Study Guide

Haines in Ulysses

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Haines features mainly in "Telemachus." He is an Englishman that is staying with Buck Mulligan at Martello Tower, and he has developed an interest in Irish folklore and country life. From the outset Stephen despises him, and Stephen is particularly disturbed by a dream Haines had the night before in which he was raving about a black panther. Stephen repeatedly asks when Haines will be leaving, and though Mulligan tries to encourage Stephen it is clear that he has no intention of throwing Haines off any time soon.

Haines is representative of an English attitude toward the Irish that was common around the turn of the century. The attitude was sometimes described as "killing the Irish with kindness." Haines is legitimately curious about Irish writing and history, and he proposes making a collection of Stephen's sayings. However, Haines interest is purely academic and speculative. He thinks of Ireland as a quaint object of study, but shows absolutely zero empathy for the people there. There is no point at which he sounds more like an indifferent colonialist than when he tells Stephen, "It seems history is to blame" (1.307). Haines abnegates (refuses to take responsibility for) the colonialists' responsibility. He wants to be entertained by the people there, but does not want to acknowledge how he is complicit (acting as an accomplice) in the brutality and indignity inflicted on the Irish people.

Though Haines considers himself something of an intellectual, it is clear that he can't keep up with Stephen, who gently gives him the run-around at the end of "Telemachus." Later, Haines tells Mulligan that he thinks Stephen may be insane, which again emphasizes his inability (or unwillingness) to understand the harsh message that Stephen has for him.

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