Ulysses’ Dog Images

July 11, 2019 by Essay Writer

If we examine Ulysses for the use of animals, we soon realize that Joyce draws on an extensive bestiary which includes basilisks, wrens, pigs, eagles, hyenas, panthers, pards, pelicans, roebucks, unicorns, dogs, bats, whales and serpents among others. All the beasts included in Ulysses carry symbolic meaning which is closely linked to the characters themselves and to the circumstances they are in. Interestingly enough, not much has been written about Joyce’s imagery as far as animals are concerned. There are some interesting journal articles but they do not go beyond analyzing porcine, cattle and horse images in Ulysses. Rather than covering a wide range of beasts and their meanings, this paper will focus on the analysis of canine imagery throughout the book and will attempt to unravel its meaning in the story.The first evident observation when dealing with dog images is the recurrent use of the word dog and its derivatives throughout the book. Take for example, Chapter 1 (Telemachus) where Buck Mulligan, who was shaving himself, kindly calls Stephen “dogsbody” (112) before asking him how the secondhand breeks fitted him. According to Gifford, this was a colloquial use of the term for a person who does odd jobs, usually in an institution. Joyce also plays with the inversion of the word God/dog in Chapter 15 when in Bloom’s hallucinations the voice of all the damned say “Htengier Tnetopinmo Dog Drol eht rof, Aiulella!” (4708), Adonai utters “Dooooooooog!” (4710) and then the voice of all the blessed pronounce the phrase in the correct way “Alleluia, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth!” (4712) and Adonai calls “Gooooooooood.”The word dog is also used in phrases such as the one Rudolph uses when scolding his son in Chapter 15. He tells Bloom: “one night they bring you home drunk as dog after spend your good money.” (267). Bloom himself uses the phrase “dog of a Christian” when, in his dream, he orders to shoot Leopold M’Intosh (1563)There are so many examples like the ones above-mentioned that no list can be exhaustive. However, the purpose of the present work is not to deal with the use of the word dog, but rather with “flesh and bone” dogs, their effects on the characters and their possible meaning and contribution to the story.In order to start analyzing their meaning in Ulysses, I will first make reference to what the Dictionary of Symbolic and Mythological Animals says about the subject of my study. According to this dictionary, there is evidence that the dog was domesticated in 7500 BC. It is not only the oldest animal companion of humanity but also has the widest range of uses in friendship, guarding, hunting and herding.Notwithstanding its use in symbolism and myth, it is ambivalent, revered and a close companion in some societies and despised and execrated in others. It can also be either a solar or lunar animal. Solar dogs chase away the Boar of Winter. They are fire-bringers and masters of fire, destroying the enemies of light.Lunar dogs are associated with Artemies, Goddess of the Moon and of the hunt. They are intermediaries between moon deities.Apuleius says that “the dog… denotes the messenger going hence and thence between the Higher and Infernal powers.” It is a guardian of the underworld, attends on the dead and leads then to the next world.Plutarch says dogs symbolize “the conservative, watchful, philosophical principle in life.” They embody qualities of fidelity, watchfulness and nobility; they are also credited with psychic powers and the dog is often a culture hero or mythical ancestor.In Sumero-Semitic symbolism, the significance of the dog varies. It is evil and demonic. The Semitic antipathy towards the dog was carried over into Judaism where, except for in Tobit, where Tobias has a dog companion, the dog was held in contempt as unclean and a scavenger and was ritually taboo (Matthew 7:6), associated with whoremongers (Deuteronomy 23:18) and sorcerers, fornicators and idolaters (Revelation 22:15)In Graeco-Roman myth the dog is again ambivalent, the term “cynic”- that is, “dog-like”- is derogatory and implies impudence and flattery. Homer says the dog is shameless, but on the other hand, it is associated with Aesculapius or Asclepios the skilled physician and healer, and the dog also heals by rebirth into life. Its fidelity survives death.It also accompanies Hermes/Mercury as messenger god – presiding wind and the Good Shepherd.The dog is important in Celtic myth and appears frequently with hunter-gods. Dogs are associated with the