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by James Joyce

Leopold Bloom Timeline and Summary

Episode 4: Calypso

  • We first encounter Bloom at 8am at his house at 7 Eccles Street making breakfast for his wife, Molly.
  • Bloom feeds their cat and thinks about how the world looks from the cat's point of view. He realizes he has to go to the butcher's to get food for his wife.
  • Bloom heads out to the butcher's, leaving the door open a crack since he doesn't have his latchkey. He daydreams on his way there. He stops at the grocer's and makes small talk about Dignam (a mutual friend who died and whose funeral is today).
  • At the butcher's, Bloom finds himself in line behind his neighbors' daughter. He can't help himself and he ogles her.
  • Walking out, an advertisement for a Zionist colony catches his eye and he considers (not very seriously) buying land from them. Bloom thinks about the Jews history of persecution.
  • Bloom thinks of Molly and Milly. A moment of darkness as the sun covers a cloud makes him feel gloomy.
  • Returning home, Bloom finds a letter from Milly. There is also a suspicious-looking letter for his wife.
  • Bloom finishes breakfast and takes it up to Molly, who is still in bed. They discuss a book she has been reading, and she mocks him for using fancy words when he tries to explain the idea "metempsychosis."
  • Bloom realizes his kidney is burning (the food he was preparing for breakfast) and rushes down to get it. Downstairs, he reads his letter from his daughter. As he does, he remembers his daughter as a young girl and thinks of his son, Rudy, who died as an infant.
  • Bloom thinks of Molly and what she is going to do later that day (first allusion we have to her affair with Boylan).
  • He takes a penny-weekly (local newspaper) to the outhouse out back and reads a prize story while he goes to the bathroom.

Episode 5: Lotus Eaters

  • It's 10am Bloom is about a mile and a quarter from his home on Eccles Street; he's walking to the post office.
  • As Bloom walks, he observes people in the street and thinks about the Dead Sea.
  • At the post office, he puts in his card and opens a letter from Martha Clifford (we learn Bloom is having an illicit correspondence with the pen name Henry Flower).
  • A man named M'Coy engages Bloom in conversation about Dignam, whose funeral is today, and about their wives. Bloom tries to pay attention, but eyes women's skirts as they walk by.
  • Bloom thinks of his father's suicide. He reaches a hopscotch court and playfully tip-toes through it.
  • Martha Clifford's letter is playful and asks to meet. Bloom knows he will not meet her but already thinks about writing back to her.
  • At All Hallows church, Bloom slips in the back door and sits in on the service for a few moments. He thinks about how strange the Catholic service is (remember that Bloom is Jewish) and cuts out before they collect the money offerings.
  • Bloom picks up soap for Molly at the chemist, and has an encounter with a man named Bantam Lyons in the street. He accidentally gives Lyons a tip on the horse race.
  • As Bloom passes the public baths, he thinks ahead to his bath and imagines "the dark tangled curls of his bush floating, floating hair of the stream around the limp father of thousands, a languid floating flower" (5.142).

Episode 6: Hades

  • At 11am Bloom climbs into a carriage with Martin Cunningham, Mr. Powers, and Simon Dedalus (Stephen's father). They are part of Dignam's funeral procession and gradually make their way to Prospect Cemetery.
  • In the carriage, Bloom thinks of the day of Rudy's conception.
  • When the men salute Blazes Boylan from the carriage, Bloom thinks that he is the "Worst man in Dublin" (6.89).
  • The men heckle a Jewish moneylender, and it is uncomfortable for Bloom. He tells a story about a man who tried to commit suicide, but was saved. The men turn it into a joke.
  • Another funeral procession makes Bloom think of Rudy again. Mr. Power makes a crack about how disgraceful suicide is. Since Bloom's father committed suicide, he is again made uncomfortable.
  • Bloom lets his mind wander; he thinks about Dignam's body and whether or not it could get snagged on a nail.
  • The men hop out of the carriage at the ceremony. Bloom is left behind the group, and in his mind, he sympathizes with Dignam's wife.
  • Bloom's mind wanders throughout the funeral: he thinks the priest has a swollen face; he wonders why they don't bury people upright; he thinks that burying people is a waste of wood.
  • Walking out of the cemetery, Bloom points out to John Henry Menton that he has a dent in his hat. Menton snubs him.

