Welcome to Ulysses Wednesday, where I track my progress reading James Joyce’s tale of a day in the life of Leopold Bloom.
Status: page 700 of 783
So Bloom and Dedalus were last seen at the off-hours pub, and Bloom is deciding whether or not to take Stephen home with him so that he can sleep it off. He decides in the positive, but when they arrive at the house poor Poldy realizes that he doesn’t have his house key and must break in (lest he awake Molly).
The chapter I’m in now is in the style of an interview – a very scientific interview. It is explaining quite a bit about Bloom, Stephen, and their families, which I wish I read before the rest of the book. There’s also some really weird stuff (weirder stuff, I should say) — an implied connection between Ireland and Israel, for example, and a strange poem/nursery rhyme that I don’t think I’d want to be singing with any children I know:
Little Harry Hughes and his schoolfellows all
Went out for to play ball.
And the very first ball little Harry Hughes played
He drove it o’er the jew’s garden wall.
And the very second ball little Harry Hughes played
He broke the jew’s windows all.
Then out there came the jew’s daughter
And she all dressed in green.
‘Come back, come back, you pretty little boy,
And play your ball again.’
‘I can’t come back and I won’t come back
Without my schoolfellows all,
For if my master he did hear
He’d make it a sorry ball.’
She took him by the lilywhite hand
And led him along the hall
Until she led him to a room
Where none could hear him call.
She took a penknife out of her pocket
And cut off his little head,
And now he’ll play his ball no more
For he lies among the dead.
A treatise against playing ball where you might break something, or an example of anti-Semitism?
I have about 30 pages left in this chapter (oops – sorry – EPISODE) and then I’m on to Molly’s stream of consciousness rant. I feel I need to read that part all at once, so if I’m able to do that, I might just finish the novel within the week!