Although we will give Mulligan a few points for making breakfast, he is clearly not someone you want to be around when you have a hangover–the singing, the wiseassery, the smoke, the high energy, the bossing around (“Kinch, wake up”)… like an annoying frat brother. I’m starting to see him as a slightly more sophisticated version of Will Ferrell’s “Frank the Tank” in Old School.
Gifford glosses the candle business as a joke about female masturbation, which is all well and good, but I’m not quite sure what it adds to our understanding of what’s going on. It does recall the travesty of the mass we were talking about a few pages ago, and which will come back as he serves the eggs.
I love the detail of Stephen sitting on his upended valise–it’s in the text, but I never really noticed it before. In Richard Ellmann’s famous biography of Joyce, he occasionally talks about Joyce’s habit of using suitcases as desks when he wrote at home–sitting in a chair with a suitcase in his lap. Joyce’s family was always on the move when he was a boy–always on the move, avoiding landlords and other creditors. That Stephen doesn’t have a chair says something about his status in the household, but it also tells you that he’s ready to go.