Sunday 12 October 2008

Lots of Fun at Finnegans Wake

I was in the school library one day, searching for a book that would be able to capture my attention. I saw a cute little yellow book called "Dubliners", and thought it would be nice to read a novel that took place in Dublin. Couldn't hurt. Little did I know, this was no simple story - no novel, or chapter-book - this was James Joyce's collection of short stories, literary masterpieces that are college-level reading material. After reading the first one, becoming completely dumbfounded, sparknoting it, and then finally appreciating Joyce's literary genius, I went back to the library. I saw he had another work there: Finnegans Wake (1). It was rather large, but when it comes to literature I tend to be somewhat cocky, thinking I can handle anything.

This book did not even start with a complete sentence. It begins in the middle of the sentence - and ends in the middle of the same sentence. It has no structure, no plot, and really, no conventional English. It's about a dream; or a wake; or death; or who even knows? Did Joyce even know? Was he pulling a John Lennon; "Let's write something with no answer to drive the puzzle solvers insane"?

Thank God, I did not check Finnegan's Wake out. Had I actually attempted to read it at that age, I may have caused myself such serious mental damage that I would not be able to compose these wonderful blogs for you today. However, since I learned about this book, I have had a goal to read it someday. Not only to make it through, as in, to simply scan every word of it, but to read and comprehend it.

Some goals must be achieved early, or else they will never be reached. A few of my life goals I should begin to pursue now; however, this is not one of them. I believe that I should let myself and my reading habits mature before I proceed with this dream. Perhaps while I'm in college I'll give it a go. I hope it is, and it should be, a long, intense journey for me. I've never been good at casual reading - I either neglect reading, or I go all-out.

This seems like the type of goal I would set for myself and then, after torturing myself and stressing over it, I would just throw it away and feel extremely relieved. I hope that, years from now, that is not the case.

(1) Yes, Finnegans, not "Finnegan's". Plural, no ownership. This has always severely bothered me.

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