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JJ#4 - Ulysses - Episode 2: Nestor

Updated: Apr 13, 2022

Guide to support Ulysses.


Red = Various Language Used and It’s Translation

Orange = Word Description

- = Guided Plot

Noted Characters:

Mr Deasy: Is modeled after Francis Irwin who James Joyce worked for for some time. He was the headmaster of the Clifton School in Dalkey. He has an angry white mustache and an illdyed head. This is Stephen’s boss which could be looked at like a father figure. An unwanted father figure. Deasy tries to give Stephen advice and press his views onto him. He is pro-British and anti-free thinker. Opposite of Stephen.

Stephen’s Students: Ones which are named: Talbert, Cochrane, Armstrong, Comyn, Edith, Ethel, Gerty, Lily, Cyril, Sargent, Halliday. This episode starts with Stephen teaching his class.


Private boys school in Dalkey. Roughly 1 mile away from the Martello tower. Mostly in Stephens classroom and his headmaster, Mr. Deasy’s Office.

Odyssey: In Book 2 - Telechemus faces his suitors in council and he refuses to be associated with them. He sets sail for the mainland in news of his father. Athena in disguise has come to help guide and mentor him. In book 3 Telemachus on the mainland, meets Nestor and is greeted by his youngest son Pisistratus. Nestor only knows that Odysseus’ homecoming will be hard. Affirming that Telemachus is coming into manhood and recites the history of the greek heron returning home. Recites what might be in store for Odysseus and Telemachus. Helen tells the story of Menelaus homecoming.

Nestor = Mr. Deasy

Pisistratus = Sargent

Helen = Mrs. O’Shea (Parnells Mistress turned wife)


Art: History

Color: Brown

Symbol: Horse

Technique: Catechism

Another Victory Like That And We Are Done For Pg. 30

  • This episode starts with Stephen teaching a history lesson. Tarentum is a city who asked Pyrrhus to bring him army for them (318-272 BC)

  • Stephen asks the boy where the battle was located. Stephen’s thoughts are of the boy:

  • Blank face starting back at him

  • Fabled by the daughters of memory is reference to William Blake’s “A Vision of the Last Judgement. Stephen is thinking now of apocalyptic alternatives that were proposed by Blake.

  • Pyrrhus was trying to resist the power of Rome, for Greece, which eventually failed.

  • Stephen thinks a memory changes the details of history. Fable vs. Allegory, knowledge is based on memory, all history is false. All based on perception.

Asculum - Location of the battle

  • “Another victory like that and we are done for” - Pyrrhus. Stephen thinks of that phrase and the scene where it may have been said.

A Disappointed Bridge Pg. 31

Armstrong - Modelled after Clifford Ferguson

Fig Rolls - Fig Newton Like

  • Stephen observes Armstrong and his surrounding

  • “A sweetened boys breath” - I just read a article on Joyce and homosexuality. Is this a reference to Joyce and his desires? Even to young boys? Controversial.

  • Stephen thinks that well off families are so proud of their child that goes into the navy.

Vico Rd, Dalkey - A well off, successful area.

Mirthless - Fake amusement (Malicious)

  • Armstrong answers Stephens questions badly and the class fake laugh. Stephen has an internal though about the high price they are paying the school while he lacks care and rule. Finds it ironic and comical.

Kingstown - Dunleary (2020)

  • Stephen makes more observations of his students at the back of the class. This is where where I read about this being a private boys school, why does Stephen name girls names in the back of the class?

  • Stephen calls a pier “a disappointed bridge” and thinks himself witty.

Deftly - Skillful

Weave, Weaver of the Wind Pg. 32

  • Stephen continues to run through thoughts. He thinks his pier being a disappointed bridge and how that is witty enough to make itself into Haines “chapbook”. Haines wants to make a book of all of Stephens witty sayings.

  • He then thinks of himself as a jester for his master. Haines/England. Here just to amuse his British master.

  • Back to Pyrrhus and all of history, if history is different would the memory of famous people had existed?

  • The infinite possibilities they have ousted - Aristotle Metaphysics - at any given moment in history there are a number of “possibilities” that can become “actual.” And once it becomes actual, all other possibilities for that given moment are “ousted”.

  • Weave, Weaver of the Wind - writing history

  • The class asks Stephen to tell them a ghost story.

