Cyclops: Thoughts and Questions

1) In The Odyssey Odysseus encounters the one-eyed giant, Polyphemus, who eats several of his men. Note how the idea of one eye gets used in this episode, both metaphorically (lack of a two-eyed perspective, whether bigotry and one-eyed nationalism or wide-eyed optimism, as in many of the interpolations) and in the chapter's language (see, for example, 12:3 and 12:6).

2) Joyce's schema identifies the episode's technique as "gigantism." How does this work?

3) "Sirens" took place in a world dominated by women, and this episode is a world of men. Note how this pattern continues in the next two episodes.

4) The men in Barney Kiernan's pub think, mistakenly, that Bloom has won money on Throwaway's surprise victory in the Gold Cup horse race (see 12:1218-28 and 12:1552-58). Ulysses has carefully shown how this mistake has come about, but the details are easy to miss. Look back at these passages: 5:519-48, 8:1006-23, and 10:506-19.
a) Note also that the handout announcing Alexander J. Dowie's "Elijah is coming" lecture is called a "throwaway": 8:6, 8:57-60, 10:294-95, and 10:1096-99.
b) And note the horses' names and their possible relevance to Ulysses: the favorite Sceptre was beaten by the 20-to-1 outsider Throwaway. (This was the actual result of the race on June 16, 1904.)

5) When you get to the list of Irish heroes (12:176-99), resist the temptation to skip to the end and, instead, read the list through. Apart from the humor, do you see any point being made?

6) Note Bloom's Freudian slip at 12:767-69.

7) The chapter's persistent anti-Semitism and xenophobia are obvious, but note how easily the anger and hatred spread to almost any named group or any person.

8) Note the relation of the language to the ongoing story--is anything changing in Ulysses? See, for example, the passage after the narrator says that Bloom would put a "soft hand under a hen" (12:845), the report of John Wyse Nolan's wedding after he declares that Ireland will become "treeless" (12:1258), or the passage following Bloom's statement about love (12:1493).