Telemachus 0037

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This is an especially marvelous page, and the less said about it the better. But something must be said.

So Stephen, Mulligan, and Haines are eating their breakfast. There being no refrigerator, milk is delivered every day by a milkwoman, who’s presumably just come from the cows. Stephen (or is it Stephen?) imagines her as a messenger in disguise, like Athena. If the milkwoman is Athena, and Stephen is Telemachus, then we can expect that in some way she’s going to send him on his way, wittingly or unwittingly.

Several old women represent Ireland symbolically: “Silk of the Kine and poor old woman,” are two, also the Shan van Vocht or Cathleen Ni Houlihan.  So you could say that Stephen and Mulligan’s profanation of Irish culture (and Irish women) has been punctured by the arrival of the symbol of Ireland herself.  We will soon find that she’s not a perfect symbol of all things Irish, but we’ll save that for a later panel.

So what’s with the naked lady?  It’s all part of Stephen’s notion of her as a goddess in disguise, also a figure of Ireland enslaved, serving her conqueror (Haines, the Englishman) and her gay betrayer (Mulligan).  If a messenger from the gods comes to visit your for breakfast, in the guise of a poor old woman, how might that change the way you face your day?

 

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4 thoughts on “Telemachus 0037

  1. This is a fantastic panel–really great. Being able to actually portray images insides of Stephen’s head is the best part about the comic form. I have been re-reading Ulysses for class and thinking about how great some of the scenes will be in the comic (when the Citizen throws a biscuit tin at Bloom, for example) and hope that you make it deep into the novel

    Thanks!

  2. Oh, we’ll make it Ted. Comix have, long before the rise of graphic novels, been a perfect medium for serialized material. Hal Foster did PRINCE VALIANT for 63 years and, to my mind, never looked the least bit bored with it. I think I should be able to last the ten or so years this idea will take.

    One of the fantastic qualities of this novel for me as a cartoonist is the dramatic shifts it takes in narrative style from chapter to chapter. I’ve laid out a couple of the other chapters already using completely different methods and, trust me, Mr Bloom’s way of looking at the world will be completely different than Stephen’s. I can’t wait to get there.

    Imagine how much fun “Circe” is going to be…
    -Rob

  3. At first glance I wondered about the naked lady…Where did this come from. But your explicaation du texte put it in perspective as a representation of the numinous/luminous symbols or what happens in Stephen’s mind. The strip brings me back to the original text again and again…always picking up things missed in previous readings.

  4. Let’s step back a moment, shall we? I mean, Stephen is deifying, fetishizing, his milklady. And whining when she pays more attention to Mulligan and Haines than him. Seriously? My, he is needy. Could you imganine living with this guy? I think something else is going on here, in the form of commentary on the perils of the cultural elite trying to use regular people as pawns to play out their utopian dreams. That is, I think Stephen is being caricatured.

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