The article I discussed in my last post used episode eighteen extensively, so there may be some repetition in this post. For instance, the article discussed the differences between the horse-like Boylan, and the bovine-like Bloom. The article argues that horses are linked with sterility in Ulysses, while cows and bulls are fertile. In episode eighteen there’s repeated comparisons between Boylan and horses, and Molly states “he hasn’t a tremendous amount of spunk in him when I made him pull out and do it on me”, which links Boylan to sterility (pg. 611). Molly also objects to Boylan treating her like a horse, “I didn’t like his slapping me behind going away so familiarly in the hall though I laughed Im not a horse or an ass am I” (pg.610). I wonder if Molly’s objection to being treated like a horse is also linked to this idea of sterility. Specifically, it could be tied to Molly feeling guilty for not producing a healthy son. I realize that this idea is reaching, but I figure it doesn’t hurt to put it out there.
Although Molly doesn’t want to be treated like a horse, she does not object to fornicating like a dog: “better for him to put it into me from behind the way Mrs Mastiansky told me her husband made her like the dogs do it and stick out her tongue as far as ever she could” (pg. 617). Earlier, there was a clear comparison drawn between Stephen and a dog Bloom had once brought home. This combined with Molly’s sexual thoughts towards Stephen later in episode eighteen could lend this quote to being led as further revealing Molly’s desire for Stephen. However, Bloom is also often connected to dogs, and consequently this quote could be interpreted as showing Molly’s deeper desire for Bloom over Boylan. Also, in support of Bloom over Boylan, there’s the image of bulls killing horses on page 622 (I might have actually misread this section. I was having trouble figure out exactly what was going on here).
A few more interesting on tidbits:
On page 640 Molly says “when do you ever see women rolling around drunk like they do or gambling every penny they have and losing it on horses yes because a woman whatever she does she knows where to stop”. I felt like this was possibly hinting at Molly ending her affair with Boylan out of fear of losing her marriage.
Finally, there’s a lot of mention of oysters as an aphrodisiac. I don’t really know what to do with this, but I think it’s interesting that Molly seems to view sexual prowess as something that’s unnatural.