Step 4f: The twining stresses, two by two.

Below is the entire text for chapter 1.  I ask the reader to zoom-out until the stack of pages are only about an inch wide.  I’m recommending this to illustrate how versatile it may be to have the interior monologue marked.

You may note that there’s a sort of rhythm or pulse to the monologue.  These are in fact moments of emotional intensity for him.  I believe that our own minds share this sort of pulse.

I believe that there are two halves to Ulysses, the outside part and the inside part.  Why complain?  Well, later on, there will be pages of this inside stuff.  You’ll feel you’re drowning.  You’ll be clawing for an outside line.  You’re riding washboard through Baja California.  You need to have this interior monologue mapped out (a good phrase) so that you might know how to read.

Before I continue, I have “highlighted” all chapters from Telemachus to Scilla & Charybdis.  It is a wonderful assignment digitally and quick, and I would find it to be an odious task with book and pencil or hi-lighter.  His thoughts are a transparent 40% gray.  That’s very appropriate for his monologues.  His and Bloom’s thoughts were quickly detected and “highlighted” through all those chapters, before other literary techniques start to dominate.

Let me mention a belief of mine here.  I’ve heard the advice, when attempting Ulysses, to skip over the Telemachiad, aka the first three  chapters given to Stephen, and land on chapter four, the first Leopold Bloom chapter and his later wanderings.  The reasoning is that the first three chapters (esp. chapter three) can be so bewildering because the mercurially quick mind of Stephen.  In despair, the reader throws the book (or eReader) against the wall with the first line of ch. 3:   “Ineluctable modality of the visible”.  I still, myself, don’t completely understand that line.

The reasoning continues, Bloom’s reflections, in his interior monologue, are so concrete and are therefore approachable.  He’s learn-ed but not a scholar or a poet.  Stephen is both, and mercurial in thought.  Bloom is more enjoyable because his mind is comfortable.

However, I believe that if one finishes the first two chapters well, then one truly feels a sense of accomplishment.  You are encouraged to ride on over on chapter 3, five or six times.  Joyce originally conceived of Ulysses as a short story itself.

Treating the book as 18 interlaced short stories, as Dubliners is, can be much more fulfilling than reading it as a double Iron Man.  You finish the book, whether at a run or a walk or in sections.  Hideously, the midpoint of the novel is not until about Oxen of the Sun, by which time other literary techniques outweigh our dependable interior monologue.

I believe, that Joyce is not being cruel or unnecessary obscure in these first two chapters.  I believe that he is training you, “ramping up” in his internal monologue here.  He does a good job.  If someone treats these chapters as short stories in themselves and really reads them well, then:

  • one is well prepared for chapter 3 and beyond
  • one will recognize the sheer poetry of Stephen’s mind
  • one will understand something of the psychology of the internal monologue.  Thoughts are more often reactions to experiences, than vice-versa.
  • one can “pretty easily” separate most internal monologue from narrative and dialogue, IF one does this ahead of puting ones hand to the reading plow.

Joyce does occasionally make it difficult to separate his use of French dialogue conventions from actual interior monologue.  I’m not concerned with being precisely accurate.  I believe that the “long view” of his interior monologue is more interesting than any instance at a glance.

I should say more about this.  In chapter 1, as in many chapters, there’s a definite pulse, or ebb & flow, of the ratio of outward narrative to interior monologue.

Of course, who would want manually to highlight page after analogue page?  What an assignment that would be!  I dislike the thought of doing what others having done year after year.  It always reminds me of Auden’s beast that repeats itself.  I hope I have a fresh idea here.

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Step 4e: So, between the Hours of 8am & 9am

It’s something after 8am.  Stephen has just had a showdown with Mulligan.  They’ve agreed on nothing.  Mulligan has just used his golden tongue to pacify Stephen.  Mulligan then steps away, calling Stephen a “lovely mummer”–or “fake”, Mulligan begins singing “Who Goes with Fergus?”, a song with words by Yeats.  Mulligan is singing out loud.  It may be just a favorite melody for him. After he’s disappeared, Stephen notices a cloud has blocked the sun.  What comes next is the climax of that chapter.  Stephen reflects what that song has meant to him.  He’s lead into deep thoughts of mourning for his deceased mother and he relives a ghoulish dream of her visiting him. If I gave you the “blank” book, could you quickly find this?

