Episode 8: Lestrygonians, ~pp 149-181

Important Symbols & Phrases of Episode 8

  • Banbury Cake: …for the gulls. Seedcake for Bloom from Molly’s kiss. No cake for starving Dilly Dedalus.
  • Hely’s hawkers: This outdated media may need some explaining. Unlike the twirling arrows that direct our contemporary passers-by (or passers-buy) into businesses, these old-fashioned advertisements were mobile. They included ads worn front and back on a human billboard. The device worn was known as a SANDWICH BOARD. That one of Hely’s pedestrian pencil-pushers pulls bread from under his board is …well, the icing on the cake.
  • Our Lady of Mount “Caramel:” Bloom mentally questions how committed the clergy are to self-mortification. While fiction and fact abound with corpulent clergy, it’s notable that there is a corollary between eating as a vicarious suppression of other bodily appetites and the taking of communion. 
  • Parallax: refers to the effect of perspective and environmental interference on sight. Eighty percent of all human preceptors serve sight, but the results are unreliable. Observers occupying different spaces will receive different images. Even similar visual experiences cannot be interpreted in the same way from different perspectives. When riding in a vehicle, objects near the vehicle jump by at a staccato pace. Objects behind move past at the observer’s speed. Who can say which interpretation is empirically correct? It may be worth noting that parallax reflects individualism.
  • Bartell D’Arcy: This prissy tenor is the polar opposite of Poldy. In “The Dead” D’Arcy coyly refuses to sing, begging a weak voice. Coaxing changes this. His song in “The Dead” is a cause of discord between Gabriel and Greta Conroy. D’Arcy is among Molly’s dubious lovers of years gone by.
  • Fox meat seasoned with fear: IF Stephen is the fox who buries his (grand)mother beneath the holly bush. AND Stephen fears water, dogs, Mulligan, Haines, his mother’s ghost. THEN he is now tender enough to be the main course at an artistic sacrifice and part of a new communion.
  • “The Meeting of the Waters”: Another ex-pat Irish poet makes a splash. Bloom recalls his aptly titled poem as he contemplates Thomas Moore’s statue residing over a public urinal. 
  • “Penny roll and walk with the band”: Most Irish conversions from Catholicism to Protestantism were motivated by relief from starvation or homelessness. A meal is a less permanent form of blackmail, many conversions soon recanted. The forced conversions required for admission to orphanages and workhouses had more long-lasting effects. 
  • Boucicault in female costume: The moonfaced entertainer’s typical act contributes to the gender-shifting theme.
  • “Perfume of embraces all him assailed. With hungered flesh obscurely, he mutely craved to adore.”: While other novels’ opening lines may be more recognizable, Anna Karenina and A Tale of Two Cities, for example, there may be no sentences in all of Western literature the making of which has been more discussed. Famously Budgen asked Joyce how much he had written after writing all day. Joyce said, “Two sentences….I already have the words, I am seeking the perfect order of the words in the sentence.” These are the fifteen words that resulted.
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