healing waters. They are also psychic animals connected with divination and they are frequently metamorphosed people in Celtic lore.In Christianity the dog represents fidelity, watchfulness and conjugal fidelity. It is also depicted with the Good Shepherd as a guardian of the flock and in this aspect can also symbolize a bishop or priest.In the Bestiaries dogs typify sagacity, fidelity and priests as watch dogs since they drive away the trespassing Devil and protect the treasures of God.Dogs appear frequently in Heraldry, esp. in England (greyhounds, bloodhounds and foxhounds)The Black Dog, a huge, shaggy ghost-dog with fiery eyes is a frequent theme in haunting and is usually a portent of death; it can be harmless if not touched, but to touch it is to die.Having this background information in mind, we will observe that Joyce has attached to the Ulysses’ dogs the symbolism of more than one culture.In chapter 3 (Proteus), the first real dog appears. In fact, the first dog Stephen notices is a dead dog: “A bloated carcass of a dog lay lolled on bladderwrack.”(286) He observes the surroundings, noticing “the gunwale of a boat, sunk in sand.” He draws a parallel between the sand and the language and realizes the importance hidden underneath: “These heavy sands are language tide and wind have silted here.(…). Hide gold there. Try it. You have some. Sands and stones. Heavy of the past.” Thus, this first dead dog seems to be symbolic of the metaphorical death of the beauty of language which, though a valuable asset, is hidden in the past. As Gifford points out in his note 9.953, according to Robert Graves, in Celtic mythology the dog’s epithet is “Guard the Secret.” Therefore, this dead dog may have been the faithful guardian of language.Stephen soon sees another dog: “A point, live dog, grew into sight running across the sweep of sand.”(294) This dog doesn’t trigger meditation; on the contrary, Stephen is rather afraid of him: “Lord, is he going to attack me?” (295) He seems to receive God’s response in no time “Respect his liberty. You will not be master of others or their slave.”(296) Such an answer does not bring any comfort to him. He checks his stick and sits tight until he runs back to the two figures who are walking along the shore. Stephen remarks that the “two maries tucked it safe among the bulrushes” (298) He has witnessed something he was not supposed to see. Then, the dog as the guardian of the women’s secret discovers that Stephen has been watching. “The dog’s bark ran towards him, stopped, ran back.” (310) In this case, Stephen “just simply stood pale, silent, bayed about. Terribilia meditans.”(311) It is in that moment that he starts thinking about the man who had drowned nine days before and he imagines himself in that situation and reflects upon such a terrible death. Gifford suggests that Stephen envisions himself as Acteon who, because he interrupted Diana while she was bathing, was transformed into a deer or roebuck. It is also a traditional symbol of the hidden secret of the self. In Celtic mythology its epithet is “Hide the Secret.” Likewise, Stephen will not reveal the secret to the reader. Then, there approaches a woman and a man’s dog called Tatters. He “ambled about a bank of dwinding sand, trotting, sniffing on all sides. Looking for something lost in a past life.” (331) Then, “the man’s shrieked whistle struck his limp ears. He turned, bounded back, came nearer, trotted on twinkling shanks.”(333-334) This illustrates the dog’s obedience and loyalty towards the human being. As Gifford states, Stephen then translates the dog on the beach into the language of heraldry: “On a field a tenney a buck, trippant, proper, unattired”(337) tenney: orange or tawny; trippant applied to a stag when walking; proper: in natural colors; unattired: without antlers (unusual in heraldry because it would imply impotence). The dog then “halted with stiff forehoofs, seawardpointed ears. His snout lifted barked at the wavenoise…” (243) He, as a messenger, seems to be attentive to any message coming from the ocean. It is after this moment that Tatters discovers the dead dog. “The carcass lay on his path. He stopped, sniffed, stalked round it, brother, nosing closer, went round it, sniffling rapidly like a dog all over the dead dog’s bedraggled fell. Dogskull, dogsniff, eyes on the ground, moves to one great goal.” (248-249) The dog seems very interested in his discovery; this dog is humanized and he calls the dead dog “brother.” He inspects him closely and shows sympathy towards him. He adds: “Ah, poor dogsbody! Here lies poor