Soap is much on Bloom's mind on June 16. He buys a cake of it in Sweny's (the Irish manufacturer will be identified hundreds of pages later), and it sits in one of his pockets throughout the day, calling attention to itself from time to time. When he runs into a grimy acquaintance outside the pharmacy, he thinks, "Good morning, have you used Pears' soap?," quoting verbatim from the formula with which an English manufacturer relentlessly advertised its product. In Circe Bloom's bar of soap speaks, mouthing almost verbatim the jingle of still another brand, this one American: "We're a capital couple are Bloom and I.
 / He brightens the earth. I polish the sky." Lestrygonians and Ithaca also feature interesting interactions with soap. Collectively, these passages characterize Bloom's sense of self and evoke cultural messages about class, race, and empire encoded in some of the ads that he ponders.

John Hunt 2022

An 1891 ad for Brooke's Soap. Source:

1890 advertisement for Pears' soap. Source:

An advertisement for Pears' soap from the 1890s. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

An 1884 Pears ad based on the fable of "washing the blackamoor white."

An 1887 Pears ad depicting a British inscription on a rock in the Sudan.

An 1890 Pears ad from Harper's magazine. Source: