White button

Calypso wastes no time introducing the reader to one of Leopold Bloom's more striking psychological peculiarities: his unusually strong interest in excrement and the anus. He appreciates the strong, rich flavors of internal organs but "Most of all" kidneys because they smack of "faintly scented urine." The admirably "Clean" appearance of his cat does not preclude, or even conflict with, his noticing "the white button under the butt of her tail." At the end of the chapter he reflects on the great usefulness of manure for fertilizing gardens and even cleaning leather gloves—"Dirty cleans"—before calmly contemplating his own bowel movement and urination. Each of these details might be regarded on its own as simply a realistic feature of Joyce's depiction of the ordinary contents of consciousness, but the book will slowly build a complex picture of anal eroticism and its attendant psychological dispositions in Bloom.

John Hunt 2013

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