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9.3 The Wake's Suspended Conclusion

Joyce's suspended conclusion avoids the closure of an arbitrary completion by undermining through the feminine the Viconian cycles of masculine return, with the latter very much the closed system, or the 'structural finitude', which Kristeva associates with Hegel's philosophy and religion in Desire in Language.4 Suspension in the Wakean feminine, while peaceful, is not a viable alternative for, as noted in Kristeva's objection to grammatology above, it denies the subject 'his chances for experiencing jouissance or being put to death'. For Joyce, the kaleidoscopic union of masculine and feminine is idealised as both a sexual and textual solution to dialectic. Moreover, the drama of sexual/textual union is one of both jouissance and death, and the consequent subservient silence of the female associated with the reproduction of HCE can be resisted with the use of both sexual and textual contraception. Just as Christ's injunctions regarding non-violence no doubt proved an obstacle (not insurmountable) to the implementation of catholicism, the 'fundamental' Shem/HCE hinders both the textual and biological emergence of the warlike 'dominant' Shaun/HCE with the sexual condom of Book III.4 and the textual condom of the suspended conclusion and diffusion of the signified. The impossibility of defining a future in Joyce's celebration of difference, other than a return of the past, and particularly of delineating a role for women in the future also recurs in Julia Kristeva's own refusal to define sexual identity: 'What can ''identity'', even ''sexual identity'', mean in a new theoretic and scientific space where the very notion of identity is challenged'.5 Moreover, like Joyce, Kristeva also defines the women as the textually repressed, or in Wakean terms, as the silent: 'I therefore understand by ''woman'' that which cannot be represented, that which is not spoken, that which remains outside naming and ideologies'.6 Additionally, a definition of the future is a deliberate withholding tactic by which Shem hinders the repressive activities of his violent twin by denying him the vision of the future with which he or his later incarnation might replace ethics.

4 Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art, ed. by Leon S. Roudiez, trans. by Thomas Gora, Alice Jardine and Leon S. Roudiez (New York: Columbia University Press, 1980), p. 55.

5 'Women's time', trans. Alice Jardine and Harry Blake, Signs 7 (1), 34, cited in Toril Moi, Sexual/Textual Politics, p. 163.

6 'La femme, ce n'est jamais ça', Tel Quel, 59 (Automne), 21, cited in Toril Moi, Sexual/Textual Politics, p. 163.