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Posts Tagged ‘Fatherhood’

Broad Broad Overview/Penelope’s Father

Monday, November 16, 2009; 06:43 am Leave a comment

Broad overview of Fatherhood:

Stephen obsesses over his mother but there is little or no mention of his father.  Bloom thinks about himself as a father, what that means, and what makes or doesn’t make him a father.  Stephen argues about the consubstantiality of father and son.  Then we get the elevation of androgynous production. Then we see in Eumaeus and Ithaca the actual existence of a father-son relationship.  We see that unfold.  In Penelope something weird happens.  Molly romanticizes her father.  She seems to have made him the epitome of manhood.  She thinks about Bloom “I wish hed even smoke a pipe like father to get the smell of a man”  A good man in her mind is a man like her father.

It’s weird that Molly has this view of fatherhood.  I’m not sure what to do with this.  What does this have to do with her marriage? With her feelings about Rudy? about Stephen? about Milly?  What does this do to our perceptions of Molly? Also, I think there’s more to fatherhood in this episode than just this romanticization of her father… but I’ll try to add more about that when I know more after class on Monday and another read through.

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Paternity and Circe

Monday, November 2, 2009; 04:36 am Leave a comment

What I’m seeing so far with fatherhood in Circe is a conflation of the generations, which we’ve seen before. Bloom becomes Virag, the grandfather, the father, etc. And He’s also simultaneously Henry Flower… all the versions of his last name are present. Morphing of surnames, all the linguistic and semantic play Joyce has exercised before. There’s also a lot of development of Joyce’s views of the genders. How he creates Bloom as a womanly man, and how he moves to give that validation. Also, Virag gives a lovely summary of the development of gender roles on page 423:

“Woman, undoing with sweet pudor her belt of rushrope, offers allmoist yoni to man’s lingam. Short time after man presents woman with pieces of jungle meat. Woman shows joy and covers herself with featherskins. man loves her yoni fiercely with big lingam, the stiff one…Then giddy woman will run about. Strong man grapses woman’s wrist. Woman squeals, bites, spucks. Man, now fierce angry, strikes woan’s fat yadgana.”

Virag then “(chases his tail)” and makes nonsense sounds, both things that serve to confound man with animal as well. I hope we can dissect this passage a little in class, because there’s also the aspect of the Orient, as Virag uses the Hindu terms for the genitalia.

Also in this chapter, Bloom’s dream of becoming a father is realized when he becomes the mother of 8 male children, healthy, who grow up to be smart guys who work in positions that Bloom would value. I’d love to work with Amy to figure out how Bloom’s birthing here works with past male pregnancies and the androgyny of Bloom.

Another thing that popped up during Bloom’s stint as Lord Mayor is the idea of male virginity. Greg brought this up in class on wednesday and how it cannot be verified, for there isn’t any physicial proof. Dr. Mulligan in Circe claims “I have made pervaginal examination and, after application of the acid test to 5427 anal, axillary, rectoral and pubic hairs, I declare hiim to be virgo intacta.” Is Bloom’s virginity able to be verified because he is womanly? Because he’s able to give birth in this hallucination, and because he’s doing immaculately? On this topic, I’d love to hear Mari’s take on his comparison to Mary. (And how does this affect our view of him compared to Marion/Molly?)

Oh. And his testicles are “off side.” Hilarious. and “heavier.” Because he hasn’t been sexually active? He isn’t using his semen to create children…. so that’s waste for you… waste of the potential for fatherhood.

Can’t wait to talk about this incredibly funny chapter… oh Joyce, you surprise me with your humor.

Fatherhood: Scylla and Charybdis and Cyclops. (Updated w/ some Judaism)

Monday, October 12, 2009; 06:11 am Leave a comment

10/11/09

On Wednesday, my group discussed fatherhood mainly in relationship to motherhood.  Throughout Scylla and Charybdis both begetting and creating as  a father and bearing and birthing as a mother are mentioned.  Joyce starts to confound the maternity and paternity and constructs an idea that perhaps androgynous birth is best.  Both ways of producing an offspring, contained in one person.

The image of the ultimate match of male and female figures prominently in the chapter.  The image described by Stephen of  the phallic, bloody, violent mulberry tree, upright planted in the loving, accepting mother earth is a fitting support of my theory on androgynous production.  The phallus causes death, the yoni accepts the body back into her, just as the phallus engages the womb in production, and the womb bears the offspring.

Another image that makes a bold impression in Scylla and Charydis is Stephen’s thought about Eve: “Naked wheatbellied sin. A snake coils her, fang in’s kiss.”  The ultimate mother, coiled within the snake phallus, about to give birth to mankind. Powerful.

