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“Who chose this face for me?”
Quite a question–we flash back to Stephen’s memories of his mother, the image of the bay, the razor. Stephen’s engaging with a metaphysical question about where he comes from, but he’s also thinking about his identity–is it his mother’s face, his father’s face, an irish face, a catholic face, a poet’s face?
One of the interpretive paths you can take through Ulysses is to look at identity, how people define themselves. Some of the worst people in this book have the simplest sense of their identities, and some of the best can’t even pin themselves down, like Stephen here.
And a random link–this passage always makes me think of the Talking Heads song “Seen and Not Seen.” [“He would see faces in movies, in tv, in magazines, and in books…”]