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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.