A man who can absorb qualities of women is somewhat bouyed up by Joyce. Stephen is elated to discover he can fit in women’s shoes in Proteus and Stephen wonders in Scylla: “what name Achilles bore when he lived among women.”  And in Stephen’s argument for Shakespeare being the father of the ghost, the prince and the son of the ghost and prince and Hamlet his own grandfather (or whatever) he says that in the economy of heaven there will be “glorified man, an androgynous angel, being a wife unto himself.”  The ultimate being, having qualities of men and women, production in both ways.

Buck Mulligan (of all people) personifies the feminine birth inside a masculine form when he has an idea for a play: “Wait.  I am big with child.  I have an unborn child in my brain…. He clasped his paunchbrow with both birthaiding hands.”  What’s interesting about this imagery is that it is alludes to Zeus’s takeover of the women’s role in child birth.  A God took the child from a woman and birthed a woman from his creative brain.  The Man (buck) takes and idea from God and bears it femininely to fruition with “birthaiding” hands.

Fascinating.

From Scylla to Cylops there is not much in the way of fathers, but in Cyclops there is one mention: J.J. O’Malloy commentson the Jews waiting for their Messiah: “every jew is in a tall state of excitement, I believe, till he knows if he’s a father or a mother” (277, gabler edition)  This is interesting. It’s not in the line of the other aspects of parenthood that I’ve discussed so far.  Here, it seems suggested, the parent’s role depends on whether the child is male or female, since the child’s gender is usually the thing parents are all “in a tall state of excitment” over.  This twist of a familiar concept lands the importance of gender (and  therefore parenting style?) on the parent, which connects to the conversation on incest that we’ve been continuing throughout the book.  If a mother acts as a father in the parenting role, does her son covet her?  If a father acts feminine, does the daughter end up with an Electra Complex… I don’t know.  This will have to be developed more.   

10/13/09

Since Catholicism is patrilineal and Irish, and Judaism is matrilineal and not Irish, as we’ve been seeing… then when Bloom thinks about his line ending earlier on in Cyclops, he is thinking of himself decidely as more Irish than Jewish.  (and I think he can be both… but he is definitely NOT acceptig his Irishness here.)  Because Rudy has died, he considers his line ended, but only his patrilineal line is over, Milly is alive and kicking… and in the Jewish faith, that would be enough.  (But there’s always the complication that Molly isn’t Jewish… and she certainly isn’t Irish.)  Since Bloom doesn’t have a son to be a father for, he seems to have become feminized so he can be a mother for Milly.?  This is a possible direction to go here.  From what I know of the rest of the book, we’re just waiting for Bloom and Stephen to link up so Bloom can act as Father and Stephen can act as Son, and everyone can feel better about everything…..  We’ll see how it goes.

Structure of Fatherhood and Authorship

Wednesday, October 7, 2009; 03:16 am Leave a comment

“Making a Name for Himself: Paternity, Joyce, and Stephen’s Adolescent Identity Crisis” by Kent Baxter

This essay has a first section entitled “What’s in a Name” dedicated to discussing the relationship Joyce had with his own name, and the relationship  the modernist perspective perceives adolescents have with their surname.  To make it quick, since it has little to do with Ulysses and less to do with what I would like to focus on regarding my obsession of Paternity: Adolescents are striving to “make a name” for themselves and there’s a conundrum because they want to distinguish themselves within society using their name, but their name stems from their fathers’s and they struggle to separate themselves from the father as well.

The next section in the essay is “The Name Game.”  Baxter describes Stephen’s dissection of his name and multiple possible fathers in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Stephen renounces his biological father, Simon, then renounces the Church fathers because he does want to become one of a mass of priests, and at the end of Portrait he remakes his name anew, a morphed version of his father-given name, but it is his own because he was reworked.

In “The Sons of Shakespeare,” Baxter refers to the Scylla and Charybdis episode where Stephen contemplates what he had done with his name in Portrait.  Baxter emphasizes that the Scylla and Charybdis episode is where Stephen is at his most creative, producing his individualized thoughts and as Baxter says: “mak[ing] a name for himself.”   At the same time, Stephen “debunks” the names of the fathers through the “legal fiction” of Shakespeare’s writing himself a son in Hamlet, and writing himself into Hamlet as a father, and, as Baxter notes, “bastardizing” the men’s surnames who are listening to his theory on Hamlet.  In Scylla and Charybidis, Stephen is upending the whole idea of fatherhood, causing it to be a fluctuating, unstable category.  According to Baxter, this is the way Stephen is renouncing his literary fathers.  Baxter then goes on to say something that I find pushing it a little too far.  And by a little, I mean a lot!  I like tangible reality and space and time as concrete things in discourse at least, because how are we going to have a conversation without those things!?   So Baxter says:

what Stephen does …is even more radical than a new way to theorize Shakespeare.  Stephen questions the linearity of time, the                          notion that something always comes before.  And by questioning the linearity of time, he casts doubt on the belief that                                          Shakespeare came before his texts… that there is a literary tradition that comes before and defines what makes a legitimate                                  artist.

