A discussion of Book One, Chapter Two of Finnegans Wake.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Chpt 2: Thoughts on Nature & More

I have to confess that I didn't finish chapter one, but I started on two anyway.

So starting at the bottom of p30, our guy is in "prefall paradise peace" but as he is walking along, he notices a flowerpot, and being "longsighted from green youth" wondered what caused the flower to be so trapped in the pot (top of p31). His "longsighted"-ness is his ability to sense the future, because once the fall occurs, humanity is distanced from nature--a separation symbolized by the flowerpot. The pot is a prison keeping the flower from its natural soil where it can flourish and grow normally. Instead, it is confined and controlled. As soon as humanity falls, we are confined and controlled, by ourselves. I gather this because we are the ones responsible for potting the flower, setting limitations, and the fall is an act of "potting," a personal act of limitation. Further, his "green youth" not only means blissful ignorance, but "green" can mean natural, earthly youth.

Also, I think it's funny how the "scholarch Canavan" is from "Canmakenoise." Joyce is making fun of academia, but at the same time incorporating so much of it into his own work, like the allusion to Hamlet at the top of p31--"metheg in you midness" or "method in your madness."

Maybe reading this out of context is screwing me up, but there doesn't seem to be a logical progression, so please add your objections liberally, or whatever other comments. Oh, and I apologize for the sloppy citations--I'm feeling very lazy at the moment : (


Blogger Mykola said...

I think that first section, "The naming of HCE", actually has two guys. I stumbled upon a page that examines it in drafts, and the first draft is much more legible. It would seem that HCE is a minor duke working in the field when the king and his retinue ride by, and he rushes out to meet them with a flowerpot in his hair.

I like the idea of HCE, then, wearing a "potted" flower on his head, with all the connotations you are mentioning. Can we take it a step farther and see that as a garden? And, given the Wake's propensity to conflate, can we make that Garden Eden? So the flower on his head is the garden of eden, meaning this is before the fall?

Also, talking about free flowers vs garden flowers, it gives us the general sense even before the fall there was something wrong with eden - it was all well and good but humanity was a flower in a pot, not growing naturally.


4:17 PM

Blogger Mykola said...

So I guess what I mean is I disagree with your idea of the flower-pot as post-fall - I think it is pre-fall. I don't think that the fall is an act of potting, I think that the fall is the act of breaking the pot that god gave us because we want to be free. But at a terrible cost.

8:01 PM


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