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ALP's Polyvocal Testimony in III.3: A Collaborative Interpretation

From: James Joyce Quarterly
Volume 49, Number 1, Fall 2011
pp. 91-107 | 10.1353/jjq.2011.0119



Our essay provides a close reading of ALP's testimony during the inquest of Yawn, a section of Finnegans Wake that has received scant critical attention. We attempt, in part, to correct the interpretive slant that often renders ALP as HCE's savior. The highly ambiguous discourse of the dream's mother/wife contains many anxious suggestions of HCE's distrust of her and ALP's threats to him. It is simultaneously riddled by wishful promises, excuses, and exonerations. Earlier fears are reiterated for emphasis in her prolonged and confusing statements, and new ones are introduced: for example, anxieties about mariticide, petitions for divorce, and questionable medical practices. In her subtle and polyvocal testimony, ALP's speech in III.3 clearly foreshadows the disturbing dimensions of her final monologue.

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