Step 6: 17 Volunteers Needed. Inquire Within.

To make these narratives clearer, I’ve marked them up pretty well and have added many rollovers to the first chapter.  You could now encapsulate the narratives of chs. 1 & 4, or 3 & 6 down to a couple of paragraphs.  You could read the narratives of each in just a few minutes, checking on pop-ups when you needed.  You could maybe see some structure on your return.

If you’re a student, you might like that idea.  If you’re a professor or other experienced reader, you might not.  To everyone I would say, I’m not working against anyone.  I’ve had a thing for Ulysses for over thirty years.  I had a brilliant professor.  I gutted my way through Ulysses seven times in a row in one semester, along with everything else to read.  I’m fortunate.  I got to glimpse some real beauty–and some epiphenies too!

So, why should I strain so that you don’t have to?  Several reasons.  For now, I would respond that I want you to experience more quickly what I had to do several twenty mile marches for.  I know that you’ll more quickly read on in Joyce if you can see that, beneath you, are jewels, and not IEDs.

In the “cloud” passage above, I’ve provided a very necessary piece of information, the poem of the song.  I believe that this poem was, at one time, on the hearts and tongues of many Dubliners in 1904.  Now, I know who wrote the lyrics.  I’m a huge fan of Yeats.  The poem is barely, barely in my heart.  I can’t find the music anywhere, even on YouTube or Amazon or anywhere else.  Did Cherish the Ladies ever record it? Or Fergus and Geronimo?  In any case, there.  You and I and the rest of the Joyce readers are just a little closer.

At left is an inexplicable passage earlier in ch. 1.  To some, Stephen is listening and reflecting confusingly on some acquaintance he and Mulligan both know–something about “de-pantsing”  So, why is that big?

It’s big because these few lines are practically everything. that happens later.  You can quickly discover that “omphalos” is “navel”.  However, this belly-button of a theme rides mighty heavily all the way to the crucial Sclla and Charibdis chapter, and then beyond.  A whole dialectical discuss ride on this “navel”

I have oulined what is dropped very casually right here.  In Joyce, nothing has a single meaning.  I don’t expect anyone to ride this totally alone.  How many can slow ones mind down to–I must say–less than the rate of Stephen’s.  By torch, we aspire to cavernous sights.


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