Ulysses: Novel Summary: Chapter Two – Episode 8

The Lestrygonians
Bloom sees a daughter of Simon Dedalus and thinks she may be selling off some old furniture. He believes he has had 15 children and goes on to criticize mentally the Catholic faith that promotes the idea of increasing and multiplying.
Later, he thinks of Hamlet and a fathers spirit. He watches the gulls as he feeds them with cake he has just bought.
Five men pass by and each is wearing a letter to spell out the company they are advertising – H.E.L.Y.S. This is a firm that Bloom has worked for previously and he sees it as ineffectual advertising. He compares this with another that he does not like, and which is referred to through the course of the novel. This was for Plumtrees Potted Meats and was placed under the obituaries as Cold Meat.
Bloom then stops to talk to Mrs Breen, whom he had been attracted to when younger, and she says how her husband is to sue the newspapers because of a card he received. This had the letters U.P. on it. At this point it is fully revealed (through Blooms thought processes) how Bloom and Martha know each other: he placed an advertisement for a lady typist.
He decides to eat and enters Burtons restaurant, but leaves because of the dirty eaters. He visits Davey Byrnes instead where he talks to Nosey Flynn. When Bloom visits the toilet, Flynn suggests Bloom is in the masons. Bloom leaves and Lyons tells the men that Bloom gave him a tip for the Gold Cup.
Outside, Bloom helps a blind stripling cross the road and thus demonstrates his kindness. He also considers what it must be like to be blind, as Stephen did earlier when closing his eyes to focus different perceptions. He worries that he has seen a man he knows (and it is implied he is Boylan). He feels safe when he reaches the gates of the museum.
The concern that Bloom show for others is highlighted in this episode as he notices and worries about a daughter of Simon Dedalus, feeds the birds, demonstrates his sympathy for Mrs Breen and helps the young blind man across the road. His interest in advertising is also brought to the fore in his references to the effectiveness of campaigns by H.E.L.Y.S and Plumtrees Potted Meats. As ever, the readers understands little of Bloom through his speech with others; it is by following his thinking that we appreciate this twentieth-century, modernist everyman.