Bloom Enters the Bed
To determine what has happened, Bloom reads the marital bed. But the value of what he discovers remains problematic because of the way it is presented to the reader. “Ithaca” persistently questions the reliability of disinterested rational enquiry, of decoding so-called empirical evidence. Yet the episode, in its dialogic relationship with “Penelope,” also mimetically enacts the way petitioner and respondent engage one another in divorce proceedings: the petitioner (Bloom) relying on questions that are intended to elicit the truth; the respondent (Molly) constructing a narrative she hopes will withstand questioning or, if it is dismantled, will justify her actions. This chapter concludes by reading Bloom’s good-night kiss as a legally informed strategy to forestall condonation and to preserve divorce as an option.