I’ve been reading Ulysses, which I’m finding quite a task to get through. No matter. Joyce’s prose is wonderfully visual. I’ve read some other works by Joyce, but Ulysses is turning out to be a masterpiece – I must admit. I was a bit skeptical a first, because I often find when people praise a book, touting it as some great piece of literature, I end up not feeling the same. Ulysses, however, is very probing and worth the read.
Anyway, this post isn’t about Ulysses – or James Joyce, for that matter – but about a line which one of Joyce’s principal characters, Leopold Bloom, says (or, thinks about, more technically) about the death of his father.
No more pain. Wake no more. Nobody owns.
I wonder what you think about this brief prose on death. To me, I find it expresses a sort of freedom. Freedom from suffering (i.e. No more pain). Freedom from the exhausting routine of life (i.e. Wake no more). Freedom from the tension of living in many and unmitigated relationships with others, who constantly place obligations upon you and your person (i.e. Nobody owns).
It’s terse and to the point. In this death, one finally has the opportunity for their labors of finitude to resolve into “quiet” and “restful” nothingness. The idea of an afterlife would impose upon this – whether it were heaven, hell, or some other post-this-life state of affairs.
Anyway, I just thought this line was interesting and profound.
I’m sure you would want more context to make an assessment of this line. Nevertheless, I ask you: How does it strike you? Do you like this Bloomsian vision of post-this-lifeness or do you prefer an afterlife? If you’ve read Ulysses, what things caught your eye?