Circe is both a blessing and a curse for the animal obsession. The abundant animal references in this section reinforce some ideas I’ve had throughout the novel, but also complicate many other ideas. One of the more exciting aspects for me about Circe was seeing how Stephen connected to animals. As I stated in class on Monday, I felt that Stephen was connected to birds more than any other animal. This continued in the second half: “[Stephen] cries, his vulture talons sharpened” (pg. 466). Interestingly, Simon Dedalus is also turned into a bird on this same page. Seeing both father and son as birds made me realize that their flying ability connects back to the story of Daedalus.
As for Bloom, I mentioned on Monday that I was starting to see a strong connection between Bloom and dogs. I certainly saw more support for this in the second half of Circe, but there are so many other animals associated with Bloom that I’m starting to veer farther away from the mindset of connecting him to just one. One new development in Bloom’s association with animals is that he seems to be connected to a lot of animals who have horns. Amy pointed out the connection between Bloom and the Minotaur in our last class, and in the second half of Circe Bloom is described as having antlers. I thought the reason for these associations might go back to the myth of Jews having horns.
Another interesting animal-human connection involves Boylan. In his brief appearance in Circe, Blazes seems to be associated with horses. Blazes arrives on the scene on the sideseats of a “gallantbuttocked mare”, he at one point “strides off on stiff cavalry legs”, Lydia describes the intercourse between Blazes and Molly as “he’s carrying her round the room doing it! Ride a cockhorse”, and his voice is described as “hoarsely” (pg.460-62). Also in this scene, Blazes pays Bloom before having sex with his wife (pg. 461). This places Bloom in the position of a pimp. This notion is especially intriguing when thinking about how Bloom was wrongfully accused of winning lots of money by betting on the horse Throwaway. (Side note: on page 462 Molly is also described as having a “hoarsely” voice. This seems like a clever way for Joyce to call Molly a whore through wordplay that I didn’t pick up on at first).
I’ll continue going over Circe tomorrow morning, and hopefully my fresh eyes will spot other fun animal developments.