  • Comyn & Talbot = random students

  • Stephen continues his thoughts on possible and actual - Aristotle

Thought is the Thought of Thought Pgs. 33-34

  • Stephen spent his time at the library of Stain Genevieve. Mostly at night, it was dimly lit, and he did his research on Aristotle there.

  • Thought is the thought of thought.

  • Pondering on “On The Soul” by Aristotle

  • Talbot continues reading

  • Berber the class leaves Stephen asks them a riddle - The fox burying his grandmothers under the holly bush.

  • The riddle has lots of biblical and Shakespeare references but doesn’t make any sense.

  • The students leave the class to play hockey - field hockey.

Whatever Else Is Unsure In This Stinking Dunghill Of A World, A Mothers Love Is Not Pg. 35

  • A student names Cyril Sargent approaches Stephen. He tells Stephen Mr. Deasy asked him to show Stephen his math problem, “sums”

  • Stephen asks if he knows how to do them? No.

Futility - Pointlessness or uselessness

  • Mr. Deasy is the headmaster and Stephens boss

  • Stephens thoughts take over again

  • He describes Cyril as ugly but someone have loved him - his mother.

  • Stephen computers him to a snail in the world. Useless trampled or worked over by everyone.

  • Cyrils mother loved him as his blood came from her own.

  • Stephen questions if love was real? The only true thing in life? (Reference to A Portrait Of The Artist as a Young Man - Cranly - “Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mothers love is not” “But whatever she feels, must be real”

Columbanus - Irish Monk who brought Christianity to Europe, left Ireland against will.

Rosewood & wetted ashes - Casket

- Cyrils mother cared and saved him from being trampled and sounds like she has passed away.

Love Of Mother Pg. 36

  • Stephen thoughts - sitting next to Cyril, thinking of the math used to prove Shakespeares ghost is Hamlets grandfather. (Hamlets grand son is Shakespeares grandfather - Pg 22.

Askance - with attitude, disapproval, or suspicion

  • Stephen imagines the symbols moving in a folk dance fashion across the page.

Morrice - Morris - English Folk Dance

Mummery - acted but costumed dancers

  • Averroes and Moses Maimonides - linked as they both looked to reconcile Aristotles paten-greek philosophy with other religions (Island & Judaism)

  • Mixes wondering from Animamudi, Plato, Tinacus.

  • All the while Stephen was helping Cyril work through his problem

amor matris - love of mother

  • Stephen then sees himself in Cyril, stating they are the same. Stephen has sloping shoulders and gracelessness.

The Little Savingsbox Pgs. 37-38

  • Stephen and Cyril conclude their lesson and Cyril gets with the others to play hockey.

Laggard - One who makes slow progress and falls behind others.

  • Mr Deasy has a white mustache

  • Deasy asks Stephen to wait for him in his study

  • He needs to pay Stephen - Odyssey - Nestor - Storehouse

Illdyed - Poorly dyed hair

- Stephen describes the study - “as it was in the beginning” - Stephen realizes the study is the same as it was when he started - reference to the holy trinity - “As it was in the beginning”

- Spooncase of purple plush - 12 apostles - 12 apostles given to children at christenings

  • Deasy arrives and pays Stephen and Stephen observes his desk.

  • Deasy’s savings box - handy

  • Shells - Beauty, power, St. James

  • Deasy tries to convince Stephen to buy a coin machine so he doesn’t lose his money.

Note: Page 55 of the Dublin edition - Is this a prelude to Finnegans Wake? And This, And This. The museum scene?

I Paid My Way Pg. 39

  • Stephen feels no purpose as he doesn’t ever have much money.

  • Stephen feels trapped with Deasy’s unless, to him, advice. “Three nooses round me here”.

  • Deasy lectures Stephen for his poorness - he doesn’t save

  • The same wisdom - Deasy = wild off counselor in Odyssey

  • Deasy - Money = Power - “Put but money in thy purse” - Shakespeare - Othello

Iago - Character in Othello

  • Deasy asks Stephen if he knows the proudest word from a Englishmans mouth? - Stephen thinks - “the seas ruler”.

  • Stephen thinks of Haines, looks at empty bag, history is to blame.

  • Stephen thinks of Haines as unhating - unkind - not all unkind

  • Stephen guesses - “The sun never sets”

  • Deasy states that’s not English, states that is a French celt said that, but this is untrue.

  • “I paid my way, I never borrowed a schilling in my life. Can you feel that? I owe nothing, can you ?”