dogsbody’s body.” If we remember what Mulligan called Stephen in the first chapter, we may assume that Stephen has almost transmuted into Tatters and that he observes the dead dog as his own carcass. So much so that the citation reads “sniffling rapidly like a dog.” (248) This may be the burial of his former self and the beginning of something new since he has his “eyes on the ground” meaning that he is inspecting the territory, examining his past, and he “moves to one great goal.” (249) Maybe a new Stephen will arise out of his deep meditation. Joyce may be employing the Celtic symbolism of metamorphosis here.Tatter’s owners call him back and kick him for having been smelling the old dog. Stephen has not been discovered by the dog this time. Tatter’s “hindpaws then scattered the sand: then his forepaws dabbled and delved. Something he buried there.” (359-360) Stephen remembers the riddle of the fox that is burying his grandmother and he thinks Tatter is doing the same. Once more, though not told, this image may reflect Stephen digging in his past and remembering his mother’s funeral.In chapter 6 (Hades), we are first shown the image of Mr Bloom’s dog. He is taking him to the Dog’s home and on the way he thinks about poor children, illnesses and death. When he gets there, he says: “Dogs’ home over there. Poor old Athos! Be good to Athos, Leopold, is my last wish. Thy will be done. We obey them in the grave. A dying scrawl. He took it to heart, pined away. Quiet brute. Old men’s dogs usually are.” (125-128) Gifford explains that the Dog’s home was maintained by the Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The home advertised its interest in strays and proclaimed: “The diseased painlessly destroyed.” He adds that Bloom’s father’s dog was apparently named after one of the three musketeers (Aramis, Athos, and Porthos) from Alexandre Dumas pere’s (1802 – 70) popular novel “Les trois musquetaires.” (Paris, 1844) According to Gifford, we can establish a comparison with The Odyssey since when Odysseus first approaches his manor house he weeps at the sight of his old dog Argos, “abandoned” on a dung heap outside the gates. The dog struggles to greet his master, “but death and darkness in that instant closed/ the eyes of Argos, who had seen his master/ Odysseus, after twenty years.” Joyce, in this case, shows not only Athos as being respected and honored by his owner, but also the intimate links human beings are capable of creating with animals.After dealing with the image of a dead dog, we move to another death when we read about Paltry’s funeral which is connected with the canine imagery through the use of the word “dogbiscuits.” The narrator describes the funeral saying: “It’s all the same. Pallbearers, gold reins, gold reins, requiem mass, firing a volley. Pomp of death. Beyond the hind carriage a hawker stood by his barrow of cakes and fruit. Simnel cakes those are, stuck together: cakes for the dead. Dogbiscuits. Who ate them? Mourners coming out.” (499-503) Gifford clarifies the meaning of dogbiscuits, stating that they are called that not only because simnel cakes are hard but also after the Aeneid, when the sibyl guiding Aeneas into the underworld throws “a morsel drowsy with honey and drugged meal” to the three-headed dog Cerberus. This dog imagery is sustained by the fact that Father Coffey is described as “Bully about the muzzle” (596) and “with a belly on him like a poisoned pup” (599) as if he were Cerberus. Joyce may be employing Christian symbolism in this case.In chapter 12 (The Cyclops), the reader encounters a large dog named Garryowen. This dog is more menacing for Bloom, and what is worse, Garryowen is in allegiance with Citizen, who, in spite of not being his owner, feeds the dog biscuits. It is an intimidating dog that inspires no mercy on any of the pub attendants: “The bloody mongrel let a grouse out of him would give you the creeps. Be a corporal work of mercy if someone would take the life of that bloody dog. I’m told for a fact he ate a good part of the breeches off a constabulary man in Santry that came round one time with a blue paper about a licence. (124-127) In fact, they want to get rid of him. His mere name, according to Gifford, has many connotations since Garryowen is a suburb of Limerick famous for its squalor and for the crudity and brutality of its inhabitants. Such characteristics can easily be applied to this dog, who in spite of doing nothing frightens the men who are in the pub. Garryowen is also the title of an Irish drinking song and also a famous Irish setter who was owned by J.J. Giltrap