Episode 7: Aeolus

  • At noon Bloom goes to the newspaper office of the Freeman Journal to try to secure an ad for a tea, wine, and spirit merchant named Keyes.
  • He tries to catch the chief editor's attention, but Nannetti hardly gives him the time of day.
  • Bloom's mind wanders about in the newspaper office: he imagines falling into the press and having the news printed all over himself and he wonders what they do with all the paper after it's no longer news.
  • Bloom looks in on the other men discussing a speech, and he makes small talk with the lawyer J.J. O'Molloy.
  • Bloom tries to call Keyes about the ad, but misses him. He hears that he is across the street and goes to meet him.
  • The newspaper boys go behind him and imitate his walk. While he is gone, the men make fun of Bloom.
  • Bloom tries to get another editor's attention as he comes back. Though he secures the ad, the editor is very rude to him.

Episode 8: Lestrygonians

  • At 1pm Bloom is making his way to Davy Byrne's pub.
  • Bloom examines a throwaway (Christian paper) that asks him if he was washed in the blood of the lamb.
  • He sees one of the Dedalus daughters and thinks about how the house has fallen apart since May Dedalus died.
  • At a bridge, Bloom feeds the seagulls. He is offended that they make no sign of thanks.
  • Bloom's mind wanders: he thinks about good places for ads, meanings of the word "parallax" (difference in how an object appears seen from two different points of view), of Molly's rude wit.
  • Bloom thinks of his wife, how good she looks when she gets dressed up, and what trouble she puts herself through to look pretty.
  • Bloom runs into his old girlfriend, Josie Breen. They discuss her husband and how he is slipping into madness.
  • Bloom thinks of his illicit correspondence as he passes the Irish Times office. He thinks about the pains women go through in childbirth.
  • A cloud moves over the sun, and Bloom's mood becomes dark and cynical.
  • Bloom sees the brother of Charles Stewart Parnell, John Howard, and a moment later hears George Russell talking with a young disciple.
  • Looking up at the sun, Bloom thinks of astronomy. He remembers walking under the moon with Molly and Boylan and wonders if they were touching.
  • Bloom thinks of how he could never enjoy sex with Molly after Rudy died. He feels his stomach grumble.
  • Bloom goes to Burton's restaurant, but is disgusted by the men eating like pigs at a trough. He continues on to Davy Byrne's pub.
  • Bloom eats a sandwich and makes awkward small talk with men at the bar.
  • Watching two flies stuck in the windowpane, Bloom thinks back to the time he proposed to Molly at Howth's Head. He thinks of the contrast between himself then and himself now.
  • Bloom wonders if the statues at the National Library have private parts beneath their skirts. He leaves the bar to pee.
  • The men gossip about Bloom, but Byrne sticks up for him and says he seems like a decent guy.
  • Bloom pays and leaves the restaurant. His thoughts keep drifting back to Molly, but he tries to re-direct them. He helps a blind old man across the street. He imagines what it must be like to be blind.
  • Bloom sees Boylan and panics; he ducks into the library to avoid him.

Episode 9: Scylla and Charybdis

  • While Stephen is explaining his Hamlet theory in the National Library, the head librarian, Lyster, hears that Bloom is looking for old copies of Kilkenny People.
  • Later, when Mulligan enters, he reports that he thinks Bloom is gay. He says that he saw him looking up the skirts of the statue of Aphrodite in the lounge.
  • When Mulligan and Stephen pass out of the library, Mulligan kids Stephen that Bloom has his eye on him and that he must be careful.

Episode 10: The Wandering Rocks

  • We hear a bit of gossip about Bloom from other characters. Lenehan and M'Coy joke about how Bloom read a book on astronomy. Lenehan claims that he once groped Molly in a carriage while Bloom sat just across looking out at the stars. M'Coy sticks up for Bloom and thinks he has an artistic side.
  • While Martin Cunningham takes up his collection for Patrick Dignam, we learn that Bloom quickly donated five shillings. The other men joke about this.
  • Meanwhile, Bloom is at a bookcart in Merchant's arch. He reads an erotic passage from Sweets of Sin and imagines Molly as the female character lusting after him. He buys the book for her, and the owner comments that he has picked a good one.

