Study Guide

Private Carr and Private Compton in Ulysses

By James Joyce

Private Carr and Private Compton

In "Circe," two English Privates are wandering about Nighttown, flirting with Cissy Caffrey. When they go to the bathroom, Stephen drunkenly bumps into Cissy and they come and accost him. They don't understand Stephen's oblique references, but can gather that he is saying something against their king. At Compton's urging, Carr (after much tough talk and procrastination) hits Stephen. When the two night watchmen arrive on the scene, the Privates bag off. Interestingly, their names come from two real English constables with whom Joyce had an unfortunate run-in one night when he was out drinking. The run-in is often cited as the origin of Joyce's idea for Ulysses.