of Dublin. In turn, Old Giltrap’s: Gerty McDowell’s maternal grandfather. So there may be a remote connection between the dog and Bloom and Gerty’s “affair” in the sense that this dog, with the psychic power attributed to his species, may know in advance Bloom’s intention when seeing Gerty. This may also provide an explanation for Bloom’s fear of the dog and for the dog’s growling at Bloom.The Citizen, in contrast, befriends this dog and is portrayed as his master: “A couched spear of acuminated granite rested by him while at his feet reposed a savage animal of the canine tribe whose stertorous gasps announced that he was sunk in uneasy slumber, a supposition confirmed by hoarse growls and spasmodic movements which his master repressed from time to time by tranquilising blows of a mighty cudgel rudely fashioned out of Paleolithic stone.” (200-205) When Bloom enters the pub Old Garryowen starts growling again at Bloom. The Citizen mocks Bloom and says: “Come in, come on, says the citizen. He won’t eat you.” (399) Bloom enters but the dog keeps smelling him all the time. He has no merciful feelings towards the dog, he thinks the Citizen should “get a new dog Mangy ravenous brute sniffing and sneezing all round the place and scratching his scabs. And round he goes to Bob Doran that was standing Alf a half one sucking up for what he could get.” (284 -289) Bloom even disapproves of Alf for “trying to keep him from tumbling off the bloody stool atop of the bloody old dog and he talking all kinds of drivel about training by kindness and thoroughbred dog and intelligent dog: give you the bloody pip.” (291) Even when Garryowen is eating the biscuits can we hear Bloom complaining “Gob, he galloped it down like old boots and his tongue hanging out of him a yard long for more. Near ate the tin and all, hungry bloody mongrel.” (294-295) He is even more irritated when “the old dog seeing the tin was empty starts mousing around by Joe and me. I’d train him by kindness, so I would, if he was my dog. Give him a rousing fine kick now and again where it wouldn’t blind him.” (698-699) Bloom’s negative side is seen when the dog is near him. The Citizen mocks him again.: “-Afraid he’ll bite you? Says the citizen, jeering.” (700) Bloom tries to justify himself by telling him that the dog “might take (his) leg for a lamppost.” (702) There is such an intimacy, such a communion between the Citizen and Garryowen that when he calls the dog he “starts hauling and mauling and talking to him in Irish and the old towser growling, letting on to answer, like a duet in the opera. Such growling you never heard as they let off between them.” (705-706) Bloom instead thinks that the dog should be muzzled and describes him as “growling and grousing and his eye all bloodshot from the drouth is in it and the hydrophobia dropping out of his jaws.” (709-710) Bloom then imagines the dog as “Arsing around from one pub to another, leaving it to your own honour, with old Giltrap’s dog and getting fed up by the ratepayers and corporators. Entertainment for man and beast.(252-253)When the Citizen leaves the pub, he throws an empty can to Bloom and says:”- Did I kill him, says he, or what?And he shouting to the bloody dog:- After him, Garry! After him, boy!” (1903-1905)That is the last time they see the Citizen and the dog. However, something amazing happens just after the evil characters leave: “When, lo, there came about them all a great brightness and they beheld the chariot wherein He stood ascend to heaven. And they beheld Him in the chariot, clothed upon in the glory of the brightness… And they beheld Him even Him, ben Bloom Elijah, amid clouds of angels ascend to the glory of the brightness.” (1910-1917)A possible interpretation for this is that once evil, represented by Garryowen as the Black dog hereinabove mentioned, disappears, Bloom is able to ascend to a higher level. All his aggression will be left behind and we will see a more tolerant Bloom when he encounters dogs in chapter 15.In Circe, David Hayman says Joyce seems to have taken the whole book, jumbled it together in a giant mixer, and then rearranged its elements in a monster pantomime which includes every imaginable form of foolery but which may well be the most serious chapter in the book, a true rite of passage. Joyce makes no clear distinction between minor hallucinations and the normal surface and even introduces improbable elements into the characters’ hallucinations. As a result the visions and identities of Stephen and Bloom are blurred, universalized, mythicized; the components of their days