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Ulysses

Ulysses

by James Joyce

Time Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #7

Time's ruins build eternity's mansions. What means this? Desire's wind blasts the thorntree but after it becomes from a bramblebush to be a rose upon the rood of time. (14.20)

Here are a few of Stephen's profound words in "Oxen of the Sun." What is the difference between time and eternity? When we think in terms of time, what things do we value? How do these values change when we think in terms of eternity? As an artist, Stephen tries to think in terms of eternity, but what does it even mean to think that way?

Quote #8

What relation existed between their ages?

16 years before in 1888 when Bloom was of Stephen's present age Stephen was 6. 16 years after in 1920 when Stephen would be of Bloom's present age Bloom would be 54. In 1936 when Bloom would be 70 and Stephen 54 their ages initially in the ratio of 16 to 0 would be 17 ½ to 13 1/2 , the proportion increasing and disparity diminishing according as arbitrary future years were added. (17.679)

Here, in the "Ithaca" episode, we note that Joyce plays with Stephen's and Bloom's ages as if it were a math problem. How does his playfulness effect how we think of the relationship between Stephen and Bloom's ages? How would the effect be different if he just gave us their ages straight out?

Quote #9

What was Stephen's auditive sensation?

He heard in a profound ancient male unfamiliar melody the accumulation of the past.

What was Bloom's visual sensation?

He saw in a quick young male familiar form the predestination of a future. (17.110-111)

Why would Stephen and Bloom have different experiences of the past and future based on their different ages? At what age do you think it is that more of your thoughts tend toward the past than toward the future? What role might our senses play in our experience of time (e.g. we smell breakfast, we intuit it's morning; we feel that it's cold, we conclude that the sun has gone down and it's evening)?

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