Calypso 0016

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So Bloom abandons his impulse to mention Paddy Dignam’s funeral to Larry O’Rourke. There’s a bit of chat about the weather, and Bloom moves on. I find Larry O’Rourke’s face to be almost aggressively friendly, and his position in the left-hand panel makes him seem to be blocking Bloom’s path or view. Maybe I’ve seen too many movies, but the whole exchange seems vaguely threatening, like something out of Goodfellas, or maybe an old-school Western gunslinging scene.

My impression is strengthened by Bloom’s asking “Where do they get the money?”, and then imagining under-the-table deals and ripping off customers. The O’Rourke family has also historically held a lot of power in County Leitrim, if I could push my Larry-as-head-of-a-crime family line just a tiny bit. But maybe more seriously, County Leitrim was one of the areas of Ireland most seriously affected by depopulation and migration in the 19th century. Here Bloom thinks about these country people coming into the city and making their way, but the collective sense of loss resulting from the Irish diaspora shows up in other places in Ulysses, too.

Fun fact: There are approximately 1000 pubs in Dublin today, according to GoIreland.com; I’m no good at math, but if it helps to put that in perspective, the population of Dublin City in 2006 was 506,211 souls. Crossing Dublin without passing a pub remains a puzzle.

 

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Reader’s Guide for IV: Calypso