Telemachus 0040

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We’ve talked some over the last few pages about why Joyce’s milkwoman doesn’t speak Irish–click back to see (and maybe even to participate in!) this discussion.

In reading this page, I was struck by the oddness of Haines telling Mulligan to pay the milkwoman.  If we read between the lines, we might infer that Haines has been there for three days, because they’ve had more milk for the last three days. Perhaps Haines is scandalized that they keep getting this milk and not paying for it.  It’s been a while since she’s last been paid.

We’ve made up a quiz about money that we’ll post in the next day or so.  Ulysses has a lot of money in it, as it should, given that it’s a record of a day in the life in the twentieth century.  Joyce tells us how much meals and tram fares are, not to mention daily milk delivery.  The milkwoman’s tally of what the men owe is conspicuously long and complicated.  I’ve made a bookmark for my copy of Ulysses that has the old British money system on it: 12 pence to the shilling, 20 shillings to the pound, etc.  It gives you a very important dimension to the book.  Here’s an important benchmark (and an answer on the quiz)–a pint of beer costs 2 pence. This is the same amount the milkwoman was charging for a pint of milk. The accumulated cost of cost of the milk is 2 shillings, 2 pence, or enough money for a good drunk for two.  Mulligan is clearly not happy about having to pay up.

But what difference does it make to Haines?  In the next chapter we’ll hear that an Englishman’s proudest boast is “I paid my way,” a completely alien thought to Stephen and Mulligan.  Keep an eye on debts and payments in Ulysses, financial and otherwise, and you’ll learn a great deal.

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4 thoughts on “Telemachus 0040

  1. I find the upper panel a little confusing. The milkwoman refuses a cup of tea before it is offered. But perhaps I’m just not used to the traditions of comix. My first enthusism was for Dr. Strange in the ’60’s. And perhaps I’m taking too linear approach. Interested in other comments on this.

  2. Sorry about the confusion. This particular panel is a bit difficult to illustrate as it has quite a lot of dialogue from three separate sources. I wanted to make sure the shot focused a bit more on the boys at the table and their manners, which didn’t leave me much room to connect all the speakers.

    Generally speaking, comic artists try to position the first person speaking in any panel somewhere on the left side so that word balloons follow the logical progression of reading; left to right.The system becomes a bit trickier when one is dealing with a three way conversation, and I was hoping the vertical placement of the milkwoman’s word balloon, under Mulligan’s but slightly above Haines’, might help. Might not of worked so well. This comic presents some unique design issues in word balloon placement because of it’s longer “landscape” format and I’m still learning the subtleties of that. I really appreciate feedback on stuff like this so that I can learn to make the conversations flow easier.

    If you successfully made through the hallucinagenic landscapes of Steve Ditko and the overly verbous word balloons of Stan Lee in early DR STRANGE comix then you’re a perfect test audience for problems like this! Keep the comments coming…

  3. The graphic novel medium helps to clarify who’s speaking, thinking, narrating during the reading of Ulusses. Thanks!

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