are intermingled, so that their fates may momentarily be joined.Bloom is walking along the red-light district and, in his hallucinations, dog imagery is also present. First, he is approached by a dog with his “tongue outlolling, panting.” (632)When he is considering to “Go or turn? And this food? Eat it and get all pigsticky. Absurd I am. Waste of money. One and eightpence too much,” (358) a “retriever drives a cold sniveling muzzle against his hand, wagging his tail,”(359) and Bloom, unlike in Chapter 12, wonders about the fact that he is liked by dogs and he thinks, “Strange how they take to me. Even that brute today.” (660). He sees Garryowen and says, “Better speak to him first.” (661) He goes to him and thinks, “He might be mad. Dogdays.” Bloom is, “Uncertain in his movements.” But he tells him, “Good fellow! Fido! Good fellow! Garryowen!” The dog’s response is very different now: “The wolfdog sprawls on his back wriggling obscenely with begging paws, his long black tongue lolling out.” Bloom thinks it is the, “Influence of his surroundings.” (665) Then, Bloom, “calling encouraging words he shambles back with a furtive poacher’s tread, dogged by the setter into a dark stale stunk corner. He unrolls one parcel and goes to dump the crubeen softly but hold back and feels the trotter.” (666-669) He shares his food with the dog who, “mauls the bundle clumsily and gluts himself with growling greed, crunching the bones.” (672) In that moment, two watchmen approach silently and tell Bloom:”First watch: ‘Caught in the act. Commit no nuisance.'(stammers) Bloom: ‘I am doing good to others’Bloom: ‘The friend of man. Trained by kindness.'” (680-685)We can see a complete reversal in Bloom’s attitude towards the dog. He seems to have learnt the lesson about training dogs by treating them kindly. Somehow, this setting, though certainly not an ideal one, has benefited Bloom. However, he is caught by the watch who are working for the “Prevention of Cruelty to Animals” (668) as the second watch explains to Bloom.When Bloom meets Stephen, there is a dog bark heard in the distance. This, shared by both of them, makes them become one, blurring their individual differences. The narrator tells us that “Stephen (murmurs), “…shadows… the woods… white breast… dim sea” (4941-4942) Then he “stretches out his arms, sighs again and curls his body. Bloom, holding the hat and ashplant, stands erect. A dog barks in the distance. Bloom tightens and loosens his grip on the ashplant. He looks down on Stephen’s face and form. (4944-4948) Bloom thinks Stephen’s face reminds him of, “his poor mother. In the shady wood. The deep white breast (…) (he murmurs)… swear that I will always hail, ever conceal, never reveal, any part or parts, art or arts….” (4950) Bloom is described as being, “silent, thoughtful, alert he stands on guard, his fingers at his lips in the attitude of secret master,” (4956-4957) and in that moment Rudy appears. Bloom in this final scene is also transformed into a watchful dog who will take care of the drunken Stephen as he did with Rudy. In this case, Joyce draws upon Plutarch’s dog symbolism since Bloom is the embodiment of fidelity, nobility and watchfulness.As Neil Russack stated in “Inner City books. Animal Guides in life, myth and dreams. An Analyst’s notebook,” humans and animals are capable of a deep and healing intimacy with one another. In Bloom and Stephen’s cases, their contact with dogs and their identification with them has been highly beneficial. Both of them, Stephen in Chapter 3 and Bloom in Chapter 15, seem to have developed a new self through the canine imagery. Without them knowing it, dogs change and refresh their lives. These dogs can be considered as solar animals in that they fire up Stephen and Bloom’s hearts.Joyce, besides depicting dogs as performing two of their basic roles, namely friendship and guarding, draws on the symbolism of different cultures to give his images a deeper meaning.BibliographyDictionary of Symbolic and Mythological Animals. Gifford, Don, and Robert Seidman. Ulysses Annotated. Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1989.Hayman, David. Ulysses: the mechanics of meaning. New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, 1970.Joyce, James. Ulysses. New York, First Vintage Books Edition, 1986.Russack, Neil. Inner City books. Animal Guides in life, myth and dreams. An Analyst’s notebook.Toronto, 2002.Schutte, William M. Index of Recurrent Elements in James Joyce’s Ulysses. Illinois, Southern Illinois University Press, 1982.

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