Calypso 0018

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The carnivorousness we saw in Bloom early in this episode here turns into what looks kind of like ogling. Eyeing the haunches of the nextdoor girl, her “vigorous hips,” gets Bloom thinking about her whacking carpets outside, and in fact he lingers on the image. This is not the last time we will see our hero indulging in a kind of S and M-esque fantasizing, nor is it the only instance of a propensity towards voyeurism. Molly may be Bloom’s primary object of desire, but that definitely does not keep him from looking elsewhere.

But the fantasy girl next door with the meaty behind takes on other casts as well; she reminds Bloom of cattle, which combined with picking up a paper and reading about Zionist land development in Palestine (the building of a settlement at the Sea of Galilee by Moses Montefiore, a Victorian Anglo-Jewish philanthropist), leads Bloom to begin pondering the land of his origin. Over the next ten pages as Bloom turns back to home and Molly, feminine imagery will combine with another series of imaginings of the east, this time the Holy Land, and this time rather bleak.

 

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Reader’s Guide for IV: Calypso

2 thoughts on “Calypso 0018

  1. Yep, this is the first instance in the novel (p57 f the 1922 version) when we get to know that the main character is Jewish. Even so, Joyce makes it a puzzle to get through; in a butchershop looking for a pork kidney he picks up a newspaper with specifically Jewish news items and seems to know them well. For readers at the time this would mark him, and the butcher, as particularly upper crust Jews; living in a non-Jewish neighborhood and dealing non-kosher trade but still aware of their shared heritage.

    So Bloom’s a Jew. Bloom’s married. But he walks through a modern world in which orthodoxy has little meaning. He can look at hams and vigorous hips without sin.

    But does he act?
    -R

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