Contents

Next Section

Previous Section

3.4 The Material Composition of the Wall

The universal nature of the wall is also such that Tim Finnegan's bricks, or the fecal deposits of HCE, are descendants, 'stepstones' or bairns, who themselves pile one on top the other 'barnabarnabarn', male and female in sexual union, thus forming the wall he is accredited with having built:

I am afraid you could not heave ahore one of your own old stepstones, barnabarnabarn, over a stumbledown wall here in Huddlestown [...] but itandthey woule binge, [...] off the dosshouse back of a racerider in his truetoflesh colours, either handicapped on her flat or barely repeating himself. (FW 481.26-31)

While the decomposed or interred human, mud or excrement of the Wake often equates with the bricks of the wall, the bricks are here living humans. The wall and sexual sin are frequently described as part of one event, or with respect to the picture motif, one 'scene'. Material creation, aligned with the male anus, is presented as a reciprocal to the human reproduction of the female vagina and womb. The sexual, or 'open sesame' door-opening, potency of HCE is stressed in a passage which alludes both to his sexual union with Kate/ALP and the strenuous effort of creating of the wall: 'heaving up the Kay Wall by the 32 to 11 with his limelooking horsebags full of sesameseed' (FW 95.13-15).

The complex interrelation of meaning in Finnegans Wake ensures that the wall motif has many layers of significance. In general, most facets coalesce with the broad notion of an 'earthwork' or construction, whether the Magazine Wall, a mound of earth, or the wall of a building. Its feminine form, however, is explicit in phrases where the Magazine Wall is described as the Maggies themselves, for instance, 'Be their maggies in all' (FW 560.15). The Magazine Wall can also signify the tip, HCE's tomb, and even the world itself, and the latter is evident in Book I.6, where the fall of Humpty Dumpty from his wall is described in terms of a worldwide market crash or deluge: 'eggs will fall cheapened all over the walled' (FW 163.27). Similarly, wall, pub, castle, city and world are united as the narrator describes the entry of the Ship's Husband into Boniface's hotel in the Norwegian Captain episode: 'they were all in the old walled of Kinkincaraborg' (FW 316.13). The wall motif merges with the notion of the world in a passage which describes a recipe for a cocktail/woman entitled 'diva deborah', a feminine blend of the picture (created at midnight) with the Dublin pub, The Hole in the Wall, the world and a kaleidoscopic 'whorl':

diva deborah (seven bolls of sapo, a lick of lime, two spurts of fussfor, threefurts of sulph, a shake o'shouker, doze grains of migniss and a mesfull of midcap pitchies. The whool of the whaal in the wheel of the whorl of the Boubou from Bourneum has thus come to taon!). (FW 415.4-8)

Similarly, in the Night Lesson's chapter, HCE is described as a volcano with the Magazine Wall equated to the earth's volcanic crust: 'By his magmasine fall. Lumps, lavas and all' (FW 294.25-26).

In the 'Questions and Answers' chapter, HCE is referred to as both the wall and as 'Mister Mudson' in a blend of the themes of How Buckley Shot the Russian General, the Sin in Phoenix Park, the Battle of Waterloo and Ibsen's Master Builder: 'Boomaport, Walleslee, Ubermeerschall Blowcher and Supercharger, Monsieur Ducrow, Mister Mudson, master gardiner' (FW 133.21-23). Upon his fall, moreover, HCE is reduced to mud, 'Dilmun when his date was palmy and Mudlin when his nut was cracked' (FW 136.1-2), and his post-fall body is one with the earth/tip of ALP's womb: 'his headwood it's ideal if his feet are bally clay' (FW 136.33). The substance from which HCE constructs the wall is paradoxically himself, or the remains of a previous HCE, and thus is also the material of his own resurrection. Joyce follows the Egyptian and the ancient Greek religions where mud is the medium of the creation of humanity, and combines them with the Christian burial incantation, 'from dust to dust' in a description of a mortal sin or 'mortar scene': 'where the muddies scrimm ball. Bimbim bimbim. And the maidies scream all. Himhim himhim. | And forthemore let legend go lore of it that mortar scene so cwympty dwympty what a dustydust it razed arboriginally' (FW 314.12-16). Here the Magazine Wall or its picture, the 'mortar scene', is shown as comprising both masculine and feminine elements, the 'muddies' as male competitors in addition to the 'maidies' who apparently demand the victor. Where the wall and the original or aboriginal great male falls, a tree or 'arbor' is raised out of the 'dust'. The association of the stone motif with past male creativity, and that of the tree motif with continuing life and human reproduction through the female, is discussed in the Tree/Stone chapter below (see *).