Telemachus: Thoughts and Questions

1) The parallel with the opening of The Odyssey establishes certain themes that "Telemachus" sets in motion in Ulysses. Think about how these situations from The Odyssey are treated in Ulysses:
—Telemachus is a 20-year-old man wondering who his father is (he knows the name but not a lot else - he has never seen him) and whether he will ever return
—As Odysseus' son, Telemachus is the only heir to the island and kingdom of Ithaca. But he feels (and is) extremely vulnerable and insecure about his position, especially with 100 suitors hanging around waiting for Penelope to acknowledge that Odysseus isn't coming back and to choose one of them as her new husband and as the new king of Ithaca.

2) Telemachus focuses on his absent father. In Ulysses it is Stephen's mother who has recently died. What are the implications of this change?

3) When Haines and Stephen talk about Ireland and England, Haines says, "We feel in England that we have treated you rather unfairly. It seems history is to blame" (lines 1:648-49). What do you think Haines means by this last statement? What does it seem to mean to Stephen?

4) Can you find any connections between the style of the narration in "Telemachus" (for example, "he said sternly" at 1:19, "he cried briskly" at 1:28, even the opening word "Stately") and Buck Mulligan's non-stop joking and wisecracking?

5) Ulysses is a book in which every word, even every mark of punctuation, can be important--see the quote from Budgen on the Comments by Joyce page. (This is why it is important to read the text in an accurate edition.) Consider the importance of a small word and a comma in these two examples:
—Early printings of the book say that Mulligan "went over the parapet" instead of "went over to the parapet" (1:35, p. 4).
—In early printings, Stephen thinks, "No mother. Let me be and let me live." instead of "No, mother! Let me be and let me live." (1:279, p. 9).

6) Note Haines's anti-Semitism at 1:666-68 (p. 18).

7) Stephen thinks of words from the Latin Prayer for the Dying at the end of the chapter (1:736-38, p. 19 - a continuation of words he thought of at 1:276-77, p. 9 - the words translate as "May the glorious choir of virgins receive you"). He will associate these words with his mother at other times during the day.