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This page uses a technique we will see a few times over the next ten or so pages: Bloom existing simultaneously in the real world and in the world being conjured by his imagination. These boundaries get very blurry, literally and figuratively, as you can see in the fading of the shop floor tiles into the space of the cattlemarket. (Incidentally, working in a cattlemarket was one of Bloom’s previous jobs, as Gifford points out.) The slapping of the “ripemeated hindquarter” parallels the “prime” haunches of the nextdoor girl, moving us back into Bloom’s thoughts lingering on, again, whacking.
I think the narrator’s language is especially interesting here: “bending his senses and his will,” his “gaze” “at rest.” The “bending,” “soft,” “patiently,” “rest” seem to be in contrast to the “whack by whack by whack”…or is it? Are we meant to simply get into the rhythm of Bloom’s slightly erotic ruminations? Our gaze follows Bloom’s back up to the woman’s bustle. I think we should always be looking to see where Bloom is looking, how he bends towards his object of desire, even when he can’t have it.