Portrait

“The voices that he knew so well, the common words, the quiet of the classroom when the voices paused and the silence was filled by the sound of softly browsing cattle as the other boys munched their lunches tranquilly, lulled his aching soul.”

This simple paragraph caught my attention because of how strangely it’s worded.  I can separate it into sections, and still have difficulty understanding what lulled his aching soul at the end of the paragraph (the voices, the list entire of things, the silence, the sounds that filled the silence?).  Joyce is so unnecessarily wordy at moments in the story where I feel like nothing much is being built, except maybe setting.  It’s meant to set up a peaceful environment for Stephen, but it creates such a difficult environment for the reader to understand.