Telemachus 0038

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I love how Rob has Mulligan sample the milk as if it were a bottle of wine at a fancy restaurant. Exactly Mulligan’s form of jackassery, even if it may be anachronistic.

I’ve never been sure what to make, exactly, of Mulligan’s speech on healthy food. It’s a class marker, to be sure, and perhaps we are to take it as more or less sincere, but misguided. People are starving in Dublin–there’s enormous poverty in the city at this time. The Great Famine is a living memory. More to the point, who is meant to benefit from this pontification? He’s showing off his knowledge and Doctor-power to the milkwoman… but what does this tell us about him?

Neither Joyce nor his alter-ego Stephen Dedalus had a Ph.D. in literature, but Stephen’s feelings here are very familiar to anyone who does. The real doctor gets all the attention. But they guy who’s going to forge in the smithy of his soul the uncreated conscience of her race? He gets nothing.

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One thought on “Telemachus 0038

  1. But why should he get anything? Surely the milk woman has a lot more use for a healthy GI track than an uncreated conscience. To me these panels signify the start of a masterful joke Joyce is playing on all of the Ph.D’s (no offense Mike), beginning with this subtle mockery of Stephen’s sensitivities and ultimately culminating in the Molly speech, in which centuries of pedantic artifice are stripped away and we are left with the musings of a real person with real problems which are more compelling and more heartbreaking than anything clever literary tricks could cook up. I’ll pick this up the next thread, but I think Joyce is commenting on Stephen more so than Mulligan.

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