We Are All Irish, All Kings Sons Pg. 40

  • Stephen rummages through everything he has borrowed

Brogues - untanned leather shoes

  • Deasy seems to be talking down to Stephen as he is better than him.

Tartan Filters - Kilt Outfit

Irish conservative party was deemed as old fogey and old tory type.

Orange Lodges - Organization which violently intimidated catholics

Prelates - High ranking members of the clergy

Fenians - Irish revolutionaries - Independence from Britain movement in 1860’s.

  • Stephen rummages through some history in his head

  • Deasy tries to relate to Stephens stereotype of a revolutionary.

  • Deasy = Protestant

  • Stephen = Catholic Nationalism

  • Deasy believes he is a descendant of Sir John Blackwood - “We are all Irish, All Kings Sons”.

Foot & Mouth Disease Pgs. 41-42

per vias rectas - by straight roads (latin)

  • Deasy states this was a motto of Sir Blackwood

  • Deasy goes on to explain Blackwoods ride to Dublin to vote for the Union

  • Deasy asks Stephen to take a letter for him, but he needs to finish the end.

  • As Deasy was finishing the letter, Stephen sat and observed the images and artifacts around horse racing of the time. He played races in his head.

  • Stephen recalls in A Portrait, Cranly took him to the race track “to get rich quick”

  • Stephen drifts off into the hockey field

  • Deasy is finally ready for Stephen, Explains his writing is about foot and mouth disease.

Laissez faire - free enterprise

Liverpool ring - 1850’s proposed Galway Harbor to transatlantic port; accidents occurred that were deemed sabotage, closed 1864

History Is A Nightmare From Which I Am Trying To Awake Pgs. 43-44

  • Stephen reads through Deasy’s writing

  • Deasy states he wants this article in the paper

  • There are quite a few fans statements in Deasy’s work and words

  • Deasy starts in with Anti-Semetic views

  • Believes Jews rule England

  • Show the nations decay - destroyers

  • Stephen thinks it’s not the Jews as England is already dead.

  • Stephen reviews poetry on during England in his head

  • Stephen rejects Deasy’s condemnation of the Jews. “A Merchant is one who buys cheap and sell dear.”

  • Deasy condemns the Jew Merchants “They sinned against the light” “You can see the darkness in their eyes.”

  • Stephen challenges Deasy’s views

  • “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake” - Stephens challenge to Deasy. Saying all history has negative insight. England taking over Ireland as example.

  • Deasy rebuttals “All human history moves towards one goal, the manifestation of god"

I Am Happier Than You Are Pg. 45

  • Stephen states “That is god” referencing a shout in the street.

  • God is a shout. Not dismissing Deasy’s religious belief, but suggesting that if Divinity exists it must be understood in a radically imminent way. Not waiting in the goal for humanity to finish its race but surging through the excited bodies on the field.

  • Deasy’s response is stupid and unintelligible, almost childish.

  • Deasy blames woman for bringing sin into the world (Adam & Eve) Was there adultery in Deasy’s past? To blame them? He reviews history of sinful woman of the world.

  • Stephen thinks of the protestant union rally cry from 1870-1890’s

For Ulster will fight

And Ulster will be right

  • Deasy states he believes Stephen will not be a teacher for long.

Because She Never Let Them In Pgs. 46-47

- Deasy gets back to his article he wants published - in both the Telegraph and Irish Homestead

  • Stephen agrees to try to get them in the paper and leaves.

  • The environment is described as Stephen leaves.

  • He thinks he will help Deasy, even though he doesn’t think he deserves the help. This portrays Stephen is still weak and a pushover.

Couchant - lying with the body resting on the legs and the head raised (of a animal)

  • He thinks of Mulligan keeping him honest, calling him a bullockbefriending bard. Due to Stephen agreeing to help a bullock = ass, to get his article published. Maybe Mulligan, even as arrogant as he is, is honest and that father figure guiding him to keep him honest and not as much of a pushover.

  • Deasy starts to run after Stephen. Deasy stops him and tries to justify he isn’t anti-semitic possibly? “Ireland has the honor of being the only country which never prosecuted the Jews. (Untrue) Jews were prosecuted in Limerick - 19th & 20th century

  • Deasy explains why: “Because she never let them in”

  • What is Joyce saying of teachers of this time? Growing the new population of children.

