Chapter Seven, Aeolus
Narrative Focus: Bloom, then Stephen
Characters: Bloom, Stephen, Professor MacHugh, Myles Crawford.
Setting: The Newspaper Office, Mooney’s Pub, Noon.
Aeolus was a minor deity and keeper of the winds. Because Odysseus’ crew opens the bag of winds which Aeolus gave as a gift to ensure their journey, his ship is blown back to the island of Aeolus after coming within sight of Ithaca (Book X). Hence, a metaphor for the reversals of the winds of rhetoric.
Bloom arrives at the Evening Telegraph office to arrange an ad for the “House of Keyes.” While thus occupied, he narrowly misses Stephen, who arrives to place Deasy’s article. Conversation dwells on Moses and the exodus of the Jews from Egypt as a metaphor for Parnell’s failed bid for Irish independence and his betrayal. Stephen responds with his “Parable of the Plums” as a cynical paradox and rejection of the Irish/Israelite dream of freedom.
The journalistic headings and blurbs are only an obvious and satiric use of rhetorical devices—the chapter as a whole is an encyclopedia of classical rhetorical strategies (see Stuart Gilbert, James Joyce’s Ulysses for a listing).