by James Joyce
Ulysses Patriotism 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.
"- It gives them a crick in their necks," Stephen said, "and they are too tired to look up or down or to speak. They put the bag of plums between them and eat the plums out of it one after another, wiping off with their handkerchiefs the plum-juice that dribbles out of their mouths and spitting the plum-stones slowly out between the railings."
He gave a sudden young laugh as a close. (7.515-516)
These are the last lines of Stephen's "Parable of the Plums" that he tells to Myles Crawford and Professor MacHugh as they walk out of the Freeman Telegraph office. What does Stephen's parable say about Irish nationalism and life in Dublin? To get you going, why do they throw down the plum seeds? Why does the parable involve two old women that have never reproduced in their lives? Why is that they climb to the top of a pillar meant to honor an Englishman?
Nations of the earth. No-one behind. She's passed. Then and not till then. Tram. Kran, kran, kran. Good oppor. Coming. Krandlkrankran. I'm sure it's the burgundy. Yes. One, two. Let my epitaph be. Karaaaaaaa. Written. I have.
These are the last lines of the "Sirens" episode. What's going on is that Bloom is remembering the last line of the patriot Robert Emmet's speech before he was executed. At the same time, he is waiting for the noise of a passing tram so that he can let out all the gas that has built up in his stomach. To an Irish reader, this passage would be extremely offensive. Joyce is mingling the dying words of their beloved patriot with the sound of a fart. Why would he do this? Is it possible for a sincere and powerful sentence to become sentimental and powerless simply from overuse? How would Bloom's fart undercut this sentimentality?
"-Their syphilisation, you mean," says the citizen. "To hell with them! The curse of a goodfornothing God light sideways on the bloody thicklugged sons of whores' gets! No music and no art and no literature worthy of name. Any civilization they have they stole from us. Tonguetied sons of bastards' ghosts." (12.331)
Here, the citizen rails against the lack of culture in England. This is one of his many "patriotic" rants in the "Cyclops" episode. It is plain to see how his Irish pride has caused him to renounce many things simply because they are not Irish. What would it mean for the citizen to be able to appreciate the culture of his oppressor? In what ways would it be degrading? In what ways would it be liberating?