Gerty Flint: Miss MacDowell’s model of romance is the pulp heroine of this name. Miss Flint is “sweet, as expected, but vengeful and vindictive” and “capable of exhibiting a very hot temper.” Gerty MacDowell resents the incident of the ball on the beach, wants the crying baby removed from her vicinity, silently demeans Edy Boardman who gossips about her, and thinks Cissy Caffrey is coarse and bold. This girl on the rocks claims to have conquered these unpleasant tendencies with “complete self-control.” So she smiles when laughed at over her inability to foot the ball back to the twins. Gerty succeeds, say Gifford and Seidman by cultivating a “sentimental religiosity.” Her religious practice seems supercilious, vain, and tainted. “Undisguised admiration in a man’s passionate gaze” is the same to Gerty, whether found in a priest’s worship at benediction or a stranger ogling her legs on the rocks.
“a flower that bloometh”: The text quotes “Cherryripe lips” from the opera Martina. In the opera, this phrase follows, “There is a garden in her face.” A garden that Henry Flower would seed.
Iron jelloids and anemia: Gerty protects herself from anemia, but helplessness may be the heroine’s power over men. Gifford and Seidman believe she confesses menstruation to Fr. Conroy. She is privately proud of her feminity, and it seems possible that what she confesses may be “impure thoughts.” The priest soothes her by saying she need not blame herself since it is in her nature. Catholic theology teaches that impure thoughts are not sinful either, merely part of human frailty. Entertaining and intentionally calling up lustful thoughts would be a sin.
Maud Miller and G. Vera Miller: Maud in Whittier’s poem “The Love that Might Have Been” tells of a girl living a romantic dream never realized. G. Vera wrote tales of romantic love realized. The latter wrote for fashion magazines. One admonishes against romantic inertia; the other provides Do-It-Yourself instructions for the vamp in training.
Grandpapa Giltrap: A Giltrap was the owner if there could be an owner, of the mangy but fierce Garryowen. Gerty’s father and grandfather as well were probably men prone to violence, her father having abused Mrs. MacDowell. Young Miss MacDowell adopts overblown romantic notions as a reaction against brutish men.
The lighthouse, a lamplighter, the thurible, snake Leopold eyeing his biblical prey and fireworks: Enough said.
Tableaus, feminine grooming, menstruation, and sexual competition: Bloom’s stream of consciousness explores the same topics that Gerty’s do.
“the man so like himself”: We noted previously that the man in the brown macintosh (Mr. Browne in the short story “the Dead”) is the personification of Death (other theories include Shakespeare, Parnell, Daniel O’Connell, Joyce, Odysseus, the Sandymount drowning and many more). “Who is the dead girl he loves?” Bloom wonders. Every one of them equally well. In “Nausicaa,” Bloom mentally refers to macintosh as “the man so like himself.” It is, or was in a time past, typical at Irish-American wakes for mourners to comment about the corpse, “Doesn’t he look like himself?”