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by James Joyce

Ulysses Memory and the Past 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 #1

The cords of all link back, strandentwining cable of all flesh. That is why mystic monks. Will you be as gods? Gaze in your omphalos. Hello. Kinch here. Put me on to Edenville. Aleph, alpha: nought, nought, one. (3.6)

Stephen here imagines the umbilical cord (omphalos) as a telephone cord that goes back into the past, allowing him to make a telephone call to Eden by dialing the Greek letters (Aleph, alpha). Why might he settle on the image of an umbilical cord? How can the umbilical cord become a metaphor for our relation to the past?

Quote #2

Quick warm sunlight came running from Berkeley Road, swiftly, in slim sandals, along the brightening footpath. Runs, she runs to meet me, a girl with gold hair on the wind. (4.63)

Notice here how the external world ties into memory. The shifting of the sun jogs a memory of Milly for Bloom. Is this how memory actually works? Is it true to life?

Quote #3

Must have been that morning in Raymond terrace she was at the window, watching the two dogs at it by the wall of the cease to do evil. And the sergeant grinning up. She had that cream gown on with the rip she never stitched. Give us a touch, Poldy. God, I'm dying for it. How life beings. (6.29)

In the carriage with the men on the way to Dignam's funeral, Bloom has this recollection of the moment that he thinks was Rudy's conception. What does it mean to remember your child in terms of their conception versus their birth? Does the fact that we as readers read this memory as a sentence (a sentence that looks like all the other sentences that depict the present) make our experience of this memory different than it is for Bloom? What gives this memory special poignancy today? How might it be tied in with Bloom's feelings of guilt over the death of his son?

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