James Joyce

Influential writer of the 20th century


He was born on February 2, 1882 in Dublin, Ireland. His death came after an intestinal operation at the age of 59 on January 13, 1941. His father John Stanislaus Joyce was a heavy drinker who had emotionally checked out which I'm guessing must have been hard for James. At a young age he showed great intelligence and spent free time reading up on Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and Dante. His work focused on a "stream of consciousness" style that made him memorable. He wasn't afraid to try new methods and this gave novelist a catalyst to future great writings.


Mild fire of wine kindled his veins. I wanted that badly. Felt so off colour. His eyes unhungrily saw shelves of tins: sardines, gaudy lobsters’ claws. All the odd things people pick up for food. Out of shells, periwinkles with a pin, off trees, snails out of the ground the French eat, out of the sea with bait on a hook. Silly fish learn nothing in a thousand years. If you didn’t know risky putting anything into your mouth. Poisonous berries. Johnny Magories. Roundness you think good. Gaudy colour warns you off. One fellow told another and so on. Try it on the dog first. Led on by the smell or the look. Tempting fruit. Ice cones. Cream. Instinct. Orangegroves for instance. Need artificial irrigation. Bleibtreustrasse. Yes but what about oysters. Unsightly like a clot of phlegm. Filthy shells. Devil to open them too.


Joyce was a lot like McCandless or so it seems. Spending free time reading texts from Thomas Aquinas, Dante, and especially Aristotle can influence the young mind. And it's evident through joyce's writings and personality. McCandless read texts from Henry David Thoreau, Tolstoy, and Jack London and it was also pretty evident that they influenced him. This was a positive influence in my opinion, however, some may say that it was negative. A truly negative influence was both their fathers. Despite not being an alcoholic, Walt McCandless' love affair really took a toll on Chris and he kept that resentment with him.

I thought the excerpt from Ulysses was very spot on when it came to speaking about food and how it can be deceiving. Chris knew the difference between potatoes and the poisonous sweet pea-- the mold that grew on the potatoes is what killed him. Many people wanted to disregard him as an unexperienced romantic that was on a suicide mission, however, he was quite clever and his journey was his own. No one will ever fully understand what went through his mind and i think that's okay.

Connection: part 2

Krakauer included the quote "He was alone. He was unheeded, happy, and near to the wild heart of life. He was alone and young and willful and wildhearted, alone amid a waste of wild air and brackish waters and the seaharvest of shells and tangle and veiled grey sunlight." which joyce used to describe Stephen Dedalus to show sympathy for Chris. All throughout the book Krakauer sets Chris apart from the rest of the "Wild Seekers" in life. I think he does this like stated before to show sympathy or understanding of Chris's journey. The quote even though is used to describe a different person, perfectly describes Chris McCandless and who he was as a person.