Oh, I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside

ulysses_gunkI forge ahead, but shortly after entering the forbidding jungle of meaning that is Chapter III, or part the third, or as I am reluctant to call it Proteus (I say reluctant as it seems the unnecessary addition of just one more word that escapes my understanding), I at last feel some sympathy for those who have indeed given up, lain down and expired on this Joycean journey.

Green Hell. I think it may be safe to say that everyone has a threshold for ‘this kind of thing’ and I can’t help feeling the desire for a sort of game-show type scenario (as at right) whereby readers are eliminated one by one. I myself have the uncomfortable feeling I’m about to take a short fall into the tank of gunge at any moment.

However, sheer meanness at the thought of wasting money prevents me from hurling the 1922 out of the nearest window. I am not a man to be defeated so easily. Well, not today anyway.

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Leopold Bloom

The everyman hero of Ulysses, Joyce’s reworking of Odysseus.  Bloom is 38 years old, Hungarian Jewish from his father (Rudolf Virag) and Irish Catholic from his mother (Ellen Higgins).  He currently works as an ad canvasser for the newspaper The Freeman’s Journal, but he’s had other odd jobs throughout his life.  He spends the day of June 16 wandering around Dublin:  going to a funeral, checking in at the office, visiting the National Library, walking on the beach.  He’s a deeply human and compassionate character, and carrying around with him two heavy emotional burdens:  grief over the death of his infant son Rudy 11 years before the action of the novel, and anxiety over his impending cuckoldry by his wife Molly, with whom he has not had full sexual relations since their son died.

Stephen Dedalus

[singlepic id=43 w=320 h=240 float=right]Stephen Dedalus is the Telamachus character of Joyce’s Odyssey. He is best known for his moody brooding and lives mostly inside of his own head. 

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