chapter  11
22 Pages

Arrah Na Plurabelle

In Joyce’s Book of the Dark¸ John Bishop highlights the centrality of the Earwicker marriage to Finnegans Wake. “Beginning with the phrase ‘Eve and Adam’s,’” Bishop notes, Joyce’s novel “teems with forms of ‘the zeroic couplet’ HCE and ALP, which Joyce modulates in the course of the book, through ‘minney combinaisies and permutandies’ (284.12-3),” and he concludes that “these dyadic configurations show that the real hero of Finnegans Wake, ‘The Bearded Mountain’ … never exists independently of his ‘streamline secret’ and consort” (367). Bishop’s observation demonstrates not only the frequency in which HCE’s relationship to ALP is referenced throughout the Wake, but the thematic significance of their marriage to the text, particularly with respect to Joyce’s love ethic. Not only do the references to “riverrun,” “Eve and Adam’s,” and “Howth Castle and Environs” in the first lines of the Wake unite the two main characters and a church and thus make the HCE-ALP marriage the first image of Joyce’s dreamtext (FW 3.1-3), but Joyce’s identification of the River Liffey and Howth as the entities united at this church also equates their union to the creation of Dublin, and his specification of Adam and Eve’s church evokes humanity’s first marriage and further emphasizes the broader significance of their union.1 The repetition of this universalizing tendency throughout the Wake thus makes the Earwicker marriage the heart of Joyce’s final text, and thus the Joycean oeuvre ends with a complex examination of love whose implications transcend the marital realm.