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JJ#7 - Ulysses - Episode 5: Lotus Eaters

#7 Lotus-Eaters

Guide to support Ulysses.


Red = Various Language Used and It’s Translation

Orange = Word Description

- = Guided Plot

Noted Characters:

Tom Kernan: This character first appeared in Dubliners in “Grace”. He has a mustache in which he could twirl the ends. He is a drunk that fell down some stairs and was unconscious in a bar. Hit bit part of his tongue off. He is described as a “commercial traveller” (Salesman). He was never seen in the city without a silk hat and a pair of gaiters. He worked a London, E.C. on Crowe Street. He comes off as a man who has a negative attitude towards many things in life. Talks down about people. He lives on Glasnevin Road. He has a wife and three children. (2 girls and 1 boy). His friends convince him to convert and go to a Catholic retreat. He was originally Protestant but converted to Catholic at the time of his marriage. But hasn’t been in a church for 25 years. In Grace, he kept getting referenced as an “invalid”. (Grace, Dubliners) In Lotus Eaters, Bloom thinks of getting some tea from Tom Kernan, a tea merchant.

C.P.M’Coy: First seen in “Grace” in Dubliners. He was one of the three men plotting to cleanse Tom Kernan of his alcholism. He was a reputable tenor at one time. His wife was a soprano and still teaches children to play the piano. He has worked in many jobs. Clear in the Midland Railway, a canvasser for advertisements for The Irish Times and for The Freeman’s Journal, a town traveller for a coal firm on commission, a private inquiry agent, a clerk in the office of the Sub-Sheriff, and recently secretary to the City Coroner (Dubliners, Grace). In Ulysses, Bloom really tries to avoid him as he seems to be annoyed by him.

Holohan: This character first appeared in Dubliners in “A Mother”. He works for an Irish cultural society and arranges series’ of concerts. He has a game leg and they call him hoppy Holohan. He develops a flirtatious relationship with Mrs. Kearney. In Ulysses (Lotus-Eaters), when M’Coy is talking to Bloom, he mentioned that Holohan told him (M’Coy) about Dignams death.

Bob Doran: This character first appeared in Dubliners in “Boarding House”. In Dubliners, he was trapped into marriage and tries to escape by booze. Doran is simply mentioned in this episode by M’Coy. He tells Bloom that he is on “one of his periodical bends.”

Bantam Lyons: This character first appeared in Dubliners in “The Boarding House. In Dubliners, Bantam was mentioned that if instead of Doran, Bantam would be much more difficult to trick into marriage. In Ulysses, Bloom tries to give a paper to Lyons, so he could read up on the horse race, The Gold Cup. Blooms notices his “yellow blackmailed fingers”.

Mrs. M’Coy: First mentioned in “Grace” in Dubliners when describing Mr. M’Coy. She was a soprano and still teaches children to play the piano. She is mentioned in the same temperament here. M’Coy is finding a common ground to speak to Bloom about his wife, since they are both singers.

Bob Cowley: He is a father, deemed a spoiled priest. His dedication to the church is questionable.

Location: 1-1/4 Miles roughly South-East from Blooms Residence. Enters Swenys Pharmacy.


Odysseus and his men escape from Calypso Island to Scheria, Book 6. Book 7-8 he is entertained by King Alcinous’s Court. Book 9, he recounts his years of voyage. Early in his voyage he and his men driven by storm to the land of the Lotus Eaters “Who live upon that flower” Some of Odysseus’ men ate the lotus and longed to stay forever, forgetting their homeland. Odysseus took his enchanted men back to the ships and set sail.

Bloom has left his house and approaching Westland Row Post Office. He wanders towards the baths and other locations throughout the city.


Organ: Genitals

Art: Botany-Chemistry

Color: None

Symbol: Eucharist

Technique: Narcissism

A Card Behind The Headband Pgs 111-113

  • Bloom walks along the south bank of the Liffey. He walks us through town with sights and thoughts.

  • “Card behind the headband” is a card he put in his hat to retrieve mail. His pseudonym name. (Henry Flower)

Dolce far niente - sweet do-nothing; inactivity (it)

  • Bloom references the Sri Lanken ethnic group of “Cingalese” These people are inactive and even slept 6 months of the year. This is a direct connection to The Odyssey. Odysseus’ men in a trance from the Lotus Flowers.

Azotes - Nitrogen (fr)

  • Bloom contemplates Archimedes principle and laws of gravity.

  • Blooms Alias is Henry Flower, Esq.

  • Bloom arrives at the post office to pick up mail under his fake name.

Queen Was In Her Bedroom Pgs 114-117

  • Bloom leaves the post office after seeing and contemplation of a military recruiting poster.

