5.5 Shaun and Violence
Consistent with his association with the military and the police, Shaun represses Shem with violence, both threatened and actual, throughout the Wake. For instance, in one response to the Gripes, the Mookse makes use of language that rings with a sadistic anticipation of physical harm occurring to his opposite: '(what a crammer for the shapewrucked Gripes!). And I regret to proclaim that it is out of my temporal to help you from being killed by inchies, (what a thrust!), as we first met each other newwhere so airly. (Poor little sowsieved subsquashed Gripes! I begin to feel contemption for him!)' (FW 155.9-14). One of Shaun's interpretations of the letter as the professor of Book I.5 includes a suggestion that the 'beautiful presence of waiting kates will until life's (!) be more than enough to make any milkmike in the language of sweet tarts punch hell's hate into his twin nicky' (FW 116.21-24). In the Nightlessons chapter of Book II.2, Shaun responds to the content of the letter that Shem writes which shows 'All the charictures in the drame!' (FW 302.31-32) by providing a violent 'Prouf!' (FW 303.14) and 'by mercystroke he measured his earth' (FW 303.27-28). Accusing Shem of inciting ALP to rebellion, or alternately sexual arousal, Shaun promises to 'commission to the flames any incendiarist whosoever or ahriman howsoclever who would endeavour to set ever annyma roner moother of mine on fire' (FW 426.2-4). Before his death/rebirth at the conclusion of Book III.2, Shaun perceives Shem as his main rival for, and potential adulterer with, Issy once he is away, and precedes a litany of threats to Issy with characteristically violent threats to Shem:
show him what the Shaun way is like how we'll go a long way toward breaking his outsider's face for him. (FW 442.22-23)
Pretty knocks, I promise him with plenty burkes for his shins. (FW 443.15-16)
I'll not be complete in fighting lust until I contrive to half kill your Charley you're my darling for you and send him to Home Surgeon Hume. (FW 443.17-18)
And as he's boiling with water I'll light your pyre. (FW 466.8-9)
A correlation between the policeman-soldier Shaun and the repressive agencies of various totalitarian states is also made in this chapter. For example, the OGPU and CheKa, and the Irish DORA and Diehards,10 are incorporated into Shaun's declaration of repressive authority:
I, with my sleuts of hogpew and cheekas [...]. We are all eyes. I have his quoram of images all on my retinue [...]. Giving the brotherkeeper into custody to the first police bubby cunstabless of Dora's Diehards [...]. In the buckets of my wrath I mightn't even take it into my progromme, as sweet course, to do a rash act and pitch in and swing for your perfect stranger. (FW 442.34-443.9)
Note too that the Maggies normally associated with HCE's fall are cited as accomplices in Shaun's repressive machinery; in addition to 'sleuths', implied by the word 'sleuts', they are also described as 'sluts', and as 'bubby cunstablesses' where there is an aural suggestion of both 'child' and 'cunt'. Shaun is similarly associated at the conclusion of the Norwegian Captain episode with the Gestapo who repress his brother's irreverence: 'anruly person creeked a jest. Gestapose to parry off cheekars or frankfurters on the odor' (FW 332.7-8).
