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The major theme of the novel is a sonís quest for a father figure. Stephen Dedalus is fed up with his father Simon. He goes in search of a father figure who will embody his ideals of maturity and humanity, as well as encourage his pursuit of art. Such a father figure he finds in Bloom who fulfills his desire for social support, maturity and humanity.
The quest theme is also embodied in Bloom who goes in research of a son figure. His son Rudy died a few days after his birth. He succeeds in finding in Stephen a son who represents an ideal man, an excellent artist and an exceptional moralist.
The minor theme of the novel is charity "which covereth a multitude of sins." Bloom is presented as the very embodiment of kindness and charitable disposition. He gives generous practical assistance to Stephen in whom he sees an image of a grown-up son. He saves Stephen from being exploited by Bella Cohen. He prevents the soldier from striking the drunken Stephen. Thereafter he takes him home. He calls on Mrs. Purefoy at the maternity hospital. He helps a blind youth cross a street. He has sympathy for the daughters of Dedalus. He is helpful to Paddy Dignamís widow.
The central mood of the novel is comic. However, we have serious and tragic moods in the presentation of Paddy Dignamís funeral, the portrayal of Simonís poor daughters and the scene of childbirth in a maternity hospital.