He laughed to free his mind from his mind's bondage. (9.365)
This moment comes in "Scylla and Charybdis," as Stephen is building up to the peak of his argument on Shakespeare. What exactly is Stephen's "mind's bondage?" How would you describe it? How does laughter free him from this bondage? In what ways does laughter allow us to forget ourselves for a moment? Why would one want to forget oneself?
Ireland sober is Ireland free. (12.177)
This is Bloom's thought on drink as the curse of Ireland in the "Cyclops" episode. In an oppressed nation, where people are given to complaining of their oppression and remembering promises of independence in the past, how can alcohol be particularly confining? In what ways is drink also liberating? If drink is such a bad thing for Ireland, then why do men keep going to the bars every day?
"Ah non, par exemple! The intellectual imagination! With me all or not at all. Non serviam!" (15.915)
Drunk on absinthe, Stephen has just had a vision of his dead mother in Bella Cohen's brothel. She is begging him to repent and he denies her, swinging his ashplant desperately and breaking the chandelier overhead. To what extent does Stephen's behavior just seem silly or melodramatic in this scene? How can we take him seriously? Is Stephen right to still resist the urge to repent? What is he gaining by doing so?