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Everybody Farts: Celebrating the Body and Refuting Medical Paternalism in Joyce's Ulysses


Ann, Phoebe (2015) Everybody Farts: Celebrating the Body and Refuting Medical Paternalism in Joyce's Ulysses. Senior thesis (Major), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Z93N21BB.


James Joyce’s Ulysses celebrates all facets of daily life in its refusal to censor raw human emotions and emissions. He adopts a critically medical perspective to portray this honest, unfiltered narrative. In doing so, he reveals the ineffectiveness of the physician-patient relationship due to doctors’ paternalistic attitudes that hinder nonjudgmental, open listening of this unfiltered narrative. His exploration of the doctor’s moral scrutiny, cultural prejudices, and authoritative estrangement from the patient underscore the importance in remembering that physicians and patients alike are ultimately just fellow human beings. Wryly, he drives this point to literal nausea, as his narrative proudly asserts the revulsive details of public health, digestion, and death. In his gritty ruminations on the human body’s material reality, Joyce mocks the physician’s highbrow paternalism by forcing him to identify with the farting, vomiting, decaying bodies around him. In celebrating the uncensored human narrative, Joyce challenges physician and patient alike to openly listen to the stories of others.

Item Type:Thesis (Senior thesis (Major))
Subject Keywords:James Joyce, Ulysses, Medical Paternalism, Material Reality
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Humanities and Social Sciences
Major Option:English
Awards:Library Friends Senior Thesis Prize Finalist, 2015. Robert L. Noland Leadership Scholarship, 2015.
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Gilmartin, Kevin M.
Group:Senior Undergraduate Thesis Prize
Thesis Committee:
  • None, None
Defense Date:2015
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:06082015-202817956
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:9011
Deposited By: Phoebe Ann
Deposited On:07 Jul 2015 19:24
Last Modified:02 Aug 2022 21:43

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