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Anal-yse this.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009; 10:58 am Leave a comment Go to comments

I was struck by the pervasive toilet imagery present in the second half of Circe, with most of it occurring as Bloom hallucinates about becoming a dominated, feminized figure.  The image of the rump is repeated several times, my favorites of which being “buttocksmothered” (p.436) “rumping jumping general” p.435) and if I’m not crazy I swear that “rumpsmothered” occurs also but I can’t find it at the moment.  The theme surrounding the rump or the “end” (with the mouth being the beginning) relates to Bloom’s retransformation back into a submissive figure.  Along with this are the images of enclosed spaces such as latrines/water closets, chamber pots, and coffins (the last is obviously not completely excretion-related but I kept seeing it come up and I didn’t want to forget about it).  Bello tells Bloom on p.429 that his punishment will be “by day you will souse and bat our smelling underclothes also / when we ladies are unwell, and swab out our latrines with dress pinned up and a dishclout tied to your tail. . . you will make the beds, get my tub ready, empty the pisspots in the different rooms…” (3066).  Clearly the most horrendous punishment one could think of is cleaning the toilets and soiled underwear of women who are unwell.  Also, around line 3210 is also where Bello tells Bloom that they will “bury [him] in shrubbery jakes. . . suffocated in one cesspool. . .  we will manure you, Mr Flower!” These enclosed places of shit remind me that Bloom now has a vulva (3089), thus banished to an embodied by the feminine association enclosed spaces, which is now inextricably tied to shit.

The other great moment that I wanted to point out is what I refer to as Guts or The Gut Episode, occurring on p.484-5.  Not only do we get to see more of my favorite, hanging erections, but we also get the added bonus of ripped, smoking entrails in a draw-and-quarter session.  This enclosed, private space of the intestines has been grossly violated in the drawing-and quartering process.

I also loved how the episode wraps up with the image of the “sow that eats her own farrow,” a lovely self-referencing image from Portrait.

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