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Some Animal Notes

Monday, November 2, 2009; 03:51 am Leave a comment Go to comments

Wow. So far Circe is animal obsession heaven. I’m going to have to use my free time before class tomorrow to go back and make sense of the plethora of animal references in this section, but for now I’ll share some of my initial notes:
–    As I point out every class, Joyce is combining the animals and the humans. Specifically, throughout Circe the characters are described as having animal features or qualities.
–    Joyce also uses a large amount of animal related wordplay in this section of Circe. My initial reaction to the inclusion of this wordplay is that Joyce was just being clever, and used the theme of animals because of how prevalent they are in this section. However, I’m sure that as I go over my annotations some more I’ll find that the animal wordplay holds more significance in some cases than Joyce simply having fun.
–    In a post I did many weeks ago following a section of the novel where Bloom refuses to eat meat, I discussed how animal cruelty was somewhat of hot button topic around the time Ulysses was written. As we’ve continued with the novel, I had somewhat given up hope that my research for the post would turn out useful. Consequently, I was surprised at the mention of animal cruelty in Circe. First, there’s the scene where Bloom feeds the dog (pg. 370-71), and then later vivisection is mentioned as a possible punishment for Bloom (pg. 382).
–    In Circe we get some connections between Stephen and animals, which have shown up sparingly earlier in the novel. The major connection I saw was the repeated comparison of Stephen to a bird (“The bird that can sing and won’t sing”) (g.422),
Well, that’s a start, and I will try and bring many more ideas to the class tomorrow.

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