Chapter Thirteen, Nausicaa
Narrative Focus: Bloom, Gerty
Characters: Bloom, Gerty MacDowell, Cissy Caffrey and Edy Boardman (her friends), Tommy and Jacky Caffrey (twins).
Setting: Sandymount Rocks, 8 PM.
Odysseus was washed ashore in the land of the hospitable Phaeacians after Poseidon wrecked his raft. The young princess Nausicaa and her maidens found him on the beach and, unkempt from his swim ashore, he frightened all but Nausicaa whom he pretended to mistake for a goddess (Book VI). Struck with admiration for the nameless hero, she conveyed him to the palace where Odysseus narrated the tale of his Great Wanderings (Book VII). Joyce’s maiden-meets-older-man-on-the-beach theme in this chapter is strictly Homeric; the treatment is not.
Bloom spends a quiet hour on the beach, presumably the same strand Stephen walked at 11:00 am, and watches “those lovely seaside girls” as they watch the evening fireworks display. While Gerty accommodates her harlequin-romance image of Bloom by leaning back to reveal her petticoats, Bloom masturbates.
The only chapter in which Joyce accords an extended interior monologue status to a peripheral character—Gerty.