Episode 10: Wandering Rocks, ~pp 216-251

Important Symbols & Phrases of Episode 10

  • “the good practical Christian”: In Father Conmee’s paradigm, salvation is a transactional affair. Martin Cunningham is an asset to the Church not only because he does good works as he does in “Grace” (Dubliners) or the “Hades” episode, but because he raises and contributes cash during the “missions” drive. Conmee consorts at the highest rungs of Catholicism, saving the souls of M.P.’s, Lady Maxwell, and little scholars with school tuitions paid by pawnbrokers, bookmakers, and a strutting London journalist. The priest prays over the biscuits of Dublin’s rich and proud. He then brushes his teeth with arecanut paste imported from Asia, bringing him closer to the pagan souls that need saving. When asked for alms by a limbless sailor, Conmee saves his shilling, dropping in the hat a benediction instead.
  • Dublin- UP: In any number of cases in this episode we find characters, objects, and events reappearing at times and places that are possible and logical, and in sequences that are unlikely, impossible, or illogical. It’s all very quantum. Sometimes doubles magically appear, then magically dissolve. Examples include doubled appearances of Molly’s Ample Arm/Alms; Bloom as the dark-backed man; Young Patrick Dignam’s doubled reflection; The repeat appearance of the two old ones with midwife’s bag, umbrella, and cockles; The skiff that announces Elija. The prophet travels with a load of bricks aboard the Rosevean and announced in advance by E.L.Y.’ S. Also note the confusion of names: Bloom, Dollard, Kernan/Kiernan, etc.
  • Unfurnished Apartments: Molly’s notice serves as a signal to Boylan and a metaphor for the unavailable “potted meats” at 7 Eccles Street. 
  • Images sans information: Quantum physics identifies that some images travel faster than light but without encoded meaning (like a shadow). Childe Dignam notes a poster for a boxing match that has already taken place. Boody expects a meal because a pot is boiling— it contains shirts. Kernan mistakes a lookalike for Lambert’s brother. Fanning’s reflection momentarily passes for his formidable self.
  • Why Tom Rochford?: This character pops up at intervals. Here he demonstrates an insignificant invention, a device used as a means of tracking music hall turns. Admirers praise his heroism, but Rochford’s efforts were futile. According to Adams, the endangered party died, and Rochford’s dyspepsia (gas) resulted from his time in the sewer line. Adams continues that his ineffectual volunteerism is characteristic of the Irish/English contrast. While the British are likely to make prudent choices, the wild Irish will be recklessly generous.
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