Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Our latest meeting

Although I'm not going to get into the textual elements of our last meeting right now, I remembered some of the elements of it. We had a somewhat smaller group and so got on to some tangents before settling in. My own particular contribution was my native skepticism about pretty much everything. The thing I find myself trying to grapple with is my own rejection of the framework story. Or one framework story. We have HCE, ALP, their twin sons Shaun and Shem and their daughter Issy. Personally, I find myself struggling with this at heart traditional/patriarchal story of what human life is, and find myself wanting out of the story. As we continued to talk about it, though, I realized that this is simply the particular slant I bring to table. I feel very similar things about the Bible. Let me out of this particular masculinist way of viewing the world!

Tom came to my rescue, though,  in claiming his own resistance to the tale, and saying that many of us will bring a resistance to the Wake. We confront it, and it confronts us. I think the key is to realize that this is a work that is bigger than us, and, much like the Bible, we can challenge it and it is big enough to take that challenge.

The other pre-reading element of the evening was that we took a look at some type of the  Myers-Briggs spectrum of personality. As we tried to fit Shaun and Shem into one of the boxes, we slowly came to see that we were approaching this slightly wrong. It wasn't going to help to look at Shaun and Shem from the outside and try to diagnose them. The thing to do was to take the test and try to do it through the eyes of each of these opposed characters. That we will put in the "To Be Continued" portion of our studies...


  1. I like the issue you raised of resistance; everything is told through the mind of a seedy old barely respectable patriarch.

    I think that the unconscious and dreamworld of puns is essentially giving general thumbnosery to the whole kaboodle. Not entirely dismissing the traditional nuclear family, since it is part of life too, but don't you think, there's a decidedly subversive side that is putting up resistance to the forces of order and tradition? Maybe I am reading something into Joyce here, but why not?

  2. No, I think you're right. Another thing that I remember coming out of that meaning is the sense that Joyce's role is descriptive rather than defensive. He's getting the joy out of it that he can. Nevertheless, I'd like to think that one day there will be a "Joyce James" with an ability to describe the whole thing from another angle. I think we are already slightly past this whole family structure, though we still cling to it. Hark! Is that a thunderbolt I hear?