Friday, July 31, 2015

Ulysses – Episode 8 (Lestrygonians)

After a month away from the book, I'm back to Ulysses, and my plan is to read one episode per day until I finish the damned thing. It's just such a weird book. I can't say I'm enjoying it as a novel, but I guess I'm still kind of digging it as a text study/analysis project. 

My quick and dirty plot summary of Episode 8: Bloom is wandering the streets alone, looking for somewhere to have lunch, buys a piece of bread to throw crumbs to the circling seagulls, runs into a woman he once dated and chats briefly with her, finds a pub to have lunch, eats and chats with some men he knows there, uses the bathroom, and leaves. 
Dublin, 1906
The thing about Ulysses is that the narrative voice is mostly the main character's interior monologue running most of the time, except when it jumps to the third-person omniscient. In this particular episode, Bloom is the main character, as we've seen in the previous few episodes, but of course it was Stephen Dedalus in the first three. So there's not really a single protagonist in this book, and there's really no single narrative perspective. Which is interesting, but can get kind of old, with all the sentence fragments and nonsense that flits through Bloom's mind. Again, not much actually happens in this text. It's just a lot of random thoughts and observations and memories much of the time. However, it is undeniably well-written. Even beautifully written, in parts. 

"Stuck on the pane, two flies buzzed, stuck." (Episode 8, p. 167)

Next up, Episode 9: Scylla and Charybdis

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