Thursday, November 1, 2012


There are no worthy excuses for why this post is late.

Whenever Dr. Stuber divided us into groups in order to discuss some specific reoccurring images, I found the book's fascination with sheep to be especially compelling and was disappointed that we didn't have the time to share our close reading and observations with the class. Some of the thoughts that I'm about to share were formulated much through the ideas of my other group members so it's only fair to offer them a little credit.

I think it's very helpful to preface with the fact that Molloy actively calls himself a "creature" because it easily invites us to compare him with animals that the text presents. On page 36-37, Molloy strikingly states, "I don't smell like a sheep, I wish I smelt like a sheep". In expressing his desire to smell like a sheep, it is difficult to not see Molloy as very self-deprecating and lacking in confidence, potentially considering his own smell so repugnant that it falls below that of a sheep. If examined in other light, however, it is instructive to unpack stereotypical characterizations of sheep to complete our comparison. Traditionally, sheep mostly have a negative connotation, coming off as unimpassioned, mindless followers of their shepherd. Because Molloy desires to be more like a sheep (even to the extent that he might be emulating them on pg. 35 - "I ate a little too, a little grass"), we must consider what about their existence or lifestyle may be appealing to him. A certain comfortable, guaranteed purpose and acceptance is implicated in the fact that sheep primarily exist in groups and are very goal-oriented. This could be reiterating his estrangement from society or his struggle to understand its meaning.

Because Molloy also provides narration detailing the sheep's "bad beginning" and trip to the slaughterhouse, we wonder whether this is indicative of his frequently mentioned desire for or fixation with death. Or perhaps he's just offering a commentary on death's inevitability.


  1. There is another instance in which sheep appear. On page 217, in the second part with Moran, he happens to run into a shepherd with his flock. The scene described is very serene, and ends with Moran thinking, "And so no doubt they would plod on, until they came to the stable or the fold (p. 219)." This ending is far less bleak than what Molloy feared would happen.

    The two scenes are similar, but I'm not sure what the differences mean for the text as a whole. Perhaps the differences in what they perceive will happen to the flock contrasts the personalities of Molloy and Moran.

  2. I am thinking of the references to sheep and that quote that was given to us on Tuesday and I am wondering if it was meant more in a metaphorical sense. Molloy "creates a special strategy that a person invents in order to live in an unlivable situation" and those who can live in that situation just follow it blindly like a sheep to its shepherd. So when he tries to be more like sheep, could it be meant in a metaphorical way or am I stretching the concept to fit?


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