As I see it, Finnegans Wake has two main sections, namely Section A (“dreamland” [1-617.29]) and Section B (“anna’s interior monologue” [617.30-628]). Section A and Section B are my terms and there is no structural division between A and B. Structurally, the novel has Parts I - IV, with my Section A being the last 10 pages of Part IV (Part IV has only a single chapter beginning on page 593).
As with Ulysses, Finnegans Wake ends with a woman’s interior monologue as she just awakes (Section B). A reader of Ulysses will find Section B “easy” familiar reading. There are a few strangenesses encountered, especially near the beginning of the monologue, i.e., when Anna is closer to sleep.
Soft morning, city! Lsp! I am leafy speafing. Lpf! Folty and folty all the nights have falled on to long my hair. Not a sound, falling. Lispn! No wind no word. Only a leaf, just a leaf and then leaves.
Joyce has noticed that such "leafy speafing" is more consistent with our own interior “monologues” than the language that he used for Molly (just listen to yourself). Joyce renders a better interior monologue in Finnegans Wake than in Ulysses. But a good old-fashion modernist interior monologue nonetheless. Ten pages of devastating beautiful fluid sensible reading.
But I’m loothing them that’s here and all I lothe. Loonely in me loneness. For all their faults. I am passing out. O
bitter ending! I’ll slip away before they’re up. They’ll never see. Nor know. Nor miss me. And it’s old and old it’s sad and old it’s sad and weary I go back to you, my cold father, my cold mad father, my cold mad feary father, till the near sight of the mere size of him, the moyles and moyles of it, moananoaning, makes me
seasilt saltsick and I rush, my only, into your arms.
Section A, on the other hand, consists of 617 pages with not one “readable” paragraph. With familiarity, Part I is fairly "clear", but as the night progresses, so the text becomes murkier and murkier.
The universe of Section A is that place you find yourself when dreaming. It is also that place you find yourself when you are having a two way argument with your “partner”, entirely in your head, while washing the dishes alone after the divorce. The characters are “you”, and your “partners” (who have many forms and voices all “spoken” by you), and all the characters from all your dreams, and waking life ("heliopolis"), days stacked upon nights stacked upon days, etc. The “narrators” too are of that world.
It is argued as to who is the dreamer. From my reading of texts about Finnegans Wake, many feel there is one dreamer, although some prefer “us all as the dreamer” (tenable) or even a few multiple dreamers (less tenable).
If there is a unique dreamer, then who is it?
Before I got to the end I was betting on Issy (I). [I didn’t think a man could dream the wake. The dreamer knows girls and women from the inside. The dreamer knows so much sexual abuse from the inside.]
On the other hand, all texts that I have read posit a male dreamer (Kevin or HCE).
But then Section A ends with dawn breaking and “the smog lofting”. “The grand fooneral will now shortly occur” . And then, Anna’s monologue, with numerous consistent referents to the previous 617 page dream world.
- Surely the dreamer is
Surely the structure is such that this character is obviously the dreamer, and before arguing any other position (Kevin, us all, etc) one would first have defeat the simplest position (Occam's razor: this character dreams the wake)? One would also have to explain who dreams Section B, or how Section B is located ontologically.
The kind of answer I am looking for is something like "This character cannot be the dreamer since..." or "It is much more likely that... since...". I would also be interested in any references to arguments that this character is or is not the dreamer.
[... The pure uninterrupted interior monologue begins 619.20. 617.30-619.19 is a transition, but more Ulysses than Finnegans Wake ...]