Graduate Program


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Ruth Hoberman

Thesis Committee Member

Michael Loudon

Thesis Committee Member

Christopher M. Wixson


Ulysses can be read as a bar crawl; three episodes and part of a fourth are set in public houses, while various characters walk to and from drinking activities and establishments throughout the day. However, Ulysses' main character, Leopold Bloom, is an extremely moderate drinker and not considered "a regular" patron at any public house. His practicing of temperance is one example of how Bloom does not embody the typical Irish masculinity. However, the drinking culture in Ulysses has not been fully explored in context of the temperance movement which was an ongoing cause in 1904 Dublin despite Guinness's Brewery being the city's largest industry, occupying 40 acres and employing 3,000. Therefore, this thesis discusses how James Joyce, in his focus on drinkers in Ulysses, is reexamining his wholly negative depiction of paralyzed drunks in Dubliners and reacting against the moralistic judgment of the temperance movement. Due to his own sympathy towards, yet difficulties with, drinking, as well as Dublin's troubles with, yet reliance on, the industry, Joyce shows a complex relationship between drinking and Ireland in 1904. In Ulysses, drinking is so strongly tied to Irishness that a non-drinker (Bloom) cannot fully identify as an Irish man and is troubled to find male bonding without overindulging or treating. Yet Bloom does find a bond at the end, as he and Stephen share not alcohol but coffee then cocoa. Stephen then walks back out into the city having gained a father figure who exemplifies moderate drinking behavior based on logic rather than social reform. Thus, the conclusion shows hope for Ireland's move from the inebriated despair portrayed in Dubliners towards a more inclusive masculinity and temperate nationalism.