Episode 11: Sirens

  • Bloom is wandering the streets near the Ormond Hotel. He considers buying paper to write to Martha Clifford.
  • Bloom sees Boylan for the third time today and follows him to the bar at the Ormond.
  • As Bloom approaches the bar, he runs into Richie Goulding and they agree to have lunch.
  • When Boylan leaves, Bloom lets out a "light sob of breath" because he knows that he is going to sleep with Molly (11.291).
  • Goulding talks too much during lunch, and Bloom thinks critically of his verbosity and sympathetically of his chronic back pain.
  • The singing in the bar makes Bloom think of Molly and the first time they met: playing musical chairs.
  • Bloom takes out paper and a pen and begins composing his letter to Martha Clifford.
  • Bloom admires the barmaids and feels lonely as the music comes to an end.
  • When he goes outside, he sees a prostitute, Birdie Kelley, that he once had an appointment with. He avoids her and lets out a big fart as he thinks of Robert Emmet, hero of the song "The Croppy Boy."

Episode 12: Cyclops

  • A bit after 5pm, Bloom goes to Barney Kiernan's pub hoping to meet Martin Cunningham. He doesn't fit in with the other men there because he doesn't order a drink.
  • The citizen is going on about Irish nationalism, and when Bloom disagrees with him, they get into an argument. The narrator of the chapter seems to side with the citizen, and makes disparaging comments about Bloom.
  • Bloom complains about the persecution of the Jewish people. Then he says, "Force, hatred, history, all that. That's not life for men and women, insult and hatred. And everybody knows that it's the very opposite of that that is really life" (12.423). Alf asks what he is referring to, and he says, "Love" (12.425).
  • Bloom leaves for a few moments to look for Martin Cunningham. The men make fun of him viciously, and Cunningham arrives while he is gone.
  • The citizen directly attacks Bloom's Jewishness, and Bloom shouts that Christ was a Jew. The citizen is furious and hurls a tin at Bloom as Cunningham's carriage pulls away, but it falls short.

Episode 13: Nausicaa

  • It is 8pm, and the action has moved to the rocks down on Sandymount Strand where Stephen paused in his morning's walk in Episode 3.
  • For the first half of the episode, a narrator describes the whole scene in extremely sentimental prose, in the style of a romantic girl's novel.
  • Bloom eyes the young girl Gerty Macdowell and masturbates behind a rock. Gerty notices the man and in some ways she encourages him.
  • Another girl, Cissy, sees Bloom and goes to ask him for the time. He is flustered.
  • As some fireworks go up out over the Bay, Bloom has an orgasm. He feels ashamed of what he has done and begins tidying up. When Gerty stands up, he realizes she is lame in one foot.
  • Bloom thinks about the women he has known in his life, and how incredibly perceptive they all are.
  • Noticing that his watch has stopped, Bloom wonders if Molly and Boylan have already slept together.
  • Bloom begins to write something in the stand, but then gives up. He takes a short nap on the Strand.

Episode 14: Oxen of the Sun

  • The episode opens at 10pm in the National Maternity Hospital, 29-31 Holles Street, presided over by Sir Andrew Horne.
  • Bloom comes into the hospital to wait with the other men there for news of Mina Purefoy giving birth.
  • The men are drunk and in very high spirits. Bloom thinks it is inappropriate considering the paining Mrs. Purefoy is going through, but he is alone in his opinion.
  • Bloom becomes gloomy. When the men leave, he stops to have a word with Nurse Callan, asking her to pass on a kind word to Mina.
  • Bloom follows the men to a bar and when Stephen leaves to head to Nighttown, Bloom follows behind.

Episode 15: Circe

  • The episode opens at midnight by the entrance to Nighttown, the Dublin red light district. Recall that the episode is written in the form of a play dialogue, and much of it takes place in the form of dreamscapes.
  • Bloom follows Stephen and Lynch into Nighttown. He buys a pig's crubeen and a cold sheep's trotter at a butcher's that is open late.
  • Bloom imagines his parents coming back from the dead to scold him for being a failure. Molly appears and also mocks Bloom.
  • Josie Breen appears and flirts with Bloom.
  • Bloom wonders why he is following Stephen in the first place.
  • Bloom gives his food to a stray dog; he imagines two policemen interrogating him about why he gave away his food.
  • A number of women appear from Bloom's past and accuse him of being a lewd man. In his imagination, the street turns into a court room and people come up and argue for or against Bloom.
  • The masochistic fantasy ends when Bloom appears before Bella Cohen's brothel.
  • Bloom chats with a prostitute named Zoe, and then has another elaborate fantasy in which he is announced the new leader of "Bloomusalem."
  • The mood gradually shifts and people again begin to denounce Bloom. The fire brigade comes and sets fire to him.
  • Stephen goes inside with Zoe where he finds a very drunk Lynch and Dedalus.
  • Upon seeing the prostitute madame, Bloom has an elaborate fantasy in which she turns into a man and he turns into a woman; she abuses him and pees on him.
  • Bloom imagines watching on while Boylan sleeps with Molly; he cheers them on.
  • Stephen throws a fit and breaks a chandelier before rushing out into the street. Bloom pays the prostitute madame for the damage and rushes out after him.
  • After the English constable Private Carr hits Stephen, Bloom helps him up. He imagines that he sees Rudy in the street before them and calls out to him, but the apparition does not respond.

