Calypso 0007


Calypso 0007

Once Bloom has served the cat he can return to the crucial question of kidneys, that delectable that held pride of place in the center of page 3. He decides to go to Dlugacz’s butcher shop for a pork kidney, a resolution that also appears in the center of the page here. A quick note: Dlugacz is Jewish. This will make for interesting discussion later.

The drama of Bloom’s breakfast choice leads into the larger drama of Molly’s desire: whether she “might like something tasty” has just as much to do with the ways the Blooms are or are not satisfied in their marriage as it does the morning meal. Here and elsewhere, we see Bloom thinking about how to best serve his wife; again, his taking on this role in a turn of the 20th century Irish kitchen seems potentially…unusual.

“She” remains off-stage, unknown, a little inaccessible, even as he thinks about how to please her: Bloom’s sideways glance as he thinks of her breakfast is moving us out of the kitchen towards the room where Molly slumbers.


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4 thoughts on “Calypso 0007

  1. Yes, it’s true. For all you Joyceheads out there looking to cook pork kidney for a holiday breakfast, Janine has given you a link for recipes. Calling them “delectable” still seems the most arguably point of the whole page, however.

  2. Well, personally, I eat meat, but I don´t like at all the idea of having kidney for breakfast and certainly not cooked like that. At least what my mother taught me, is that you need to leave it a couple of hours in vinegar to get rid of the urine scent.

  3. But Gabriela, soaking the kidney in vinegar would eliminate the fine tang of faintly scented urine – that’s the whole point of eating a kidney, right?

    On a more serious note, who has an opinion on what a kidney represents? We see its prominence here, but “kidney” doesn’t have an easy symbolic meaning, as, say the heart does in “Hades” and the lungs in “Aeolus.”

    Without looking anything up, kidney has a couple associations for me.

    First, in producing urine. The excretory system as a whole has a big role in this episode, so that ties in.

    Second, as being a sensitive place in the body. Often when people joke about being punched in the stomach, they talk about how painful it is to be hit in the kidneys. Presumably this happens in real life, but it happens I’ve never encountered this except in jokes. So it represents something sensitive in our bodies, our guts, something deep inside that can be hurt.

    Third, it’s something sensitive in our bodies – but it’s something we don’t interact with directly. That is, the kidney is a good representative of the unconscious functioning of our bodies that we have no conscious participation in. It represents work that our bodies do entirely on “their” own, without “our” help. (“Their” and “our” in parentheses, because really what is the division, what are the different identities in use here?)

    Fourth, they’re a little like testicles or ovaries and therefore get us thinking about sex a little bit. Just going to throw that out there, and I bet Joyce felt that way too.

    Kidneys also have something to do with production of adrenaline – but I know very little about that function, and it doesn’t represent anything significant. Although perhaps the most adrenaline-pumping moment in the chapter is when the Kidney is burning and Bloom runs downstairs. Maybe that’s an important connection?

    So here are my thoughts, with no conclusions. Enjoy!

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