Study Guide

John Conmee in Ulysses

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John Conmee

Conmee was the rector of Clongowes Wood College when Joyce was a student there. He then became prefect of studies at Belvedere College. In Portrait, Stephen went to Conmee for support when he was unfairly punished by Father Dolan.

In Ulysses, Conmee gets his own stream-of-consciousness at the opening of "The Wandering Rocks." Martin Cunningham enlists him to help get young Patrick Dignam into Jesuit school for free. As he wanders to the school, his thoughts are all extremely pious, and it is clear that his orthodox religious views are being satirized. When he thinks about a horrific steamboat accident in the United States, for example, he thinks that at least it was an act of perfect contrition for those on board. At one point, Lynch emerges from a bush with his girl, and Conmee blesses him gravely. Later, when he sees a colored man on the tram, he thinks about the Church's missionary efforts abroad. In "Circe," Conmee appears briefly. Stephen imagines him springing out of the piano to reprise his role in Portrait.

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