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Read Oxen of the Sun

In the Maternity Hospital, Bloom runs into Dixon, the doctor who had treated him for bee sting a couple of weeks previously. Dixon invites Bloom to join him and some other medical students at a party within. There, Bloom again encounters Stephen, who leads a winding discussion about fertility, contraception, abortion, the rights of the mother versus those of the child, and the Church’s position on all of them. Bloom drinks but little, while the others get very drunk. All the while, Mina Purefoy labours in a room above, her cries and occasional admonishments from the nurses disrupting the party and dampening down its boisterousness. Mulligan appears again, with Haines the Englishman in tow; he will lose Stephen at the tram station en route to Nighttown later in the night, and not appear again. At last Dixon is called for: the baby boy is born, and the partying crowd rush out into the streets on their way to Burke’s pub for last call. “Oxen of the Sun” is divided into nine sections, each corresponding roughly to a month in the gestation of the human embryo. Stylistically, it is even more various, beginning with pre-English Latinate sentences, and proceeding through Anglo-Saxon alliterative lines, a range of medieval, early modern, reformation, eighteenth-century, gothic, sentimental, and realist styles before culminating in the apparent collapse of style altogether into nonsense with the arrival of the twentieth century.

Read “Oxen of the Sun” now.

Amanda Hansen

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