  • He reached for the letter to make sure it was secured and opens it inside of his jacket.

  • Bloom sees M’Coy and wishes to avoid him but cannot. M’Coy talks about how he found out about Dignam’s death at Conways grocery.

  • Bloom seems to want to get away from M’Coy fast. He seems annoyed by him and doesn’t care for him very much. M’Coy comes off as a talker that doesn’t have a sense of personal space.

Espirit de corps - spirit of the body (fr)

  • After M’Coys long story, which Bloom doesn’t seem to pay attention to much, M’Coy turns and asks about Milly. Mrs. M’Coy is a soprano and sings like Molly. (Queen was in her bedroom, Blooms inner thoughts of Molly during this conversation)

  • M’Coy flakes out on Dignam’s funeral and asks Bloom to put his name down. Bloom see’s M’Coy as one who takes and doesn’t pay back.

  • Is Bloom anxious to avoid M’Coy due to his letter or due to his dislike?

Poor Papa! Pgs 118-119

  • M’Coy blames his lack of attendance at the funeral due to a drowning case at Sandycove. He is the secretary of the coroner.

  • Bloom jokes M’Coy didn’t catch him not paying attention. Calls him a wheeze. (Fake, Gag)

  • Bloom continues to stroll and recounts the M’Coy conversation. Then bounces through thoughts: An advertisement he sees, turns into Ophelias suicide to thought of his dad (died by suicide), then memories of his dad at the theatre, then to the day he died.

  • Bloom passes a cab stand with horses eating. He doesn’t seem to think much of horses and their intelligence.

Dear Henry… Naughty Boy Pgs 120-121

- Bloom takes the letter out of his pocket and slips it into the newspaper, he is holding, to keep it hidden.

Voglio e non - I want to + I wouldn’t like to

  • Bloom opens the letter within the newspaper. Dear Henry… naughty boy. Martha writes Henry (Bloom) and is his dirty little pen pal. She knows he has a wife and even asks for the kind of perfume she wears.

  • There is a flattened flower in the letter -> Lotus Flower? -> He took it out and smelled it, no smell, put it in his pocked.

  • Is Bloom like Odysseus’ men, attracted to these flowers where they forget their home? Does Bloom need an Odysseus to pull him home? Stephen? His dead son Rudy ?

  • Angry Tulips = Dangerous Pleasures, Symbolism of flowers to certain things. Roses = Love & Beauty.

  • Bloom things through the letter and dreams of the possibilities.

Orangeflower & Lemony Wax Pgs 122-131

  • Bloom thoughts continue to bounce all over. Pulled the pin from the flower, finds funny women and their pins, to a memory of prostitutes, to a song.

  • Bloom tosses the pin and the ripped up the envelope on the road.

  • Bloom thinks through the Guinness brothers being wealthy from beer.

  • Bloom arrives at All Hallows -> Andrews Roman Catholic Church and watches what appears to be a mass. His mind continues to wander.

Quis est homo? -> Who is the man - or - who is there? (latin)

  • Bloom stands up and walks out. Notices two buttons were not buttoned on his waistcoat.

  • It’s 10:15 and he heads for Sweaty’s Pharmacy prior to the funeral.

Peau d’Espagne - Spanish Skin - (fr)

  • Bloom places his order for a prescription and buys lemon soap, which he places in his pocket.

  • Bantam Lyons stops Bloom to talk with hime. Bloom attempts to give him the paper to read about the horse races.

A Languid Floating Flower Pgs 132-133

  • After giving Lyons the paper, Bloom heads towards the Turkish Baths.

  • He imagines entering the baths like a languid floating flower (Odyssey)

Lotus-Eaters Reflections:

We start to get to know who Bloom is a bit more in this episode. We are introduced to Bloom’s dirty little secret. He has a secret pen pal, Marta, which his uses a pseudonym name to retrieve letters from a post office. Bloom is excited by this dirty talk. This makes you wonder what is physical relationship with Molly is and why he needs to resort to this type of excitement. We already know Molly is cheating on him, or feel she is cheating on him with her manager. Bloom seems a bit simply minded and intrigued by the world. The two main men in his life are gone. His father and his son. Is Bloom searching for his home, but lost in the lotus flower? Does he need his Odysseus to come save him? Is that man Stephen? Do they need each other?

Referenced Works:

Percy Bysshe Shelley - “The Sensitive Plant” - (1820)


Gifford, Don, and Robert J. Seidman. Ulysses Annotated: Notes for James Joyce's Ulysses. Univ. of California Press, 2009.

Joyce, James, and Laurence Davies. Dubliners. Wordsworth Editions Limited, 2013.

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