Sunday, March 23, 2014

Page 27 (2.98-133) "A riddle... Futility."

editions: [1922] [html] [arch] [$2] [$4]
notes: [Th] [G&S] [Dent] [wbks] [rw] [images] [hyper]
Delaney: [64] [65] Useen: [11] [11b] [12] [13] [14] [map] [*]
Delaney: [63]

— A riddle, sir? Ask me, sir.
— O, ask me, sir.
— A hard one, sir.
— This is the riddle, Stephen said.

The cock crew,
The sky was blue:
The bells in heaven
Were striking eleven.
'Tis time for this poor soul
To go to heaven.
What is that?

(the punctuation is tricky because one speaker supplies three consecutive paragraphs)

the riddle is almost word for word from PW Joyce: [etext]
"Riddle me, riddle me right: What did I see last night? The wind blew, The cock crew, The bells of heaven Struck eleven 'Tis time for my poor sowl to go to heaven. Answer: the fox burying his mother under a holly tree."

'my poor sowl' hints it's the mother speaking

SD's substitution of blue sky for blowing wind, and omission of 'last night', makes it less spooky-- 11am not pm.

— What, sir?
— Again, sir. We didn't hear.

they're not sure they heard correctly

Their eyes grew bigger as the lines were repeated. After a silence Cochrane said:
— What is it, sir? We give it up.
Stephen, his throat itching, answered:
— The fox burying his grandmother under a hollybush.
He stood up and gave a shout of nervous laughter to which their cries echoed dismay.

'itching throat' normally implies thirsty, but here it could mean eager to speak, or nervous about speaking. he exorcises it by laughing. (cf? "A flush which made him seem younger and more engaging rose to Buck Mulligan's cheek". SD is almost as young as the boys)

cf "the fox burying his mother under a holly tree" [etext]
(hollybush and hollytree are equally common)

a sort of ghoststory, it shows SD to be still an awkward boy himself, quoting folk nonsense.
the fox-image (SD's self-image?) will be expanded to "A poor soul gone to heaven: and on a heath beneath winking stars a fox, red reek of rapine in his fur, with merciless bright eyes scraped in the earth, listened, scraped up the earth, listened, scraped and scraped."

A stick struck the door and a voice in the corridor called:
— Hockey!
They broke asunder, sidling out of their benches, leaping them. Quickly they were gone and from the lumberroom came the rattle of sticks and clamour of their boots and tongues. 

"lumberroom" = for storage of furniture, etc [cite]

Delaney: [64]
Sargent who alone had lingered came forward slowly, showing an open copybook. His tangled hair and scraggy neck gave witness of unreadiness and through his misty glasses weak eyes looked up pleading. On his cheek, dull and bloodless, a soft stain of ink lay, dateshaped, recent and damp as a snail's bed.
He held out his copybook. The word Sums was written on the headline. Beneath were sloping figures and at the foot a crooked signature with blind loops and a blot. Cyril Sargent: his name and seal.

reminiscent of little SD in PoA1
schemata say Sargent = Pisistratus, Nestor's son, Telemachus's friend
'dateshaped' is a real descriptor, but sometimes used for turds
"snail's bed" is unique and literally meaningless
'sums' indicates SD teaches some math as well as history and literature
'blind loop' is a technical term for describing bad handwriting, where a loop that's supposed to be open is accidentally closed [cite] (but also an intestinal obstruction)

Delaney: [65]
— Mr Deasy told me to write them out all again, he said, and show them to you, sir.
Stephen touched the edges of the book. Futility.

'edges' to avoid ink smears? 'futility' because no matter how hard Sargent tries, he'll never be able to compete???

why did Deasy divide their labor this way? was he rechecking a copybook that SD had accepted? or was it just a question of timing, that Deasy had set the original lesson and would have checked the repeat assignment except that the timing meant SD would be available first?



[DD 00:25-02:58]

[IM 08:14-10:24]

[LV1 07:55-09:53]

[LV2 06:09-07:45]

nestor: 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36

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