If you want to draw

If you want to draw

In Brief

Figure of speech. When Bloom encounters reporter Joe Hynes in the printing press room, he stations himself "in his way" and offers what sounds like a friendly tip about getting paid: "— If you want to draw the cashier is just going to lunch, he said, pointing backward with his thumb." Hynes happily accepts the information and hurries off to collect his salary, but Bloom has an ulterior motive: "Three bob I lent him in Meagher's. Three weeks. Third hint." In terms of the rhetorical theory that pervades Aeolus, Bloom's unspoken hint that if Hynes gets paid he will be able to repay what he owes Bloom can be described as an enthymeme, a casually expressed syllogism in which one or more of the premises is kept implicit.

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Enthymeme (EN-thuh-MEEM, from Greek en- = in + thymos = mind) means literally "having in mind." This etymology informs the discussion in Aristotle's Rhetoric, which identifies enthymemes as the kind of argumentation proper to oratory. Aristotle does not fully define the term, but he describes it as "a sort of syllogism." As distinct from "the syllogism of strict logic" used in dialectical argumentation, the enthymeme is looser, more inferential. The orator omits to state certain claims which he assumes that his hearers will readily supply: "The enthymeme must consist of few propositions, fewer often than those which make up the normal syllogism. For if any of these propositions is a familiar fact, there is no need even to mention it; the hearer adds it himself" (1.2, trans. W. Rhys Roberts). People already have such things "in mind," so the speaker can work his persuasion in an relaxed, common-sense way, not in the exact manner of a logician.

Enthymemes of this sort are used all the time to persuade someone to think or do something. A wife tells her departing husband, "Take an umbrella, dear––they say it could rain this afternoon." She does not feel it necessary to state the implicit proposition, often called a "minor premise," that people who get caught in the rain without umbrellas get wet. The Dude tells the debt collector pushing his head in the toilet that he is not the Lebowski with a wife named Bunny: "Do I look like I'm fucking married? The toilet seat's up, man!" He sees no need to point out that wives train their husbands to keep the seat down. Mark Antony says of Caesar, "I thrice presented him a kingly crown, / Which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambitious?" (JC 3.2.96-97). It goes without saying, he assumes, that no ambitious person would turn down an offer of kingship.

In each of these examples, the speaker states the conclusion that he or she wants the hearer to accept (take your umbrella, I'm not married, Caesar wasn't ambitious). Bloom's strategy is different. Instead of saying that it's payday, so you can pay back that loan, leaving out the minor premise (the cashier's still in the office), he leads with that premise ("If you want to draw the cashier is just going to lunch"), omitting both the major premise and the conclusion. Such indirection is typical of the insecure and deferential Bloom, and he pays for his timidity: Hynes never returns his money on June 16. But even if Bloom's rhetorical craft is inept, Gilbert is right to call this sentence an enthymeme, since it attempts to persuade implicitly, with a truncated argument. And Joyce listed the technique of Aeolus as "Enthymemic" in the schema that he gave to Gilbert, so one would expect to find at least one example of this device in the chapter.

Sam Slote (who discusses only this one rhetorical figure in Aeolus in any detail, briefly mentioning several others) parses its logic differently: "By saying 'if you want to draw money' (the initial premise), Bloom is trying to get Hynes to acknowledge the unstated and implied minor premise, in order to repay me. The logical consequence of these two premises is that you should go to the cashier now. Of course Hynes would like to avoid repaying Bloom and so the performance fails to persuade him towards this action." This seems to me mistaken in several ways, the chief one being that it confuses the conclusion of the syllogism with its middle premise. Bloom does not want to persuade Hynes simply to visit the cashier, but to repay what he has borrowed. He does fail in this purpose (Hynes would rather buy drinks in Barney Kiernan's), but not because, as Slote suggests, he cannot convince Hynes to "go to the cashier now." The novel suggests that Hynes needs no convincing on that score:

      — Did you? Hynes asked.
      — Mm, Mr Bloom said. Look sharp and you'll catch him.
      — Thanks, old man, Hynes said. I'll tap him too.
      He hurried on eagerly towards the Freeman's Journal.
That Hynes does indeed draw his salary is shown unambiguously in Cyclops, when he stands a round and explains that he got the money from the Freeman at Bloom's urging: "Sweat of my brow.... 'Twas the prudent member gave me the wheeze." If Bloom had directly stated the actual conclusion of his syllogism––please repay me today––Hynes might have found it harder to deny him.

Seidman finds one more enthymemic expression in Aeolus: the professor's "We are liege subjects of the catholic chivalry of Europe that foundered at Trafalgar." He observes that MacHugh's sentence masks an implicit premise: "if the combined fleets of France and Spain had not been defeated at Trafalgar, Napoleon would have invaded and defeated England." This seems plausible. MacHugh is trying to instill in his hearers the lamentable conviction that Irish Catholics might have been part of a larger European order of Catholic aristocratic powers. He states the major premise: France and Spain lost to Admiral Nelson. He omits the minor one: if they had prevailed, a path to conquer England would have lain open to Napoleon.

JH 2023
Source: slideplayer.com.
Source: www.johnlocke.org.
Tom W. Freeman's painting of Vice Admiral Nelson's flagship HMS Victory breaking the French and Spanish fleets' combined line in the opening stage of the 21 October 1805 battle of Trafalgar. Source: www.usni.org.