Perhaps if I told you to look for the word “cloud”.  If I gave you, a digital copy, you could do a word search very quickly.  Anyway, however you find it could you easily see the structure of this passage and how it relates to the page or so preceding?  Could you see the psychological force and the terrible beauty of these thoughts, so much like mourning in their immediacy.  And . . . Once again, three chapters later, it’s something after 8am.  Leopold Bloom, whom we will learn has his own deep private mourning, takes his generally sunny disposition out for an errand to the butcher.

Somewhere along the way, a cloud blocks the sun, and inner feelings of “desolation” invade him. What do we say?  Are these two clouds one and the same?  If you did not know that chapters were set in the hour of 8am, you might not.  We expect novels to run in linear fashion.  We expect authors to write “Meanwhile, returning to 8am . . .”. In Ulysses, we will find correspondences between the first three chapters and the next three.  Stephen’s most internal chapter is chapter 3, set two hours after the first chapter.  In it, his walk along the shore, he is free to think of death and mourning.  Just so, at the same hour, in chapter six, Bloom is attending a funeral.  This is where his own internal monologue is densest.  A sample of these thoughts were back in the Great Gray Out post, where I make the metaphor of the slim narrative lines as clothesline.

Step 4d: The Great Gray Out

Let’s create a metaphor.  If we string together all lines of outside dialogue and descriptions, we have a third-party “clothesline” upon which hang the parcels of internal monologue.  With this clothesline, we can follow along in space and time no matter where it goes.  (I should add, until the chapter, Scylla and Charibdys.  Things get wilder in the second half of the book.)

Continuing with this metaphor, the parcels of internal monologue become the “clothing” hanging upon space and time.  If we can see one, we can see the other.  We will also learn quite a bit about Joyce’s conception of how the mind works, and perhaps how our own minds work.

Now, some might wonder why I would impose so much upon the text.  My response would be that I’ve seen interior monologue in Ulysses penciled and highlighted so very much through the first 2, or 3, or 5 chapters in used student texts and in library copies,–that I’ve come to believe that they’re suppose to be there.  I now find a clean white-washed digital copy to be a choice, but also a little unnatural.

I now say, why not just do the job and be complete–and share this with the world?  I’ve gone through the Gutenberg copy of Ulysses, all the way through Scylla & Charybdis, with my PDF XChange Highlighter.  Compared to commenting, this does not take very long, and it would not hurt me to have my markings tweaked.

I have made the illustrations above to make it thickly apparent that nothing’s hurt as long as it is not distracting.  In some of the future postings, I will be returning to chapter 1 and describing how this mixture of highlights, rollovers, and hyperlinks–and maybe a comment or two–can give shape to the text like light on sculpture.  The sculpture, in all its greatness, is there.  I’m just track lighting.

Some teachers, reading this, might wonder whether I’m subverting their profession’s efforts to give their students an education.  I could be, but that is not my intention.  This is a tough, durn book–greatest novel of the twentieth century or not.

Step 4c: Highlighting Knotty Texts

In the last section, I introduced interior monologue using the highlight tool available to the .pdf format of several .pdf readers.  Eventually I will be showing how the the highlight tool and the rollover tool are combined.  There’s plenty more chapter 1 to look at, but I want to jump ahead to chapters 3 & 6, where we can find their brains reflecting at full speed while their senses glance about as if in slow motion.

At left are the first two pages of chapter 3, Proteus, where Stephen does little else than wander about on Sandymount and observe what’s around him, and think.  But there is some narrative–about a paragraph’s worth–and, if one could “gray out” the internal monologue, then it could be seen and its relationship to the “outside stuff” would seem clearer.  In fact, I believe that the reader might read the narrative, then come back and “graze” about the internal monologue.  In that fashion, the reader will not stress out over each and every allusion.

It is interesting to note that, by my count, there are only 56 words of external narrative out of 874 above:  ”

Stephen closed his eyes to hear his boots crush crackling wrack and shells. . . . They came down the steps from Leahy’s terrace prudently.  Frauenzimmer, and down the shelving shore flabbily, their splayed feet sinking in the silted sand.. . . Airs raomped round him, nipping and eager airs. . . . His pace slackened.

If you are wondering, or else know, what “frauenzimmer”, then we need you . . . to provide citations for this chapter.

Let’s now introduce Mr Leopold Bloom and the narrative that surrounds him in Ch. 6, Hades.  Ch. 6 is somewhat comparable to Stephen’s Ch. 3, Proteus, in technique and time of day, adjusted for each characters thoughts.

