The Secret of Ulysses: An Analysis of James Joyce's Ulysses

By Rolf R. Loehrich | Go to book overview

24. MAN'S STATUS IN EXISTENCE

Man, thrown upon this earth, is inexorably driven to protect himself from life in many ways. He may attempt open rebellion, or he may attempt escape, but he will succumb to an ever-increasing frustration in pain and mental agony. If he wishes to escape the agony he has to accept the challenge by overcoming his own anxiety and facing the dangers of mental deaths towards the one goal which may be described: in terms of biology as adjustment (often misinterpreted as an adjustment towards the outside only), in terms of therapeutics and mental hygiene as health, emotional freedom, creative potency, maturity (often misunderstood as healthy animality), in terms of ethics and morality as the good life (often misinterpreted as bourgeois customs), in terms of religion as atonement and salvation by faith (often sentimentalized as an emotional state of hysteria).

Man may argue against life but life will be stronger. Man may philosophize about life but if the philosophies are wrong, life will demonstrate to him the futility of the intellect and the absurdity of thought-acrobatics. Intellectual activities are tools and as such, means not ends. Correctly directed they lead man towards an ever-increasing self-awareness and to the control of his environment outside and inside, but are always limited by the existential status of man.

What is this goal which man does not select by chance or by choice but with which he finds himself confronted? Towards the outside sphere it may be referred to as the state of manhood, intellectual and emotional maturity, creativity and creative power in body and mind. Towards the sphere of dreams it may be referred to, as all religious founders have described it, as a state of childhood, the acceptance of the lex eterna as the submission of the creature. Joyce asserted that it is by gaining this state of childhood and returning to the womb of the QUEEN, the ETERNAL MOTHER -- as experienced by the dreamers Stephen and Bloom -- that man gains the state of

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The Secret of Ulysses: An Analysis of James Joyce's Ulysses
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Table of Contents vii
  • List of Tables ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • 1. the Secret 1
  • 2. the Intent 4
  • I - The Interpretation 7
  • 3. the Action 9
  • 4. the Continuity of the Story 13
  • 5. Episode 15 24
  • 6. the Contending Power Groups 55
  • 7. the Lex Eterna 61
  • 8. the Other Dimension 73
  • II- The Code with Joyce 83
  • 9. the Riddles 86
  • 10. Cette Fichue Position 94
  • 11- the Eternal Parents Misjudged As Unfaithful 98
  • 12. the Unfaithfulness of Man 104
  • 13. the Riches of Life 110
  • 14. the Manifestation of God 115
  • III- The Aesthetic Form Of Ulysses 123
  • 15. the Artistic Intent 125
  • 16- the Aesthetic Media: The First Framework 128
  • 17. the Hidden Plot 129
  • 18- Deflections from the Hidden Plot To the Aesthetic Media 132
  • 19. the Changing Viewpoints 136
  • IV- Existence for Joyce 139
  • 20. Fiction or Discovery? 141
  • 21- Bona Fide Dream-Reports And Secondary Thought Elaborations 143
  • 22- Psycho Therapeutics -- the Way Of Atonement 167
  • 23. Guilt -- Infantile and Existential 176
  • 24. Man's Status in Existence 184
  • Index 189
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