Parallax as Structure

  • Bernard Benstock


From where she sits at her window Eveline Hill can watch ‘the evening invade the avenue’, hear ‘footsteps clacking along the concrete pavement’, and inhale the ‘odour of dusty cretonne’ (D p. 36). Leaning on the gunrest of the Martello tower in Sandycove, Stephen Dedalus sees ‘the fraying edge of his shiny black coat-sleeve’ (Te 101), and when he makes the effort of refocusing his viewpoint, he can glance across ‘the threadbare cuffedge’ (Te 106) to take in the sea that swells around him. No one has ever suspected Eveline of having impaired vision, although for a while some readers of Ulysses experimented with the idea that Stephen had broken his glasses quite recently and could not see much beyond that threadbare cuff. The sea that he sees, that ‘ring of bay and skyline’, has a greater inner reality for him, on one hand elevated by Mulligan to the realm of ‘great sweet mother’, and on the other hand redefined by Stephen’s memories to ‘a dull green mass of liquid’ that reminds him of the bowl which once contained ‘the green sluggish bile’ (Te 80, 107–9) his dying mother had vomited. Eveline’s thoughts at the window are also inner-directed: to the various recollections of her past life in the neighbourhood, in her family dwelling, and in the numerous instances of her life lived among the persistent smell of dusty cretonne.


Concrete Pavement Psychological Realism Freeze Rock Dead Shell Family Dwelling 
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Copyright information

© Bernard Benstock 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernard Benstock
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MiamiUSA

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