If I count only the external narrative–and not narrative–, I have about 75 words.  This happens to average less than Stephen.  I will add narrative and dialogue for all three pages, and 158 words out of 1,182, just because, as elsewhere in this chapter, the passage is both funny and poignant!  Nature is conspiring against the gravity of Dignam’s funeral.  And against these images, Leopold then points out a ding in his competitor’s hat.  I should write out the narrative of a few of these chapters.

A bird sat tamely perched on a poplar branch. . . . Rtststr!  A rattle of pebbles. . . . He looked down intently into a stone crypt.  An obese grey rat toddled along the side of the crypt, moving the pebbles. . . . Martin Cunningham emerged from a sidepath, talking graveley.
―Excuse me, sir, Mr Bloom said beside them.
They stopped.
―Your hat is a little crushed, Mr Bloom said pointing.
John Henry Menton stared at him for an instant without moving.
―There, Martin Cunningham helped, pointing also. John Henry Menton took off his hat, bulged out the dinge and smoothed the nap with care on his coatsleeve. He clapped the hat on his head again.
―It’s all right now, Martin Cunningham said.
John Henry Menton jerked his head down in acknowledgment.
―Thank you, he said shortly.
They walked on towards the gates. Mr Bloom, chapfallen, drew behind a few paces so as not to overhear.

Next, let’s consider what “highlighting” the narrative by graying out the text might mean for the reader.

Part 4b: Highlighting Interior Monologue

Let’s return to the paragraph from the last post–and please understand, there’s no right way to do this:

“Stephen, an elbow rested on the jagged granite, leaned his palm against his brow and gazed at the fraying edge of his shiny black coat-sleeve. Pain, that was not yet the pain of love, fretted his heart. Silently, in a dream she had come to him after her death, her wasted body within its loose brown graveclothes giving off an odour of wax and rosewood, her breath, that had bent upon him, mute, reproachful, a faint odour of wetted ashes. Across the threadbare cuffedge he saw the sea hailed as a great sweet mother by the wellfed voice beside him. The ring of bay and skyline held a dull green mass of liquid. A bowl of white china had stood beside her deathbed holding the green sluggish bile which she had torn up from her rotting liver by fits of loud groaning vomiting.”

I have decided that simply coloring the text does separate the interior monologue from other text.  However, it does not create the “separate world” of the interior monologue.  I next look into highlighting, which is a form of commenting in .pdf.  But I do not need that.  I’m looking for a different function.

I tried another approach (below).  Less distracting and long, long available in html and in Word, I do not like the linear quality of these highlightings.  The space between line and lines and below run counter to the nebulous quality of though.

“Stephen, an elbow rested on the jagged granite, leaned his palm against his brow and gazed at the fraying edge of his shiny black coat-sleeve. Pain, that was not yet the pain of love, fretted his heart. Silently, in a dream she had come to him after her death, her wasted body within its loose brown graveclothes giving off an odour of wax and rosewood, her breath, that had bent upon him, mute, reproachful, a faint odour of wetted ashes. Across the threadbare cuffedge he saw the sea hailed as a great sweet mother by the wellfed voice beside him. The ring of bay and skyline held a dull green mass of liquid. A bowl of white china had stood beside her deathbed holding the green sluggish bile which she had torn up from her rotting liver by fits of loud groaning vomiting.

Well, better, but not much better.  It’s the white spaces between the lines that trouble me, as well as the square-off “edges” to the lines.  Word provides a slight improvement, but not a great one.  How do people consider highlighting and interior monologue?

Finally I settled on this (below) which is the native fashion by which highlighting is done in Adobe .pdf.  This does what I wish it to do.  The seamlessly overlapping lines and rounded ends create–get ready for this–a “thought bubble”.  I does seem like a silly image with which to express the thought of Joyce’s characters.  But, isn’t it possible?

Step 4: Interior Monologue & Highlighting

(I will be using the .pdf version of highlighted text.  Instead of the typical bright yellow, I will be brushing on some shade of Gray highlighted text without the attached comment that .pdf provides. The .pdf form is rounded at the ends and the lines smoothly merge. The squared-off narrow html version, available to me here in this blog, works against the points I’m making below. I will not be using it in the text of this blog.)

You might continue to dance through the pages, picking up a rollover here and there–until page 4.  Here, Joyce introduces his famous internal monologue.  You might be accustomed to this through other authors, such as Faulkner or Toni Morrison.  Or, maybe you aren’t.  You might treat these two brief passages as speed bumps.  You might think, Oh, what did I run over back there?  Well, can’t stop now.  I’m on a roll!

