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5

Tree/Stone

Finnegans Wake scholars have long observed the recurring duality of the tree and stone motifs.1 The current discussion does not propose to revisit this material in any great detail, nor discuss the associated theme of time versus space which has been dealt with at length elsewhere and is also touched upon in the Kaleidoscope chapter below (see, *). The tree and stone motifs are used here instead to underpin a discussion of the conflict between Shem and Shaun, to place this conflict in terms of the overall metaphysical paradigm of Finnegans Wake, and to examine the synthesis of its outcome in terms of sexual politics. This chapter additionally explores the implications and context of a number of examples of the tree/stone duality with the intention of furthering the analysis of Joyce's portrayal of acts of creativity, in particular the dialectic of social power associated with these motifs and its resolution, to the extent such a resolution can be said to occur in Finnegans Wake.

1 For instance, Roland McHugh, The Sigla of Finnegans Wake (London: Edward Arnold, 1976), p. 31; and Adaline Glasheen, Third Census of Finnegans Wake: An Index of the Characters and Their Roles (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977), p. 288.