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Monday, October 26, 2009; 03:22 am Leave a comment Go to comments

Although I still struggle to figure out why Joyce is doing what he is doing with his use of animals, I continue to see the same patterns in episodes thirteen and fourteen. To begin with, the idea presented in episode twelve that the dog Garryowen is like a human gets reinforced in episode thirteen. This time Gerty references Garryowen and says that it “almost talked it was so human…” (pg. 289).

Another reoccurring theme involving animals that shows up again in episode thirteen is Bloom’s inquisitive nature towards animals. Like how Bloom took the time to try and understand why rats would eat human corpses earlier in the novel, in episode thirteen Bloom wonders about the nature of bats and birds. In regards to the bat, Bloom is curious to where it lives and what it is flying for (pg. 309). Bloom also notes that the bat reminds him of a “little man in a cloak” (pg.309). Then Bloom starts thinking about birds traveling across the ocean, which seamlessly slips into Bloom thinking about sailors before the thought is suddenly interrupted by the question: “Do fish ever get seasick?” (pg. 310). This stream of conscious where Bloom fluently moves from thoughts of animals to thoughts of humans strengthens the idea that Bloom has a limited ability to distinguish between humans and animals (an idea I’ve presented in some of my former posts). The aforementioned association between the bat and a small man further reveals Bloom’s desire to view humans and animals equally.

This joining of animals and humans is also seen in episode fourteen, but here is typically done by characters besides Bloom. One such example is Costello calling Nurse Callan a “monstrous fine bit of cowflesh” (pg. 332). Later in the episode, the group takes up a discussion on copulation between women and beasts (pg. 336).

One last note: we find out for the first time (I think) in chapter fourteen that Bloom worked in the cattle market. As far as I can tell, this just adds another twist to Blooms struggle with meat.

I’m going to use this update to consolidate my ideas about animals up to this point in the novel:
So far I do not see any significant connections between Stephen and animals. I’m interested to see if any develop as we continue through the novel, especially the possible similarities and differences to how Bloom connects with animals.

As for Bloom, repeatedly I see examples of him treating animals and humans equally. This idea is also supported by the portrayal of animals as humanlike throughout the novel. Additionally, and somewhat related, half-animal half-human species are mentioned a few times in the novel (mermaids, minotaurs).

Finally, Bloom’s inconsistent dietary choices seem too ridiculous to ignore. When we are first introduced to Bloom, he is described as a meat adorer. Later, Bloom criticized the treatment of farm animals and decided to eat a vegetarian meal. Also, in our last reading we find out that Bloom used to work in the cattle market.

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