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5.3 The Tree of Religion

Another of the Finnegans Wake games listed above is described as 'Appletree Bearstone' (FW 176.8). Phoenix Park is in a number of instances portrayed as the Wake's equivalent of the Garden of Eden. In the following passage, however, the biblical scenario of Eve tempting Adam with the fruit of the tree of knowledge is reversed, for HCE (speaking as Oscar Wilde) instead gives ALP the apple, so that Adam and the serpent are one. Rather than the knowledge attained through eating the biblical fruit, the fruits of their act are their descendants: 'I askt you, dear lady, to judge on my tree by our fruits. I gave you of the tree. I gave two smells, three eats. My freeandies, my celeberrimates: my happy bossoms, my allfalling fruits of my boom. Pity poor Haveth Childers Everywhere with Mudder!' (FW 535.31-35). In another instance, the Garden of Eden is the Buddha's bamboo wood in which there are flora girls who in the 'nip of a napple' can 'sloughchange' like snake skins their loyalties to the dominant male left standing - or perhaps erect:

Teomeo! Daurdour! We feel unspeechably thoughtless over it all here in Gizzygarzelle Tark's bimboowood so pleasekindly communicake with the original sinse we are only yearning as yet how to burgeon. It's meant milliems of centiments deadlost or mislaid on them but, master of snakes, we can sloughchange in the nip of a napple solongas we can allsee for deedsetton your quick. (FW 238.35-329.5)

The Christian sacrament of communion is replaced with the acts of letter writing and sexual reproduction. This communication incorporates both the 'urogynal pan of cakes' (FW 619.2) of the letter and the sexual original 'sinse'. ALP/Issy in the Wake's garden of Eden is both the pregnant Virgin Mary, as well as the seductress Eve, and the sin is specifically one of reproduction:

Eat early earthapples. Coax Cobra to chatters. Hail, Heva, we hear! This is the glider that gladdened the girl that list to the wind that lifted the leaves that folded the fruit that hung on the tree that grew in the garden Gough gave. Wide hiss, we're wizening. Hoots fromm, we're globing. Why hidest thou hinder thy husband his name? Leda, Lada, aflutter-afraida, so does your girdle grow! (FW 271.24-272.3)

Moreover, the religion and law that the deity of Wake's family romance passes to his descendants includes 'scotching' the snake: 'as we gang along to gigglehouse, talking of molniacs' manias and missions for mades to scotch the schlang and leathercoats for murty maggies' (FW 289.17-20).

Allusions to the tree in Finnegans Wake also incorporate the Yggdrasil ash tree in Norse myth, which resembles the Tree of Knowledge of Genesis in that a serpent is found at its base. The 'overlisting eshtree' (FW 503.30) of the Wake also features a serpent: 'her downslyder in that snakedst-tu-naughsy whimmering' (FW 505.7).5 However, the snake at the base of this tree in the Garden of Eden of Finnegans Wake is also identified as HCE: 'the fanest of our truefalluses. Bapbaps Bomslinger!' (FW 506.17-18).6 With some irony Joyce exchanges the word 'true' for 'tree' and links it with the 'snakke' of this garden, which in Norse is also the word for talk: 'Only snakkest me truesome! I stone us I'm hable' (FW 560.35-36); and, 'Tellleth that eke the treeth?' ((FW 505.19).

In a question to Yawn concerning 'our sovereign beingstalk' (FW 504.18-19) Yawn describes 'Oakley Ashe's elm' (FW 503.32) in terms of both HCE and ALP, the sexes unified in the sin of creativity, and the fruit of the tree again their descendants:

woody babies growing upon her. (FW 504.22)

Tyburn fenians snoring in his quickenbole. (FW 504.24-25)

cock robins muchmore hatching most out of his missado eggdrazzles for him. (FW 504.34-36)

her triliteral roots and his acorns and pinecorns shooting wide all sides of him. (FW 505.4-5)

and her leaves, my darling dearest, sinsininning since the night of time and each and all of their branches meeting and shaking twisty hands all over again in their new world through the germination of its germination from Ond's outset till Odd's end. (FW 505. 9-13)

The tree is a family tree in a pictorial sense, the branches showing the genetic evolution of HCE and ALP's descendants, with the leaves continuing to sin in a process of new growth. The tree provides for all needs, and indeed its leaves are the pages of the letter handed down from one generation to another in the Wake cycle of regeneration: 'For we are fed of its forest, clad in its wood, burqued by its bark and our lecture is its leave' (FW 503.36-504.1). Such leaves are equally the children of HCE and ALP who not only bear cultural tidings down through the ages, but the genetic message of the HCE originator. Earlier, the Four Historians comment that the leaves, or pages of history, are borne in a woman's womb, 'Hystorical leavesdroppings' (FW 564.31), and the classical is combined with the biblical in the following, where 'leaven' indicates 'leaves', 'departure' and the 'rise' of yeast bread-making: 'She's threwed her pippin's thereabouts and they've cropped up tooth oneydge with hates to leaven this socried isle' (FW 506.24-26).

5 Danish, snakke du norske: do you speak Norwegian; McHugh, Annotations, p. 505.

6 Hindu, bap, Italian, babbo: father, Africaans, bomslanger: tree snake. McHugh, Annotations, p. 506.