by James Joyce
Ulysses Mortality 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.
More room if they buried them standing. Sitting or kneeling you couldn't. Standing? His head might come up some day above ground in a landslip with his hand pointing. All honeycombed the ground must be: oblong cells. (6.330)
At Dignam's funeral, Bloom can't help but think absurd thoughts about what we do with the dead. Is it possible to view death in a humorous light? Is Bloom just avoiding his own fear of death and sadness over the loss of his father and son by trying to be funny? Is it possible for death to be funny and frightening and sad all at once?
A fellow could live on his lonesome all his life. Yes, he could. Still he'd have to get someone to sod him after he died though he could dig his own grave. We all do. Only man buries. No ants too. First thing strikes anybody. Bury the dead. (6.337)
Here, Bloom lets his mind wander at Dignam's funeral. Aside from its practicality, what is the human obsession with burying the dead? Is it a way of hiding the dead, of forcing the thought of death from our lives? How has it become such a large ritual? Is Bloom, by letting his mind wander to such random thoughts, disrespecting the memory of the dead?
Bam! Expires. Gone at last. People talk about you a bit: forget you. Don't forget to pray for him. Remember him in your prayers. Even Parnell. Ivy day dying out. Then they follow: dropping into a hole one after the other. (6.345)
How is death the great leveler? How does it show what we all have in common? Does Bloom's vernacular (everyday) speech seem more or less profound than the heightened Catholic speech: "Your are dust and to dust you shall return"?