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6.7 Non-Delivery of the Letter

As HCE does not rise in Book IV, there is the possibility that Joyce did not expect such a revenant to arise at all, reducing HCE's resurrection to a cock and bull story, a description which in the Wake is read in a sexual sense: 'your cock and a biddy story' (FW 519.8). Nonetheless, ALP states that she wrote her hopes in her letter then buried it to await genetic rebirth: 'I wrote me hopes and buried the page when I heard Thy voice, ruddery dunner, so loud but, and left it to lie till a kissmiss coming' (FW 624.4-6). The emphasis placed upon the genetic rebirth of HCE amplifies Shem/HCE's use of the condom in Book III.4 into a crime against the values of phallocentric culture underpinned as it is by the logos of the male deity. The challenge that the Wake implicitly poses to this culture is expressed rather in its non-participation in the reproduction of that culture, particularly in the use of a language which dissipates its authority into difference, its sceptical metaphysics which displaces both the competitive masculine ideology of the herd and its textual counterpart of artistic creativity, each of which facilitate the resurrection of an omnipotent, masculine singularity.

The loathing in general incorporated into descriptions of Shem/Joyce in Finnegans Wake, and the reciprocal favour endowed upon descriptions of Shaun and HCE, resonate with a false humility, and is an indication that HCE's return is not envisioned with enthusiasm. Along similar lines, Taff panders to Butt's ideology in the Story of How Buckley Shot the Russian General: Shem, although 'too wellbread not to ignore the unzemlianess of his rifal's preceedings, in an effort towards autosotorisation, effaces himself in favour of the idiology alwise behounding his lumpy hump'; his motivation is partly safety and partly to 'pops lilly a young one to his herth', and yet his stated allegiance to Butt/Shaun and his cult of food, 'Oholy rasher, Im believer!' (FW 352.17-23), is false. The deity is treated as a cultural rather than spiritual phenomenon, and the rewriting of the central texts of religion deconstructs the phallocentric position from which Joyce himself writes. Yet Joyce cannot write entirely outside of the culture that ultimately informs his language, despite his challenges to it materially, linguistically and metaphysically, and this dichotomy is portrayed by the Wake's simultaneous movement both toward and away from the HCE singularity.