Stephen Dedalus appears at the very beginning of Ulysses, in company with Buck Mulligan. Mulligan refers to Stephen as a Jesuit, and says that he has "the real Oxford manner." The young writer appears as quiet, studious, and serious when compared with Mulligan, who does most of the talking, and seems to be trying to placate him.
Mulligan's insincerity and flippancy are a foil for Stephen's more thoughtful nature, which he shares with Leopold Bloom. Since Joyce intends Stephen to stand for Homer's Telemachus, while Bloom is his father, Odysseus, there is something like a family relationship between the two men. Bloom is introduced at the beginning of part two, more directly than Stephen, and in a more down-to-earth and sensual manner:
Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods’ roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine.
The first thing the reader learns about Bloom is not his cerebral quality, but the kind of food he likes, and this food is simple and hearty, with a direct connection to its origins. Most people who eat kidneys do not think of the original function of the organ, but Bloom does. Like Stephen, he thinks more than most people do, but the subjects of his thought are more varied and often more vulgar, since he is more comfortable than Stephen with the physical side of his nature.