Chapter Five, The Lotus-Eaters
Narrative Focus: Bloom
Characters: Bloom, Martha Clifford (in writing), minor characters encountered on his errands.
Setting: Post Office, Church, Public Bath, 10 am.
The land of the Lotus-Eaters was one of a perpetual sensual languor induced by eating the lotus flower (Book IX; see also Tennyson’s poem for brief exposition of the theme and of Odysseus’ escape).
Bloom visits the post office, where he picks up a letter addressed to him as “Henry Flower” from Martha Clifford (pseudonym, “Driscoll”), his pen-pal/mistress. Visits church, pharmacy, and public bath.
Images of artificial torpor and flowers (“lotus”) are rampant here: e.g., the description of Bloom’s genitals in the final paragraph.