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Boselli 1 John Boselli Dr.

Doggett English 358 18 December 2012 Anchoring the Wandering Rocks Within the Telemachiad-Odyssey-Nostos framework of Ulysses narrative, the Wandering Rocks chapter seemed to be (despite my love for Penelope) the novels true axis of rotation. True, Rocks does herald the coming of the Arranger and the experiments of later chapters, bridging the discourse of Scylla and Charybdis and cacophony of Sirens. The chapter moves independently of the reader, intruding upon and interrupting itself, so it is easily relocated. But I believe that as an opening or close to Ulysses, the chapter is far more exciting, if not as successful. As an overture to the novel, Rockss variety of literary cubism dashes any notion of an idealized Dublin. Joyces meticulous route planning captures the concrete physicality of Dublin, but the spirit is left elsewhere; a frustrating picture of a wasteland, the chapter describes men and women who are quite good not great, but more than all right, setting up a counterpoint in heroic Mr. Leopold Bloom (Gordon). Bloom seems virtuous, epic, and essentially real if only for the time he spends with the reader. His superhumanly human presence could likely be felt in Father Conmee, Simon Dedalus, Tom Rochford, or Lenehan, and others. Simon Dedalus boozehound ways or Lenehans swindling do not outstrip Blooms sexual deviance, acceptance of cuckoldry, and other personal deficiencies. The vignettes of Rocks reveal eighteen Dubliners, each on their own odyssey. Bloom is heroic only by scale. Ulysses then is an exercise in inflation, and in praise of solipsism, for we may only know others in faint glimpses not the strongest claim for reality. The Gilbert schema records its symbol as citizens for this reason. The chapters universal orbit would be continued in fellow bookend Penelope; her shut-box of individual perspective admits only of itself, and is therefore the most relevant cosmic force. Also, the pair insinuates that judgments of Molly as Gea-Tellus, Earth Mother, and Eve are as subject to our acquaintance with her as our consideration of Bloom as Odysseus. Problematically, the Wandering Rocks of Homers Odyssey are to be passed only by a ship bound for home. In this way, perhaps Molly and Bloom truly are the centers of the universe, giving meaning to the chapters erratic orbit. The overture encourages a structuralist reading of Ulysses, giving foundation to a foundationless, modern Dublin. One could accomplish the same feat by simply reading Dubliners before Ulysses, but the short stories reveal too much; Marias impish misery in Clay, Evelines existential horror, and Gabriels death and rebirth in The Dead are too humanistic. The chapter bridges the two texts, and alienates the reader from all but Bloom, Molly, and Stephen Dedalus. If Wandering Rocks were to follow Penelope, as the coda to another coda, as it were, Ulysses becomes far more postmodern. If the latter retained its Trieste-Zurich-Paris 1914-1921 postscript, Rocks would then be a condemnation of solipsism.

Boselli 2 Many of the vignettes in the chapter seem to comment upon earlier chapters of the novel, creating a sort of community, an optimistic future for Dublin. For example, the emotional ties between Bloom and his daughter Milly in Calypso are inverted in the bleak, Our father who art not in heaven reality of the Dedalus girls, with a fiscally irresponsible father (226-227). Miss Dunnes moment in the chapter is reminiscent of the journalistic, public-oriented Aeolus, for she is seen hiding her book in the back of her desk drawer (Gordon). Rather than muck up our understanding of Dublin at 3 P.M. on June 16, 1904, Rocks as coda would be Joyces hammer to the mirror, the Arrangers last trick after the surprise of Molly Blooms soliloquy, summarizing only by undermining. The chapters concentration of opposites pairs well with Joyces unstable system. Father Conmees northeast route across Dublin is posed to collide with the southwest-bound viceregal cavalcade. Also, in regards to the schema, Penelopes key symbol is the Earth, and in this way, Wandering Rocks would people the planet, a restoration of the birds-eye view that Dubliners is never able to present, given its constant intimacy with its subjects. Also, concluding the Nostos triad of the novel, whose organs are nerves (Eumaeus), skeleton (Ithaca), flesh (Penelope,), the organ of Rocks (blood) would be the driving force of the odyssey. While all other prior organs are relatively peripheral, such as kidneys (Calypso), genitals (Lotus Eaters), and lungs (Aeolus), blood is (to mix metaphors) what finally sets Ulysses in orbit, contextualizing all of Stephens, Leopolds, and Mollys thoughts as part of a vital order. While Molly is the fleshy context for Bloom (and potentially Stephen), Wandering Rocks would be the same for Molly, making Dublin the true character of Ulysses, the center about which Molly orbits and about whom comet Bloom whirs about. But even these two may be wrong. Joyces obsessive-compulsive revising habit may have seen him toying with Rocks in various places, deciding that by dividing the book, the chapter holds up formalism (Telemachus-Scylla and Charybdis) and modernism/postmodernism (Sirens-Ithaca/Penelope), admitting of both and resolving neither.

Boselli 3 Works Cited Gordon, John. ""Wandering Rocks"" James Joyce's Metamorphoses. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1981. 62-64. Print. "Wandering Rocks." Wandering Rocks. Stockton College, n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2012.