Next Section

Previous Section

7.3 The Female as a Suit of Male Clothing

Both Finn MacCool and Balkelly, the sage of Book IV, are described as wearing suits coloured with the rainbow spectrum:

His sevencoloured's soot (Ochone! Ochonal!) and his imponence one heap lumpblock (Mogoul!). (FW 277.1-3)

his heptachromatic sevenhued septicoloured roranyellgreenlindigan mantle. (FW 611.5-7)

On one hand, the rainbow hued suit can indicate impotence or celibacy, just as the catholic priesthood are portrayed as feminine in A Portrait on the basis of their clothing (see below, *). On the other, the feminine suit can indicate marriage, or function as the conjugal container of an HCE figure. The acquisition of the suit the Norwegian Captain commissions from Kersse the Tailor parallels his marriage to Kersse's daughter, an ALP figure. In the following references to the suit, some of which echo the Prankquean's question, the word 'skin' is associated with its creation, and in one instance the Norwegian Captain is described as being enveloped in a suit of clouds, which in the Wake doubles as a reference to Issy:

Hwere can a ketch or hook alive a suit and sowterkins? (FW 311.22-23)

Nohow did he kersse or hoot alike the suit and solder skins. (FW 317.22)

And ere he could catch or hook or line to suit their saussyskins. (FW 324.12)

umwalloped in an unusuable suite of clouds. (FW 324.29-30)

would he be whulesalesolde daadooped by Priest Gudfodren of the sacredhaunt suit. (FW 326.23-24)

The female as a 'suit', ordered to size from the creator deity, replaces the myth of the creation of Eve from Adam's rib in Genesis. Appropriately, the Norwegian Captain is described as a 'sutor' (FW 326.27) and a rainbow marks the occasion of their union, 'an enfysis to bring down the rain of Tarar' (FW 329.34-35).5 The rainbow signals not only a peace between the trinity of Kersse, Pukkelsen and the Ship's Agent, but also, as the allusion to a rain/reign of terror suggests, peace between male and female, and an oncoming flood of humanity.

5 Welsh, enfys: rainbow, McHugh, Annotations to Finnegans Wake (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1991), p. 329.