He continues saying that through the episode, Joyce is using Stephen to “debunk the notion that… a literary tradition comes before its artists” and therefore attempt to become a legitimate individual artist.  I would like to think that Joyce WISHES he could turn time and space topsy-turvy and not have the literary tradition behind him, pressuring him, molding him, but I just don’t think it’s possible.  Luckily for me, Baxter addresses this.  He goes on to say that the very act of attempting to overthrow the father is something that fathers have done, and therefore is within tradition, literary or otherwise.  Adolescents have attempted to escape the father’s influence and in doing so have completed an act which the father has already done, thus they become the fathers.

Baxter’s best sentence summarizing this cyclical conundrum would be: “the ultimate irony inherent in Stephen and Joyce’s attempt to overthrow the father arises because to make a name for oneself means both to make a name represent oneself as an individual and to affirm the impossibility of this very individuality. ”  Ultimately, Baxter argues that Stephen, in a step between childhood and adulthood, ends up exposing the structure of authorship and fatherhood and this allows Joycean followers to see that structure and work off it.

Baxter, Kent. “Making a Name for Himself: Paternity, Joyce, and Stephen’s Adolescent Identity Crisis” Naming the Father edited by Eva Paulino Bueno et. al.

Telemachiad Paternity

Wednesday, September 9, 2009; 02:12 am Leave a comment

From reading the first 3 episodes of Ulysses, I think I’ll be following ideas of fatherhood, the analogies and their links to fatherhood (Hamlet and the Odyssey, mainly), and the creation of word/poetry (for Stephen).

Episode 1: Telemachus

There’s the initial father/son Ghost/Hamlet relationship which sets the scene on Martello Tower. The top of the battlements scene, aside from being Hamletonian is also connected to the Trinity, Father Son and the Holy Ghost because of Buck Mulligan’s “black mass.”

I saw Buck Mulligan as a kind of parent for Stephen in this section. Buck starts the episode shaving in front of Stephen Dedalus, reminiscent of a boy’s first time watching his dad shave, or learning how to shave by watching his father in the mirror. Buck cooks breakfast, very responsible. He also rags on Stephen to wash more often. These are stereotypical actions of caring, fretful parents, and Stephen comes off much like the brooding teenage, sloppy, mopey, angsty, narcissistic.
When Mulligan describes the sea to Stephen as the “mother,” he sound like a patriarch telling his eldest son to take care of his mom while showing off the kingdom he will inherit, much like in The Lion King when Mufasa shows Simba the kingdom.

I think something else that’s really important in the first episode is that we’re shown what type of literary man Stephen is in public.
This relates to the Trinity because: Jesus was the Son of God and therefore, he was the Word of God. Therefore, the Father creates the Word which is also the Son. Therefore, Stephen, who creates words, is a Father-figure, while his words are his Creation.

Episode 2: Nestor

The main idea that cropped up in this chapter in relation to Paternity would be Patriotism.

It’s definitely more unspoken though, and Ireland is more of a “Mother” in Ulysses than a father.

I know that Sargent represents Nestor’s son in this chapter, but I don’t think this has to do with the main ideas of Paternity.

However, the way Stephen reacts to Sargent in interesting.  Stephen looks at Sargent in a very fatherly way.  “I was like him when I was younger, I sat like that, I brooded like that.”

I’m wondering what else Stephen will feel paternal towards in the rest of the book.

Episode 3: Proteus

I found a very small amount of Paternity in this chapter.  When Stephen says he is “made not begotten” he recognizes he is not Jesus, not begotten from God, but made from human flesh.  Jesus was begotten out of the stuff God is made out of.  Jesus is God.   The stuff fathers use to make their children makes them in their image, but not out of the same physical material.

There’s also a lot of phallic and productive imagery in this section.  Not only phallic, but things related to the phallus. Semen imagery in the sea, a masculinized sea.  However,  Stephen doesn’t produce much out of all of this supposed fatherly productive imagery.  He creates one poem which doesn’t seem that good.  it might be enough however to ensure that all this semen is not a masturbatory event, but instead a conceptionary event.