Nestor Reflections:

Establishment of who Stephen is as a person. We saw in Telemachus that he is a pushover. His friend/acquaintance take advantage of him. Now going into his work, he doesn’t really stand up for himself. But we do see some moments of comments to portray his views and start the evolution to push back. Maybe this is the first step in Stephen finding his voice.

We start to see the witty side of Stephen. My favorite line is comparing a pier to a disappointed bridge. Comical. Also we see how much he doesn’t care about being a teacher, and finds it funny he is teaching at a high cost public school. And how ironic is is that these parents think their kids are getting a better education, but an education with a teacher who doesn’t care.

His boss, Mr. Deasy takes some digs at him. Basically tells him how un-responsible he is, because he doesn’t save. Mr. Deasy is arrogant, similar to Buck. But I start to see that maybe Stephen respects Buck a little more, in comparison to Mr. Deasy. Maybe Buck is keeping Stephen honest, and that father figure to push him to be better for himself. Don’t let everyone walk all over him. When Stephen agrees to help his arrogant headmaster, Bucks voice comes into his head, making Stephen question what he is doing helping his headmaster get published. He realizes his flaws and admit them, with the criticisms of Buck in his mind.

What is Joyce saying about the private schools and the ideals of the headmaster here. Does this represent society that is toxic that Joyce has run away from? Joyce has exiled himself from Ireland, yet most of his writings revolve around Ireland and I feel if you dig deeper, he is taking digs at the Ireland he doesn’t like in these characters. The arrogance and confidence in statements that are untrue remind me of current day politics. Donald Trump and his followers. The uneducated nature of these folks, but how confidently they speak about topics. As they feel they have a voice and understand the nature of the current world. But how in the dark they really are. This reminds me of a passage in Mein Kampf:

People in the world fall into 1 of 3 categories:

  1. Believe everything they read

  2. Don’t believe anything they read

  3. Critically minded examines and judges accordingly.

#1 is the largest group, simple minded, neither born or trained to think independently, lazy

#2 smaller in number, betrayed by realizing lies in media, no trust, hate, rage, hard to handle and lost

#3 smaller - logically rational, understand news is opinion and perspective

Wisdom is nothing, number is everything.

I feel this is represented here in Ulysses and in James Joyce’s life. With these groups of people, it is very hard for the members in group 3 to live with group 1. And since group 1 is the majority, there is a lot to deal with. I would categorize Joyce in this Group 3. With Mr Deasy in this episode, absolutely a group 1. He mentions many of false comments during this chapter and states so confidently. This person is teaching the future of the world. How scary can that be. One of the many reasons Joyce left Ireland?

During modern times, each persons view can fluctuate based off the skewed media they follow. So many of Trump followers latch on to the same concept and preach it like they are an expert. I do know this happens on both sides, but in my life and how extreme Trump and his followers are, this is a perfect example.

Currently Russia is at war with Ukraine. Trump followers are latching on to rising gas prices and criticizing the Biden administration for this. This is due to the media they pay attention to and not the research that they should be doing. Again, speaking for the majority here. This is the main discussion among these folks. Previous it was how COVID was handled. This is embarrassing and unfortunate people cannot think for themselves. They don’t understand how little power a president has on gas prices. Yet this is always the topic of discussion. Because it’s what affects them. The self entitlement they criticize is right there in the mirror. Money talks, use your money in the right places.

Photo By Brandon Nicklaus

Literary Works of Interest:

William Blake - The Last Judgement - (1810)

William Blake - The Marriage of Heaven and Hell - (1790)

Aristotle - Poetics - (335 BC)

John Milton - Lycidas - (1638)

Aristotle - On The Soul - (350 BC)

Shakespeare - OThello - (1603)

Arthur Griffith - United Irishman (Irish Nationalist Newspaper) - 1899-1906

William Blake - Auguries of Innocence - (1803)

Karl Baedeker - Paris And It’s Environs - (1907)


Jackson, Hugh. "Partisan Policies Didn’T Raise Gas Prices, And Partisan Sniping Won’T Lower Them". Nevada Current, 2022,

Gifford, Don, and Robert J Seidman. Ulysses Annotated. Univ. California P., 1992

“The Joyce Project : Ulysses : Nestor:. M.Joyceproject.Com,

Hitler, Adolf, 1889-1945. Mein Kampf. Boston :Houghton Mifflin, 1999.

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