By the end of the novel, Bloom becomes a sort of surrogate father figure to Stephen Dedalus. This doesn't take place in any sort of overwhelmingly dramatic way, and after Bloom takes Stephen home we see them part without too much fuss. But, without even knowing it, Bloom has something very important to teach Stephen. Namely, that it doesn't matter how brilliantly intelligent you are if you don't know how to love and empathize with other people. Stephen's artistic genius in the novel is constantly contrasted to Bloom's ability to empathize as well as his simple down-to-earth goofiness. For Stephen, who is isolated at the beginning of the novel, Bloom offers a way back into the human fold.