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Quotes

Quote #4

– No God for Ireland! [Mr. Casey] cried. We have had too much God In Ireland. Away with God! (1.3.66)

Mr. Casey blames God (and his Church) for the failure of Irish nationalism. His anger is connected to the downfall of Parnell because of his affair with Kitty O’Shea, which was condemned by the Church.

Quote #5

On the way home uncle Charles would often pay a visit to the chapel and, as the font was above Stephen's reach, the old man would dip his hand and then sprinkle the water briskly about Stephen's clothes and on the floor of the porch. While he prayed he knelt on his red handkerchief and read above his breath from a thumb blackened prayer book wherein catchwords were printed at the foot of every page. Stephen knelt at his side respecting, though he did not share, his piety. He often wondered what his grand-uncle prayed for so seriously. Perhaps he prayed for the souls in purgatory or for the grace of a happy death or perhaps he prayed that God might send him back a part of the big fortune he had squandered in Cork. (2.1.5)

We get the feeling that Stephen doesn’t have a need for religion yet. As a child, he can only understand what adults might pray for from a theoretical perspective.

Quote #6

On Sunday mornings as he passed the church door he glanced coldly at the worshippers who stood bareheaded, four deep, outside the church, morally present at the mass which they could neither see nor hear. Their dull piety and the sickly smell of the cheap hair-oil with which they had anointed their heads repelled him from the altar they prayed at. (3.1.6)

At his point, Stephen is wholly dominated by his senses. He perceives the "dull piety" and the "cheap hair-oil" with the same physical disgust.

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