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by James Joyce

Ulysses Freedom and Confinement Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph), except for the "Circe" episode, which is (Chapter.Line) and the "Penelope" episode, which is (Chapter.Page). We used the Vintage International edition published in 1990.

Quote #4

Reading two pages apiece of seven books every night, eh? I was young. You bowed to yourself in the mirror, stepping forward to applause earnestly, striking face. Hurray for the God-damned idiot! Hray! No-one saw: tell no-one. Books you were going to write with letters for titles. Have you read his F? O yes, but I prefer Q. Yes, but W is wonderful. O yes, W. Remember your epiphanies on green oval leaves, deeply deep, copies to be sent if you died to all the great libraries of the world, including Alexandria? Someone was to read them there after a few thousand years, a mahamanvantara. Pico della Mirandola like. Ay, very like a whale. When one reads these strange pages of one long gone one feels that one is at one with one who once… (3.38)

This is some of Stephen's stream-of-consciousness from "Proteus" where we get a glimpse of his enormous ambition and also his ability to make fun of himself. How does ambition imprison Stephen inside his own mind? What about Stephen's fear that he won't fulfill his ambition? How does Stephen's ability to make fun of himself bend the bars of the prison a wee bit?

Quote #5

Mr. Bloom reviewed the nails of his left hand, then those of his right hand. The nails, yes. Is there anything more in him than they she sees? Fascination. Worst man in Dublin. That keeps him alive. They sometimes feel what a person is. Instinct. But a type like that. My nails. I am just looking at them: well pared. And after: thinking alone. (6.89)

We're in the "Hades" episode and the men's carriage has just passed Blazes Boylan. All the other men salute him and Bloom begins checking out his fingernails. How does this instinct show the way in which Bloom is trapped in his situation? What would Bloom's other alternatives be today (other than letting the affair happen)? In what ways do the society men confine Bloom?

Quote #6

"The sentimentalist is he who would enjoy without incurring the immense debtorship for a thing done." (9.209)

Here is the telegram that Stephen sent to Mulligan after he missed their meeting at the ship. Mulligan now comes to the National Library to read the telegram aloud in front of all the gathered men. What is the debt that a sentimentalist does not pay? How can the need to justify one's emotions to oneself (as if they were debts to be paid off) be incredibly confining? In what ways is Stephen a sentimentalist? Mulligan? What are Stephen's feelings about sentimentality that make him so much more anti-social than Mulligan?

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