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Intellectual Leopold Bloom Versus Intellectual Stephen Dedalus
Did Bloom discover common factors of similarity?
between their respective similar and different reactions
Both were sensitive to musical artistic impressions
with preference to the plastic or pictorial. The two favorites
a continental to insular way of life, a transatlantic one
to a transatlantic place of residence. Both induced
by early domestic training and an inherited tenacity
of heterodox resistance professed their disbelief
many religious, national, social and ethical orthodox
doctrines Both admitted the stimulant alternately
and obtuse influence of heterosexual magnetism.u 586)
The previous quote from Ulysses represents with great precision some of the similarities and dissimilarities of the two protagonists of the novel. Thus, James Joyce himself seems to be interested in comparing these two together. Although Joyce replaces the two names with Stoom and Blephen to suggest the possibility of their final unification of souls, at the same time he believes in their individual differences. He reveals this through a question and answer in the novel: “which two temperaments did they individually represent? The scientist. The artistic” (u 603). Bloom represents, in Joyce’s view, a logical, fatherly figure with mixed feminine emotions for the children. He is not an academic or a man with formal education. His education as Blades also notes is “simple, basic” and he is actually a “self-educated” man (125). One of his friends, for example, notices that Bloom buys a book on astronomy and considers it to be Bloom’s intellectuality and his difference in thoughts and beliefs. On the other hand, Stephen who represents the artist is usually a young man with an academic background. The language he uses is definitely different from Bloom’s, despite some similarities of his ideas to some extent. Sheets inside How to study James Joyce mentions this main difference quite cleverly as follows:
Where Stephen’s inner monologue clearly reveals his
erudition, in its sophisticated academic sequence
allusions, Mr. Bloom’s tends to be errant,
unfocused, accumulating perceptions one on top of the other
in an agglomeration of material. In general, the contents
of Bloom’s monologue most often arise from
your immediate environment. It is characteristic
speculative and most often focuses on people and
objects Its component units tend to be shorter than
Esteban (Sheets 127)
Joyce again within the novel emphasizes that “although they did not see eye to eye in everything, there was a certain analogy, as if the two minds were traveling, so to speak, on the one train of evil.”u 577).
Edward Said opens his famous book Representations of the intellectual when giving Antonio Gramsci’s definition of intellectuals. According to Gramsci, all people could be considered intellectuals, but only some of them have the role of intellectuals in society. Regarding this definition, both Bloom and Stephen could be classified as intellectuals. Furthermore, given Said’s illustration of intellectuals as well, both Bloom and Stephen retain some intellectual characteristics.
Leopold Bloom, the kind-hearted, considerate, self-educated Dublin Jew represents some intellectual signs. Bloom’s consideration for other people’s ideas is basic. This is what Molly mentions in her final soliloquy, comparing Bloom’s behavior to Boylan’s. Also, Bloom means love, mutual love and understanding. Consequently, he believes in the equality of all people, of any religion or race. In this way, he definitely resists against the authoritarian powers, from his very weak position, of course. This “speaking the truth to power” and resisting “injustice” and cruelty is among the intellectual representations that Said mentions. Also, another prominent feature of Bloom’s personality is his tolerance. He declares that it “represents the union of all, Jews, Muslims, and Gentiles” (462). What he longs for are somehow utopian and reformist ideals rather than murder and omission. This is what an intellectual should wish for human societies; Union of all, without superiority of any race or nationality over others. Furthermore, his definition of a nation “the same people living in the same place…or also living in different places” (22-3) shows his open and democratic view of the differences between nations. Obviously, it rejects all traditional definitions of, say, nation, race, country, or religion, because most of these traditional definitions tend to be pious and biased. Bloom fervently advocates not only a united nation, but is sternly against racism of any kind. He states, “it is patently absurd to hate people because they live around the corner and speak another vernacular, so to speak” (u 563). Despite his vulnerable position in Dublin, as a Jew and of Hungarian origin, he speaks for international freedom, love, religious unity and justice. He is not easily swayed by the conservative and prejudiced mass ideas of most Dubliners. According to Said, Bloom could be an intellectual, because of his struggles to preserve his individuality. Another important factor about Bloom, with respect to Said’s views on intellectuals, is the fact that he cannot be easily classified into existing defined groups. Break down “stereotypes and reductive categories.” According to Howes, the reader will admire Bloom’s kind wishes for all and his universality and “understand that the ‘big words’ of this universalism have a historical, troubling and often hidden relationship to violence, both imperialist and nationalist” (263). So Bloom could be a single Everyone intellectual Bloom is one of those intellectuals who do not have an intellectual role in society, but his enlightening ideas and views are understandable to simple men. He is not one of those intellectuals lost in a world of jargon and professionalism, who demand translation and interpretations to understand his words.
