English 334: Joyce

Paper topics, papers #2 and #3.


More topics may be added to this list.  If you decide to write on something other than a topic I provide, including creative topics, please clear it with me first at least 4 days before the due date.  


1.  Explore one of the following concepts/metaphors as it appears in Ulysses.  You are encouraged to focus as much as possible; feel free to limit yourself to one chapter, or a very particular metaphor (snotgreen instead of green, etc.)




dogs (&/or foxes)

butter (&/or milk)







2.  What does Bloom carry in his pockets and why might those items be important?  Why might it be important that they're in his pockets?


3.  Pick a chapter of the book; examine its style, Odyssean correspondences, topical concerns, etc.  What reading practice--that is, what modes of reading and/or interpretation--does Joyce seem to be espousing or at least presenting in that chapter?


4. Examine the heresies of Arius, Valentine, and Sabellius (see in particular the notes in Gifford, p. 26).  Why is Stephen so interested in heretics?  Which kind(s) of heretic does Stephen seem to be?  How does that help us to understand the text?


5.  There are many texts to which Ulysses aludes--King Lear, Hamlet, the Bible, the Odyssey, Irish ballads, Plato's Symposium, Yeats poems, operas, etc.  Examine one of the allusions in context; how is Joyce (and/or the character) using the text?  What is the point of the allusion?  What does the allusion suggest about the relationship between Ulysses and the text to which it alludes? Given the length of the paper, you should probably focus your inquiry very narrowly.


6.  Does the final chapter of Ulysses provide closure for the text?  How?


7.  In what ways are ghosts important to Ulysses?


8.  Is Joyce providing a critique of language in Ulysses or Finnegans Wake?  What kinds of relationships does language facilitate?


9.  Open Finnegans Wake to any page.  Try to find meaning in that page.  Then discuss the strategies you used to find meaning.