As the dominant partner in the age of heroes, and in an attempt to maintain spiritual power over Issy and Shem after his departure, before Jaunty Jaun precedes his postman's journey down the Liffey and out to sea in his rebirth/death with a long monologue to Issy on the violent consequences of any unfaithfulness on her part:
if you've got some brainy notion to raise cancan and rouse commotion I'll be apt to flail that tail for you till it's borning. (FW 436.35-437.1)
So let it be a knuckle or an elbow, I hereby admonish you! (FW 444.6)
I'll smack your fruitflavoured jujube lips well for you, so I will well for you, if you don't keep a civil tongue in your pigeonhouse. (FW 444.22-24)
You'll give up your ask unbrohdel ways when I make you reely smart. (FW 445.6-7)
For you own good, you understand, for the man who lifts his pud to a woman is saving the way for kindness. (FW 445.11-13)
Lights out now (bouf!), tight and sleep on it. And that's how I'll bottle your greedypuss beautibus for ye, me bullin heifer, for 'tis I that have the peer of arrams that carry a wallop. (FW 445.22-25)
Shaun tells Issy he will make her yelp 'papapardon' and 'I am, I do and I suffer' (FW 445.16-17), which is the conquereds' inverse expression of Caesar's dictum, 'I came, I saw, I conquered'. The use of violence which underpins traditional masculine sexual possession of women is also apparent in Shaun's threats. Issy is not overly perturbed by Shaun's offensive diatribe, although at the outset of her reply she finds need to 'tactilifully grapbed her male corrispondee' (FW 457.28) [my italics]. She admits, however, that she has left her letter for Shaun 'allathome' (FW 457.35), and ambiguously indicates that she may or may not betray Shaun in an adulterous relationship after his departure:
I will long to betrue you along with one who will so betrue you that not once while I betreu him not once well he be betray himself. Can't you understand? O, bother, I must tell the trouth! My latest lad's loveliletter I am sore I done something with. I like him lots coss he never cusses. Pity bonhom. Pip pet. I shouldn't say he's pretty but I'm cocksure sure he's shy. Why I love taking him out when I unletched his cordon gate. Ope, Jack and atem! Obealbe myodorers and he dote so. He fell for my lips, for my lisp, for my lewd speaker. I felt for his strength, his manhood, his do you mind? There can be no candle to hold to it, can there? (FW 459.20-30)
your name of Shane will come forth between my shamefaced whesen with other lipth I nakest open my thight when just woken by his toccatootletoo my first morning. (FW 461.25-28)
While Shaun's threats of violence are ethically unacceptable, the logic of the Wakean cycle suggests that historically this has not always been the case. As early as the Nightlessons chapter, the child Shaun is described as 'really the rapier of the two though thother brother can hold his own' (FW 224.32-33). The reference to Shaun's weapon also indicates his role in the biological reproduction of HCE, whereas Shem's apparent recourse to masturbation indicates both his removal from Issy/ALP and also his role in the textual reproduction of HCE (see also,*, *). Shaun's violent nature accords with the behaviour of a herd male, which involves overthrowing the dominant male, ensuring the sexual repression of other males and sexually accessing females, if necessary by force. Moreover, the narrator salutes Shaun warmly as he departs down the Liffey towards death, and the soldier-policeman-postman character plays an important role in the Wake's cyclic family romance of violent succession. The demise, or vanishing, of the dominant male in circumstances involving violence is an unavoidable consequence of participation in the cyclic historical process, except in the transition between the age of heroes and the age of humanity where the downtrodden civilian Shem/HCE simply inherits power from his martial twin. Thus Shaun departs out to sea through the mouth of the Liffey, the narrator generously states that he was:
Good by nature and natural by design, had you but been spared to us, Hauneen lad [...]. My long farewell I send to you, fair dream of sport and game and always something new. Gone is Haun! My grief, my ruin! Our Joss-el-Jovan! Our Chris-na-Murty! [...]. For you had - may I, in our, your and their names, dare to say it? - the nucleus of a glow of a zeal of soul of service such as rarely, if ever, have I met with single men [...]. Brave footsore Haun! Work your progress! Hold to! Now! Win out, ye divil ye! (FW 472.10-473.21)
There is perhaps more than a hint of good riddance in the dual meaning of one parting phrase: 'Va faotre!' (FW 473.17) which McHugh suggests contains the Breton phrase va paotr, 'my son', and the French, va te faire foutre!, or 'get fucked'.12 Overall, however, the parting of Shaun elicits a sentimental response from the narrator who, as the 'father' of Shaun, congratulates him on his implementation of the law of the father. While Shaun assumes HCE-like stature in the age of heroes, it is in guises of religious leaders, such as Christ, Mohammed ('Mohomadhawn Mike' (FW 443.2)) and the Pope, each of whom can be perceived as the postmen of even earlier founder deities. Yet, as postman, Shaun does not create, and instead his work is to realise of the vision of the creators and founders who precede him, with his tools comprised of his willingness to recourse to repressive violence.
10 'DORA: Defence of the Realm Act 1914'; 'Diehards: Anti-Treaty forces of I.R.B. in 1920s': McHugh, Annotations, p. 443.
11 The rooster's crow of Book III.4.
12 McHugh, Annotations, p. 473.