James Joyce's Ulysses, episodes 7-9

From Joyce's letter containing the schema sent to Carlo Linati dated September 21, 1920:

Episode 7: Aeolus
Thumbnail summary: In this chapter arranged as a series of "articles" under headlines as we might find in a newspaper, Bloom goes to the office of The Freeman's Journal to place an ad, which the editor declines to accept. Although the two do not cross paths, Stephen Dedalus also appears at the Freeman's office to make good his promise to deliver Deasy's essay on foot and mouth disease to the paper.

In Homer's Odyssey: In Book X Odysseus continues to journey homeward. He lands on the floating island of Aeolia, where the god Aeolus invites Odysseus and his crew to rest awhile and then he sends them off with a westerly wind to aid their sail home to Ithaca. He also gives Odysseus a gift, a leather bag containing all the winds other than the westerly. The crew, speculating that the gift bag contains gold or other riches that Odysseus aims to keep for himself, open the bag, releasing violent winds that blow them back to their starting point at Aeolus. This time Aeolus will have nothing to do with Odysseus and his greedy crew.

Joyce's Schema, the Aeolus episode, pp. 116-50
Scene Time Organ Art
(Sense [Meaning])
Color Symbol Technic Correspondences
The newspaper 12:00-1:00 p.m. Lungs

[The Mockery of Victory]

Red Editor [Machines, Wind, Hunger, Stag Beetle, Failed Destines, Press, Mutability] Enthymemic
[deliberative oratory, forensic oratory, public oratory, Tropes]



Floating Island—the Press

[Aeolus, Sons, Telemachus, Mentor, Ulysses]

A few themes and motifs to consider:

  • Various forms, techniques, and uses of oratory (public speaking).
  • Various rhetorical devices and techniques, playful and serious.
  • "Air" or "wind" in all its variants.
  • Keys.
  • Bloom and Stephen as "defenders of language."
  • Portrayal of the newspaper business: censorship, the editor's "incestuous" admiration of his reporters, and more.
  • More parallels between the Irish and the Jews.
  • Interplay between headlines and text: straight, ironic, humorous, and other.

Episode 8: Lestrygonians

Thumbnail summary: Hungry, Bloom heads to lunch, first entering the Burton's Hotel restaurant but leaving in disgust at the way the patrons are eating meat like animals, then going to a pub where he eats a cheese sandwich and drinks a glass of wine. After the meal Bloom sets out for the National Library to look up an ad. On the way he kindly helps a blind man cross a street; then he sees Blazes Boylan, and disconcerted, he darts into the National Museum to avoid an awkward encounter with his wife's lover.

In Homer's Odyssey: After being blown back to Aeolia, still in Book X, Odysseus sails to the island of the Lestrygonians, where he sends two men to scout the island for water and food. They encounter a race of giants, the Lestrygonians, whose king, Antiphates, eats the two scouts, and then a horde of giants sinks all of Odysseus's ships but his own by attacking them with boulders. All the men but those on Odysseus's flagship are lost to the giant cannibals.

Joyce's Schema, the Lestrygonians episode, pp. 151-83
Scene Time Organ Art
(Sense [Meaning])
Color Symbol Technic Correspondences
The lunch 1:00-2:00 p.m. Esophagus


[Blood colour]

Constables[Bloody sacrifice, foods, shame]



The Decoy—food


[Antiphates, The seductive daughter, Ulysses]

A few themes and motifs to consider:

  • Food, food, and more food, and its vast array of associations for Bloom.
  • Related processes to eating (vomiting, e.g.).
  • Cannibalism and human sacrifice.
  • Greater extreme in stream of consciousness here: "peristaltic prose."
  • Recurring concerns in Bloom's thoughts, from earlier chapters still persisting.

Episode 9: Scylla and Charybdis

Thumbnail summary: We join Stephen Dedalus at the National Library, where he discusses with a librarian and two moderately well-known authors his theory of biographical connections between Shakespeare's life and his plays, particularly Hamlet. Buck enters the library to join Stephen, happening to walk by Bloom, who is intently examining a statue's buttocks, which leads Buck to wonder if Bloom is homosexual. As Stephen and Buck leave the library, Bloom passes between them on the steps, and Stephen and Bloom part ways—for the time being. . . .

In Homer's Odyssey: As narrated in Book XII of the epic, Odysseus must sail through a narrow strait guarded by two hideous and dangerous monsters: Scylla, on one side, is a rock-like giant of a woman with twelve serpent-like legs and six heads who is said never to let any pass near her without great loss of life; and on the other side is Charybdis, who lurks below the sea and three times a day stirs the seas in a great destructive whirlpool that sucks in all within its reach and spews them high into the air, breaking whole ships like matchsticks. Deciding it would be better to sacrifice six men to the half-dozen mouths of Scylla than to risk losing his ship, Odysseus chooses to sail nearer Scylla: she does indeed eat up six of his crew, but the ship sails through the strait with no further losses.

Joyce's Schema, the Scylla and Charybdis episode, pp. 184-218
Scene Time Organ Art
Color Symbol Technic Correspondences
The Library 2:00-
3:00 p.m.

Literature [Two-edged dilemma]


Stratford, London
[Hamlet, Shakespeare, Christ, Socrates, London and Stratford, Scholasticism and Mysticism, Plato and Aristotle, Youth and Maturity]

Dialectic [Whirlpools]

The Rock—Aristotle, dogma, Stratford

The Whirlpool —Plato, mysticism, London

Ulysses—Socrates, Jesus, Shakespeare

[Scylla and Charybdis, Ulysses, Telemachus, Antinous]

Stephen's impressive arguments on Shakespeare are drawn from a series of thirteen lectures Joyce gave on Hamlet in Trieste, Italy in 1912-1913.

A few themes and motifs to consider:

  • Various pairings and oppositions: the "dialectic" of argument, and various representations of pairs in opposition to correspond with the paired dangers of Scylla and Charybdis (body and soul, life and art, e.g., and of course several are noted in the "symbols" column of the schema above).
  • Stephen's aims for literary reputation; his sense of exclusion when faced with the more accomplished writers and scholars he addresses.
  • Stephen's insistence that Shakespeare was not a lofty dreamer but a writer devoted to hard, straightforward facts: "One hat is one hat."
  • Note how the scene changes when Buck appears.
  • This episode as portraying Stephen's realization of his maturity, becoming Dedalus soaring in flight rather than the falling Icarus.