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MonkeyNotes-Ulysses by James Joyce
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The chapter continues to unfold Bloomís character. We learn a good deal about his past life. We gain some new insights into his behavior. His past love affairs show a certain toughness in him. Mrs. Miriam Dandrade is rather roughly treated: "Her ears ought to have tingled for a few weeks after." The wretched Mrs. Breen does not maintain his sympathy for long: "Change the subject." Bloom is a man who refuses to commit himself, according to Nosey Flynnís comment. That there is a strength in his makeup is indeed suggested by the hints regarding his relationship with Helyís. These hints also suggest a considerable professional skill. His mind is not only curious but creative. Again in this chapter he shows a self-discipline in his ability to put undesirable thoughts out of his mind: "Think no more about that." When Flynn refers to Boylan, Bloom has a moment of sudden passion of which he shows no outward sign. But he remains predominantly the diffident and eager-to-please figure of earlier chapters. He invents a polite excuse for backing out of Burtonís restaurant, and bolting aside to escape an encounter with Boylan himself.


Despite its grotesque humor, this chapter reaches a great intensity of pathos. Bloom is intensely aware of his cuckolding by Boylan. This is figured by a ridiculous image of copulation: "Stuck on the pane two files buzzed, stuck."

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