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by James Joyce

Ulysses Religion 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

"- You're not a believer, are you?" Haines asked. "I mean, a believer in the narrow sense of the word. Creation from nothing and miracles and a personal God."

"- There's only sense of the word, it seems to me," Stephen said. (1.289-290)

Is Stephen right that there is only one sense of the word "believe?" Obviously Stephen does not like Haines or his condescending attitude. Is his answer in some way a reflection of his dislike for Haines? Is the belief question an intellectual question for Stephen or is it something else?

Quote #2

From the playfield the boys raised a shout. A whirring whistle: goal…

"- The ways of the Creator are not our ways," Mr. Deasy said. "All history moves towards one great goal, the manifestation of God."

Stephen jerked his thumb towards the window, saying:

"- That is God…"

"- What?" Mr Deasy asked.

"- A shout in the street," Stephen answered, shrugging his shoulders." (2.159-165)

We note that Stephen's assertion that God is a shout in the street is actually an expression of belief (and not of atheism). What different views of God are Stephen and Mr. Deasy arguing? Does Mr. Deasy's theory now allow for God to be present in the moment? Does Stephen's theory contradict more traditional religious beliefs?

Quote #3

Cousin Stephen, you will never be a saint. Isle of saints. You were awfully holy, weren't you? You prayed to the Blessed Virgin that you might have a red nose. You prayed to the devil in Serpentine avenue from the fubsy widow in front might lift her clothes still more from the wet street. O si, certo! Sell your soul for that, do, dyed rags pinned round a squaw. More tell me, more still! On the top of the Howth tram alone crying to the rain: naked women! What about that, eh? (3.36)

In "Proteus," Stephen is remembering the Stephen that we knew in Portrait. That Stephen was deeply religious, striving to be good, but was also tempted by prostitutes and sexual desire. How does Stephen's memory of being such a religious young man shape the man that he is today? How do the values instilled him by religion make him so stubborn in his current beliefs against religion?

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