Episode 16: Eumaeus

  • It is 1am on the corner of Beaver Street.
  • Bloom helps Stephen up and they go to a cabman's shelter under Loop Line Bridge.
  • When Stephen gives a friend money to help him find a place to sleep for the night, Bloom is shocked at how much Stephen gave away.
  • Bloom tells Stephen that his father is very proud of him and that he thinks Mulligan is not a good friend for him.
  • A sailor named W.B. Murphy approaches the two of them in the café and begins telling stories of his adventures. Bloom thinks that he is making them up.
  • Bloom asks Stephen about the soul and the nature of God.
  • Bloom thinks the bartender is Skin-the-Goat Fitzharris (the getaway driver from the Phoenix Park murders).
  • The two of them discuss revolution in Ireland, and Bloom describes his vision for a utopia based on hard work. Bloom is irritating Stephen, who asks him to change the subject.
  • When Bloom overhears the men discussing Katherine O'Shea and Parnell, Bloom sympathizes with Parnell (the adulterer) instead of Mr. O'Shea.
  • Bloom takes sympathy on Stephen and thinks that there is an affinity between their minds. He recounts his interaction with the citizen.
  • They begin to discuss music as they leave the shelter, and the two of them walk arm in arm back to Bloom's house.

Episode 17: Ithaca

  • It's 2am as Bloom and Stephen make their way from the cabmen's shelter to Bloom's house at 7 Eccles Street. The chapter is written in the form of a catechism (booklet of questions and answers intended to teach people the beliefs of the church).
  • On the way back, they discuss religion, diet, music, literature, Dublin, and the arts.
  • At the house, Bloom realizes he has forgotten his latchkey. He hops the fence and then lets Stephen in through the front door.
  • They pass into the kitchen where Bloom prepares cocoa.
  • The narrator lists all the reasons that Bloom loves water.
  • As the two of them drink their cocoa, the narrator thinks that on the whole Bloom is satisfied with his day.
  • Bloom thinks about a number of inventions he came up with when he was a little kid. Bloom's mind wanders to his father's suicide, and then to his wife's shortcomings.
  • He has fond memories of his daughter Milly.
  • Bloom offers to let Stephen stay the night, but he declines.
  • The two of them go out into Bloom's garden and urinate. Bloom thinks about the vastness of the universe and wonders whether or not there is life in space.
  • Bloom lets Stephen out the back gate and watches him walk alone down the sidewalk.
  • When Bloom goes back inside he realizes that the furniture has been re-arranged by Boylan and Molly. In other words, they made no effort to hide their affair from him.
  • Bloom sits down at a desk in the front room. He stretches out his feet and takes off his socks.
  • He tries to imagine buying a nice two-story cottage on the outskirts of Dublin.
  • The contents of the drawers in the table are listed, including the suicide note of Bloom's father, Leopold.
  • Bloom imagines walking the earth alone, a solitary wanderer.
  • Bloom goes upstairs and thinks of the details of Molly and Boylan sleeping together. He manages to resign himself to the idea, and then climbs into bed with Molly. He kisses her butt and nods off.

Episode 18: Penelope

  • It's sometime after 4am. In 8 long sentences, we get the wandering thoughts of Molly Bloom as she nods off to sleep – as often as not, they are of Leopold.
  • Molly first thinks harshly and then kindly of Bloom. She knows that he keeps pornographic pictures and that he is having some sort of illicit correspondence. She thinks how stupid it was of Bloom to kiss her butt.
  • She remembers first wooing Bloom and Josie Powell hung out with them for a while because she was also after him.
  • She thinks of how Bloom is obsessed with her underwear and how he used to suck on her breasts when she was pregnant with Milly.
  • She thinks of how crazy Bloom used to be over her, and how now he treats her coldly. They have not properly made love in over ten years.
  • Molly remembers Bloom's proposal, and her response: "well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could fell my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes" (18.783).