The other intellectual in exile is young Stephen Dedalus. He is known as one of the most radical young intellectuals of modern times. The revolutionary Stephen Dedalus questions and denies the simplest questions accepted by most people: “paternity can be a legal fiction. Who is the father of any child that any child should love him or he of any child?” (u 207). This is added to Stephen’s rejection of all the traditional networks of Irish life: family, religion and nationality. The maverick Stephen Dedalus, like Bloom, fights very hard to retain his individuality and independence. The difference is that Stephen has fervent ambitions to fulfill his artistic ideals, while Bloom does not seem to demand something for himself. Stephen is, according to Said, one of those intellectuals who “will not conform to domesticity or routine” (17). Accordingly, Stephen as an intellectual figure confronts “orthodoxy and dogma” and tries to “break down stereotypes and reductive categories.” Therefore, a young, modern intellectual like Stephen is not “fit for domestication” (16). In addition, Stephen is against authoritarian symbols and professes the individual liberation of thought and action. According to Said, the main career of an intellectual is related to education e freedom.
In Ulysses, Joyce introduces two different types of Dublin intellectuals and makes them meet. Joyce seems very excited and interested in their meeting. Compare them repeatedly. Joyce declares “though they did not see eye to eye in everything, a certain analogy there was, somehow, as if the two minds traveled, so to speak, in one thought” (u 577). The main difference between the intellectual ideas of these two protagonists comes from the difference between their personalities. One of them represents the artist and the other the scientist. One is more radical and emotional, the other more logical and future-oriented with paternal affection towards the younger artist. One is a further formation of academic intellectuals whose specialized vocabulary to express their ideas is definitely different from the simple words of the “Everyman” character. Of course this categorization is not absolute, because Joyce mentions in the novel “there is a touch of the artist about Bloom” (u 234) and Stephen “proves by algebra that Hamlet’s grandson is Shakespeare’s grandfather and that he himself is the ghost of his own father” (u 24). Edward Said believes that a critic who is what he calls a “public intellectual” must “refuse to be locked into the narrow professional specializations that produce his own arcane vocabulary and speak only to other specialists” (u 35). In this sense, Bloom is more of a “public intellectual” than Stephen; While Stephen is sometimes stuck in “narrow professional specialization”. However, young intellectual Stephen is acclaimed throughout Dublin society. This connotes the fact that Stephen’s language is not so professional to them. However, he is more of an academic intellectual compared to Bloom, the symbol of Everyman.
Seamus Dean in an article in Semicolonial Joyce also mentions that the contrast between the two protagonists is one of the main dynamic elements in Ulysses:
The contrast between the abstract and the speculative Stephen e
the physically immersed Bloom is one of the guiding characteristics
of the initial episodes. Eating, drinking, urinating, defecating,
belch and fart, bathe luxuriating in hot sensations
and taste, smell and smell, sexual fantasy and longing, is Bloom
based to a comically outlandish degree in the world of
body, of the city-world and its streets, of the stereotype of
the sensual moyen man. With comparable emphasis, Stephen
belongs to the world of the theoretician-intellectual who longs for a world
bewildered by the physical and the sexual, where the self can
achieve a purity of origin that radically distinguishes it from
common or dominant forms of society. (Dean 32-33)
However, although there are some differences between the personalities of Bloom and Stephen, as mentioned by Joyce himself, there are also certain similarities, such as their isolation and dislocation in Dublin. Their life of exile and isolation in Dublin life is, of course, the result of various reasons, but they were exiled from ordinary society. The similar feature that links these two post-colonial peoples as intellectuals in exile is their insistence on preserving their individuality and independent opinions, each in their own personal style. Sherry also mentions this difference in an interesting way,
Bloom’s language provides such an expansive use and
complete (and inaccurate) like his Everyman character
; this sense of the word is manifestly at variance with it
of the neo-scholastic Stephen, who is a (successful) lover
or not) of linguistic precision, and whose words seek a
meaning as comprehensive and well defined as the individual
fable in the myth of the solitary and transcendent artist
Daedalus (Jerez 85)
Joyce’s two protagonists Ulysses they are living a life of exile in colonial Dublin; both experience physical, as well as spiritual, exile at home. In his day trip around Dublin there are some implications of his search for a surrogate father and an adopted son. The feeling of loneliness, alienation, miserable family life of Bloom and Stephen and some distinctive intellectual traits in their treatments, as well as an oppressive colonial life at a deeper level, sends Stephen and Bloom to a marginal position, in which they choose a life of exile .
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