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.