When Molly thinks that taking Stephen's semen in her mouth wouldn't be so bad, "even if some of it went down," she searches for equivalents: "what its only like gruel or the dew." The first comparison seems apt enough, given watery oatmeal's color and texture, but why would Molly think of dew? It turns out that Joyce has made the association between semen and dew twice before, in Nausicaa and Oxen of the Sun, and arguably in A Portrait of the Artist as well. In all of these passages the linkage seems to be more intellectual than sensory: dew is refreshing and life-giving, and it has an affinity with intangible spiritual essences.

JH 2021


The Annunciation, 1432 tempera on wood panel by Fra Beato Angelico, held in the Prado Museum, Madrid. Source:

Green Gold Fireworks, a photograph by Garry Gay. Source: