;-)
I missed that. (Missed much, I'm sure.)


message 38: by Adelle (new)

Adelle | 127 comments I, too, suspect Molly might be dominant. Hard to say absolutely as we've only seen her through Bloom.

Thanks, Patrice.


message 39: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4409 comments I think it's right that questions about gender and gender roles come up in a discussion of Bloom and Molly, so I have to ask: why is the masculine considered "dominant" and the feminine "submissive?"

There is a story about Odysseus (not in Homer) that he tried to avoid going to the Trojan War by disguising himself as woman. Could Bloom be up to a similar trick?


message 40: by Suzann (new)

Suzann | 358 comments Adelle wrote: "I, too, suspect Molly might be dominant. Hard to say absolutely as we've only seen her through Bloom./i>

Molly is demanding,plays the diva, succeeds in being waited on, but I don't think Bloom has ceded control to her. I think it's part of the game they play in their relationship, but I doubt she is in control intellectually. She asks the meaning of Met him pike hoses and Bloom explains it to her in a rather paternalistic manner. I think Bloom would dominate sexually, but that relationship is suspended, in exile.



message 41: by Kyle (new)

Kyle | 192 comments I see Bloom as doting on Molly, and that she has either come to expect that sort of treatment from him, or that she was raised to be something of a princess. That she is a trained singer certainly suggests a privileged background. I'm not sure that a see a dominance from either side though - they seem complementary to one another.


message 42: by Adelle (last edited Feb 01, 2015 09:12AM) (new)

Adelle | 127 comments < i>Kyle wrote: ". I'm not sure that a see a dominance from either side though at 66.


But the way she yells at him... after 16 years... "Scald the kettle."

Were I Bloom, I would be yelling back at
her.

Unless... what if Molly does NOT act this way every day? What if Molly is not happy with Bloom on THIS day?

And Bloom is either a hen - pecked husband, or his guilt over Rudy covers all, or there is something he feels guilty about on THIS day, or, as Everyman posted, he avoids ANY confrontation --- even with his own wife when she clearly treats him as though he is the hired help?


I could, of course, be so entirely mistaken. And maybe... They have the relationship they do because they can't get a divorce. So they have to make the best of a bad situation.


message 43: by Adelle (new)

Adelle | 127 comments Wouldn't Nora's book have been an interesting counter -read.

My sympathies in the book thus far are with Stephen Dedalus.


message 44: by Kyle (new)

Kyle | 192 comments Patrice wrote: "Maybe he feels guilty and inadequate because he can't satisfy her so his doting is a way of making up for it? Reparations"

This is possible, but I think that raises the question: Do we know that the lack of sex is due to an inadequacy on Leopold's part? I'm not sure this has been spelled out.


message 45: by Kyle (last edited Feb 01, 2015 09:35AM) (new)

Kyle | 192 comments But the way she yells at him... after 16 years... "Scald the kettle."

Were I Bloom, I would be yelling back ..."


Hmm.. I saw that as sign that she was accustomed to being pampered, but I'm not sure that I saw it as scolding. It seems to me that Leopold is solicitious by nature and enjoys doing things that make her happy. We see later in the day that he thinks about buying nice clothes for her in contrast to thinking of glasses from the lost & found for himself. I'm also recalling his thoughts on seeing the young boys smoking - his first concern is for their health, then he indulgently reminds himself that they have a hard life and if the smokes give them a little pleasure, it's all to the good.


message 46: by Adelle (last edited Feb 01, 2015 09:36AM) (new)

Adelle | 127 comments Kyle wrote: "Patrice wrote: "Maybe he feels guilty and inadequate because he can't satisfy her so his doting is a way of making up for it? Reparations"

This is possible, but I think that raises the question: ..."


As far as I know, it has not been spelled out. Not even suggested, actually.

I think all we know is that after Rudy...


message 47: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4409 comments Patrice wrote: "Maybe he feels guilty and inadequate because he can't satisfy her so his doting is a way of making up for it? Reparations.
"


It's interesting that Bloom never bemoans his weakness, or admits failure with respect to Molly. I don't see him acting guilty about this either. There could be a number of reasons for this, and I can't say I understand it either, but shame just doesn't seem to figure into it. (Stephen, on the other hand, sees himself as weak and ineffectual and is wracked with guilt.)

There is a reason why Bloom is allowing Molly this affair, but I don't think it's because he is guilty or because he can't stop it. It could be that, like Odysseus, he has a plan...


message 48: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4409 comments Kyle wrote: " I saw that as sign that she was accustomed to being pampered, but I'm not sure that I saw it as scolding. It seems to me that Leopold is solicitious by nature and enjoys doing things that make her happy..."

Bloom has a remarkably empathetic imagination. He has feelings for everything from Molly, to the neighborhood children, to the gulls that he buys cakes for. In a novel largely populated by people who are out to get things for themselves, Bloom stands out as different.


message 49: by Suzann (last edited Feb 01, 2015 01:12PM) (new)

Suzann | 358 comments Patrice wrote: "how Bloom can ignore what is happening with Boylan, I keep wanting him to stand up to him, to her, for himself...."

Just wondering if the Bloom that would go after Boylan wouldn't be a man who possesses his woman. Wouldn't Bloom be saying, "Molly's my property, get your mitts off!"? Some women might like to play the game that way--have the man prove how much he loves her by taking possession from the usurper, but I'm not sure why Bloom's choice not to confront Boyland should be considered a weakness. Aren't there many ways to play the game?


message 50: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4409 comments Patrice wrote: "Ohhh, ok, I'll suspend judgment. I didn't see him as that calculating but maybe he is.
."


I'm not sure that it's a deliberate calculation, but Bloom is like a cat. A little bit sneaky, and a little hard to predict. Things start to move in a different direction for him after the next episode. I'll be interested to see if opinions about him begin to change a little!


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