Alone, what did Bloom feel?
The cold of interstellar space, thousands of degrees below freezing point or the absolute zero of Fahrenheit, Centigrade or Reaumur: the incipient intimations of proximate dawn.
Ulysses James Joyce
This book can have such poignancy which seemingly flips into something comic. The loneliness of interstellar space, or is it just exaggeration? Do we laugh at Bloom or feel for him?
And this discussion of suicide in the Hades episode (note we learn later in the story that Bloom’s father committed suicide):
–The greatest disgrace to have in the family, Mr Power added.
–Temporary insanity, of course, Martin Cunningham said decisively. We must take a charitable view of it.
–They say a man who does it is a coward, Mr Dedalus said.
–It is not for us to judge, Martin Cunningham said.
Mr Bloom, about to speak, closed his lips again. Martin Cunningham’s large eyes. Looking away now. Sympathetic human man he is. Intelligent. Like Shakespeare’s face. Always a good word to say. They have no mercy on that here or infanticide. Refuse christian burial. They used to drive a stake of wood through his heart in the grave. As if it wasn’t broken already.
I have remembered that last line for decades: as their heart wasn’t broken already. And Bloom’s memory of his own father:
Thought he was asleep first. Then saw like yellow streaks on his face. Had slipped down to the foot of the bed. Verdict: overdose. Death by misadventure. The letter. For my son Leopold.
No more pain. Wake no more. Nobody owns.
How very alone in that moment as he is in the end of the story.