Lotus Eaters

Like Stephen's second chapter, the second of Bloom's three morning chapters shows him outside of his domicile, making his way in the world of human society. In another echo of Nestor, the time frame is approximately 9:30 to 10:30 AM. The episode that Joyce called "Lotus Eaters" begins the saga of Bloom's daylong journey through Dublin with a sustained meditation on drugs and other tactics for avoiding reality, inspired by some two dozen lines of Homer's poem in which several of Odysseus' men fall under the spell of a narcotic plant and must be forcibly re-conscripted. In the context of what he has learned about Molly and Blazes Boylan in Calypso, this analogue has clear application to Bloom.

JH 2018

Bloom's progress from the end of Calypso to the start of Hades: his home on Eccles Street (blue arrow), Sir John Rogerson's Quay where Lotus Eaters begins (orange), and Paddy Dignam's house in Sandymount (red), shown on a simplified map of Dublin drawn by Hanni Bailey. Source: Chester Anderson, James Joyce.

"And dream idle, happy day-dreams that never ended" [sic], W. Heath Robinson's illustration of Odysseus' men on the island of the lotus, in Jeanie Lang, Stories from the Odyssey Told to the Children (London, 1906). Source: Wikimedia Commons.

18th century French engraving, by an unknown artist, of Odysseus forcefully leading his men away from the land of the lotus. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The question marks inscribed by Bloom's feet in Lotus Eaters, on a map from Joyce's day and on one from today. Source: ulysses.bc.edu.