Episode 4: Calypso,~pp 54-69

Important Themes of Episode 4

  • Shared Experiences: Episode 4 takes place ten miles north of the Martello tower, but a kind of quantum reality is at play. Bloom’s musings transport us across distance to Stephen’s experiences at that hour. “Spooky action at a distance,” Einstein called a similar phenomenon. Bloom considers his milk service while similar events transpire at the Martello Tower. He suffers a misplaced key at the hour when Stephen surrenders his key to Mulligan. Poldy recalls a musical performance of Turko the Terrible; Joyce’s mother kept a playbill from her attendance at that play among her treasures. In the eight o’clock hour, Bloom considers how a tramline to the Cattle Market would boost property values in the neighborhood, soon Stephen and Deasy will discuss livestock. More than mere kindred spirits, these two are bound cosmically.
  • Introducing Poldy Bloom: Frank Budgen tells us that Stephen and Bloom who will become his “spiritual” father are opposite in many ways. Young and old but also artistic versus scientific. Bloom “by race a Jew, equitable in temper, humane and just whereas Stephen, the Gentile, is egotistical, embittered, denies his social obligations and can be generous but is rarely just.” Bloom is a fully developed personality while Stephen is still immature. About Bloom, Budgen goes on to say “… always he is the same kindly, prudent, level-tempered, submissive, tragically isolated, shrewd, skeptical, simple, uncensorious person, with an outward seemingly soft and pliant but with a hard inner core of self-sufficiency.” Bloom’s actions are ordinary and routine. Joyce said how a man ties his shoelaces or how he eats his egg tells more about him than how he might go off to war. Ulysses then is a modern story more about tying shoelaces and eating eggs than about warcraft. 
  • What’s in a Name?: Gifford and Seidman translate Bloom’s given name as “the people’s prince.” Stephen is named for the first Christian martyr. Certainly, Joyce did think himself martyred for the sake of his art.
  • Metempsychosis: In Hindu theology and theosophy this is the principle of reincarnation whereby through spiritual maturation a soul can be reborn into a higher life form. This same principle suggests the growth of a soul from one plane of existence to a more advanced one.
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