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3.2 The Picture on the Wall

The picture, the visual equivalent of Shem's writing, is composed of the remnants of a pre-silence creative act paralleling the Judeo-Christian notion of creation ex nihilo, and as such portrays a version of the original sin. While Finnegans Wake itself is a post-silence textual artistic production, its focus upon origins on one level is similar to the letter in that it textually recreates the picture on a wall, and Shem's writing is accordingly described along similar lines: 'and if hadn't got it toothick he'd a telltale tall of his pitcher on a wall with his photure in the papers' (FW 233.02). Moreover, the latter indicates that his letter-writing forms the basis of the historical picture, or here photograph, of a subsequent historical cycle. The following examples of the blurred picture are also upon walls, with the theme of the picture as the container of HCE emphasised by the pun of 'pitcher':

How charmingly exquisite! It reminds you of the outwashed engravure that we used to be blurring on the blotchwall of his innkempt house. [...] The remains of the outworn gravemure where used to be blurried the Ptollmens of the Incabus. (FW 13.6-11)

Was he pitssched for an ensemple as certain have dognosed of him against our seawall by Rurie, Thoath and Cleaver. (FW 254.1-2)

the pitchur that he's turned to weld the wall. (FW 587.14-15)

HCE's wall-building activity is consistently associated with the male anal orifice by its parallel with his fecal production. In the 'Questions and Answers' chapter Finnegan's bricks are not only sun-baked, but 'bun' baked, which alludes, through the slang 'buns', to his buttocks:

and an he had the best bunbaked bricks in bould Babylon for his pitching plays he'd be lost for the want of his wan wubblin wall? (FW 139.11-13)

Depositing the bricks onto the wall itself forms a picture which encapsulates HCE, and merges with an understanding of HCE's sexual insemination of ALP where the turd is equated with semen. Moreover, mirroring ALP at the conclusion to the Wake, the 'wan wubblin wall' actively desires HCE's bricks and thus her own silent annihilation, a 'want' he would be lost without. HCE's production of the wall, however, is similarly tantamount to his demise and replacement. Just as the Russian General's defecation results in his death, the fall of both Humpty Dumpty and Finnegan from their respective walls are echoed when HCE's 'pitcher go to aftoms on the wall' (FW 598.21-22).