Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mornings at Home

Toward the beginning of Episode 4 (Calypso), James Joyce captures what life is like on the occasions when I wake up before my wife:
On quietly creaky boots he went up the staircase to the hall, paused by the bedroom door. She might like something tasty. Thin bread and butter she likes in the morning. Still perhaps: once in a way.
He said softly in the bare hall:
-- I am going round the corner. Be back in a minute.
And when he had heard his voice say it he added:
-- You don't want anything for breakfast?
A sleepy soft grunt answered:
-- Mn.
No. She did not want anything. He heard then a warm heavy sigh, softer, as she turned over and the loose brass quoits of the bedstead jingled.
This book can be so intimidating with its use of stream-of-consciousness and obscure references, that I think it's valuable to point out some of those moments that so sharply reflect human behavior in a way anyone can recognize. In other words, Man, do I not want to wake Kathy up when she's sleeping. But I'd hate to fix breakfast without her, too.


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