My most controversial offering to Ulysses illumination is highlighting.  I need to make it clear what I want and don’t want.  We need some illustrations.  I will start with the first example of interior monologue, on page four:

“Stephen, an elbow rested on the jagged granite, leaned his palm against his brow and gazed at the fraying edge of his shiny black coat-sleeve. Pain, that was not yet the pain of love, fretted his heart. Silently, in a dream she had come to him after her death, her wasted body within its loose brown graveclothes giving off an odour of wax and rosewood, her breath, that had bent upon him, mute, reproachful, a faint odour of wetted ashes. Across the threadbare cuffedge he saw the sea hailed as a great sweet mother by the wellfed voice beside him. The ring of bay and skyline held a dull green mass of liquid. A bowl of white china had stood beside her deathbed holding the green sluggish bile which she had torn up from her rotting liver by fits of loud groaning vomiting.

This comes on very quietly, first as a mixture of third-person narrative using Stephen’s vocabulary.  And then, by the end of the paragraph, Stephen’s mind is set aloft.

Some might ask, why not stay with coloring the text.  I personally find it distracting.  Moreover, I believe that it is important to understand that the interior monologue represent “topographical features” every bit as much as “the tower, the surrounding land and the awaking mountains.”  I believe that this wonderful passage is where Stephen’s Icarus takes flight.

Step 3c: Choosing Which

the Black Mass Communion

My dependable annotation widget is the rollover. This is not a technical blog, but I will say that it is difficult not to run cursors over rollovers, while web surfing. In this case, it’s marked with a gray underline (like a pencil stroke). If you pause your cursor over it, then your cursor changes and a box of notes instantly appears, on the Mass Communion and what Mulligan does to it.

What stops my reading enjoyment in Ulysses is the Latin. I, having been raised Southern Baptist, come from a culture that views Vulgate Latin as slightly sinister. Naturally, I don’t know more than what I needed for my SATs.  I would not know its application here, in a Mass, in a parody of a Mass, in Mulligan’s version of a Black Mass.

the Fearful Citation

I make that my first citation, and I make it count. I add some explication to “Kinch”–such an odd name. I pause there, and add a note to give its origins. then on to “fearful Jesuit”. These are first examples of the double-edged, but illuminating, puns for which Ulysses is famous. However, because we do not know the culture, we do not get the puns.

I’ve resisted including Delaney’s helpful comment that “kinch” is also slang for the child of a convict, but I’ll continue to consider it. An especially “cutting” epithet. There we go. I say, four. At the end of the last paragraph is an allusion to the Trojan Horse. This becomes obvious once it’s pointed out–and once we get to know Mulligan.

I say, We have enough.  We can know about the Martello Tower and see it well enough to imagine Buck and Stephen interacting there.  We are introduced to Buck and Stephen largely through their actions.  It is clear that Buck is loud and offensive, and that Stephen is and will be reflective.

We learn enough about their interactions through the notes that we have a sense that the whole chapter will continue just like this.  It does.  I have often wondered how Joyce/Stephen could put up with such demeaning remarks.  But I did once, in college.  Intellectual contact, more than emotional comfort, can mean so much to a young man.

However, this “treasure hunt” can be no fun, if we figure that we have to have ALL the eggs.  I hope I’m being helpful here. I say, be an editor. Select your notes carefully, and you decide how much is needed. In a later post, I will show that, sometimes, a great deal more is needed.  However, necessarily, we need to get through interior monologue first.

In conclusion, I have given you one hyperlink and four citations to help you find your way through the first half page.  Three to five sounds about right.  Given that we now know:

  •  a little background in the Latin of Communion,
  • a little Dublin slang to describe Stephen and his nickname,
  • an introduction to the puns in the book,
  • an quick and cunning allusion to the Trojan Horse, to describe Buck,
  • and the text itself (my notes mean nothing without the full text)

We can surmise that:

  • Buck and Stephen live in a Martello Tower, which is not nearly as impressive as it sounds.
  • Buck Mulligan is irreverant beyond all bounds, insulting, deceptive, and possibly narcissitic,
  • Stephen is very introspective, does not forget an insult.  He’s quick and intelligent, and possibly educated by the Jesuits.  Might he be as narcissitic himself?  We may come to know his thoughts.