Now 2023 Previous Articles Road Essays Road Reviews Author Black Authors Title Source Age Genre Series Format Inclusivity LGBTA Portfolio Artwork WIP

Recent posts

Month in review

Alphabet Adventure by Audrey Wood
The Angel of Darkness by Caleb Carr
Angels of Interstate 29 by Donald James Parker
Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel
Beyond Another Door by Sonia Levitin
The Boy Who Would Live Forever by Frederik Pohl
Chiggers by Hope Larson
Choosing to Be by Kat Tansey
The Comical Tragedy or Tragical Comedy of Mr. Punch by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean
The Curandero and the Swede: A Tale from the 1001 American Nights by Daniel Abraham
Doctor Who and the War Games by Malcolm Hulke
Dragons, Dragons by Eric Carle
Epitaph for a Peach by David Mas Masumoto
Feng Shui in Your Garden by Roni Jay
Glad Monster, Sad Monster by Anne Mirand and Ed Emberley
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
That Hell-Bound Train by Robert Bloch
The Host by Stephanie Meyer
Jellaby Volume 1 by Kean Soo
Kosher by Design Lightens Up by Susie Fishbein
The Last Valentine by James Michael Pratt
Life Sucks by Jessica Abel, Gabe Soria and Warren Pleece
Jesus Swept by James Protzman
Overexposed: The Price of Fame by Eliot Tiegel
Quickstone by Marc Laidlaw
Rich Brother, Rich Sister by Robert and Emi Kiyosaki
The Secrets of a Fire King by Kim Edwards
Unstrung Zither by Yoon Ha Lee
A Very Hairy Scary Story by Rick Walton
The View from on High by Steven R. Boyett

Episode 6: Hades: Agent Caitlin 'Kate' Todd
Episode 7: Aeolus: J. Jonah Jameson
Episode 8: The Laestrygonians: Earl's Court to Islington
Episode 9: Scylla and Charybdis: If I Had a Hammer

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

Beat the Backlist 2023

Canadian Book Challenge: 2022-2023

Chicken Art

Privacy policy

This blog does not collect personal data. It doesn't set cookies. Email addresses are used to respond to comments or "contact us" messages and then deleted.

Ulysses: Episode 9: Scylla and Charybdis: If I Had a Hammer: 04/25/09

Between a Rock and a Hard Place...

The ninth episode of Ulysses called "Scylla and Charybdis" takes its name from the two monsters who block the narrow strait that Odysseus and his crew must pass to get home. It's also the inspiration for the expression "between a rock and a hard place" which brings me to my choice of last week's episode, "If I Had a Hammer..." on CSI.

Episode 9 is also in terms of episode numbers the halfway point of Ulysses but like Don Quixote there is still 2/3 of book left. I expect the remaining episodes to get steadily longer.

This episode takes place entirely in a library. Stephan (whom I've compared to Kif) takes center stage again and engages in a lengthy argument over Shakespeare, his life, the meaning of his plays and most specifically, Hamlet. Most specifically, they argue about fathers and sons vs. mothers and sons. Stephan explains: "The son unborn mars beauty: born, he brings pain, divides affection, increases care. He is a male: his growth is his father's decline, his youth his father's envy, his friend his father's enemy." (pgs 207-8)

If I had a hammerThe way time changes the relationship between fathers and sons is a theme of The Odyssey, Ulysses (to a lesser degree) and to "If I Had a Hammer." Odysseus's son was an infant when he left for war and is now in his twenties. Part of Odysseus drive to get home despite all the obstacles is his desire to see his son before he loses any more of his son's youth. In Ulysses the theme is more complex as adults, some of them parents are also still children to their own parents. Some have parents who have died (Stephen and Bloom) and still feel like children in the eyes of their dead parents. Then in "If I Had a Hammer" we have the playing out of Stephan's quote as the evidence unfolds the truth behind the crime and Clint Owen's motivations.

Clint (Charybdis) and Sabrina (Scylla) Since most of Episode 9 is from Stephan's point of view, I think the person here stuck "between a rock and a hard place" is Stephan. He sees himself like Hamlet torn between familial duties and larger responsibilities, though what those larger ones are isn't clear yet. In "If I Had a Hammer" the person caught in the middle is Catherine Willows who has her first solo case from 1991 unexpectedly reopened. The man, Clint Owen, convicted of a homicide during a robbery wants his case reexamined claiming innocence.

Clint, like the water belching Charybdis, never shuts his mouth. He is a talker and a provoker. On the other side of the case the evidence now points to Serina who like Scylla is a beautiful but dangerous woman. Scylla is depicted as having dogs heads around her body and Serina is introduced surrounded by her teenage children who bark at from the car that they will be late to practice if Jim Brass doesn't leave.

Next Saturday I'll post my thoughts on Episode Ten: The Wandering Rocks. If you want to read along, Ulysses is available online at Read Print

Comments (0)


Lab puppy
Email (won't be posted):
Blog URL:

Twitter Tumblr Mastadon Flickr Facebook Facebook Contact me

1997-2023 Sarah Sammis