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7.12 Peace as the Outcome of Violence

Violence in the Wake only ever represses competition temporarily, and the consequent peace as susceptible to evaporation as its fleeting rainbow motif. Moreover, as Shaun explains regarding his treatment of Shem, under conditions of repression the citizens themselves beg for peace: 'He'll have pansements then for his pensamientos, howling for peace' (FW 443.14-15). Cyclic time is predicated upon one dominant patriarchy being challenged and replaced by a social outsider and thus violence is integral to its continuation. The 'fundamental' HCE figure may well be sanctified following an almost immediate repression by the Shaun-postmen of a previous era. The short life of Christ, for instance, can be contrasted to the period of some two thousand years over which his name has been immortalised in Western culture. The argument of St Patrick of Book IV, advocating the rainbow in opposition to Balkelly's all-pervasive green, is similarly short lived. While the peace portrayed in the Wake frequently reflects a male's sexual enjoyment of females, 'a potion a peace, a piece aportion, a lepel alip, alup a lap, for a cup of kindest yet' (FW 397.18-19), it is accompanied by a corresponding police repression and rule of law:

You're a liar, excuse me! I will not and you're another! And Lully holding their breach of the peace for them. (FW 96.18-19)

a butterblond warden of the peace, one comestabulish Sigurdsen. (FW 429.18-19)

The rainbow as pact of peace between male and female is also sustained by religion and its promised future, as Issy's comment below indicates, for without such a utopian promise sexual relationships and socio-economic domination rest uneasily upon gender and class tensions:

Heil, heptarched span of peace!2 Live, league of lex, nex and the mores! Fas est dass and foe err you. Impovernment of the booble by the bauble for the bubble.


2 I'm blest if I can see. (FW 273.4-7, N2)

Obedience is central to the depiction of social peace in Finnegans Wake. The motto of Dublin, Obedienta civium urbis felicitas, or 'The Obedience of the Citizen is the Felicity of the Town', is the answer to the question in Book I.6 concerning the motto of HCE's hotel.27 The siglum used alongside this question in the first draft is o . The import of the motto is significant as Joyce wrote to Harriet Shaw Weaver stating that 'o stands for the title' (Letters I 213). Implicit is that the container of HCE's logos, whether as the letter as cultural remnant, or ALP as biological dump (or stated in biblical terms, 'word' or 'flesh') reflects an obedience to his phallocentric legacy: 'we keep is peace who follow his law' (FW 276.26-27). The motto's emphasis upon obedience and its potential for annihilating individualism, and thus the egocentricity of the artist, to maintain the interests of a past HCE figure explains Stephen's corresponding need to escape Dublin's requirement for obedience. The duality of the reproduction of the logos, as both a textual and biological process ('word' and 'flesh'), informs Stephen's determination to eradicate his own obedience to all forms of power: 'in here it is I must kill the priest and the king' (U 15.4436-37). The depiction of the cycles of Finnegans Wake in this respect are not dissimilar to the cycles of both the wheel of fortune of the medieval Christian tradition or the meaningless pursuit of desire and reincarnation stressed by Eastern religion. Both these traditions urge non-participation coupled with passive obedience in response to the vagaries of power, although rather than ruling by example, political enforcement by the obedient acolyte in reality has been critical to the dominance of such religions. The function of Shem as characterising the religious response to the world is distinguished by his submission to Shaun's values while the latter is ascendant, albeit coupled with a informed, passive resistance, and his concomitant reliance upon Shaun as his own acolyte of the future.

27 Danis Rose and John O'Hanlon, Understanding Finnegans Wake: A Guide to the Narrative of James Joyce's Masterpiece (New York: Garland Press, 1982), p. 90.