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Finnegans Wake Study Guide & Plot Summary

This Study Guide consists of approximately 45 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Finnegans Wake.
This section contains 419 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
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Finnegans Wake Summary & Study Guide Description

Finnegans Wake Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on Finnegans Wake by James Joyce.

Plot Summary

Finnegan's Wake is a classic of modern Irish literature. The author represents the tremendous effort by the Irish to reclaim and reassert their ethnic identity after conquest by the English in Britain. The author was an Irishman who proved the adage that money does not make the man. Ireland had succeeded in establishing high quality schools and through this, thanks largely to this gift, he willingly proved himself to be a literary genius. It may be worth noting that James Joyce was not entirely conventional nor anti-conventional in his lifestyle. He had a decades long romance with Nora Barnacle. However, it is a well known fact that they cohabited for nearly 20 years prior to marrying each other. James Joyce died eleven years after they wed. Finnegan's Wake was a challenge for him to publish and he was able to do this by having a serialized version of it accepted.

There is not anything resembling a normal storyline. The author's writing style and language flow in a way which, while it seems perfectly natural, is also dumbfounding. Sadly, it is not simply because the author is so brilliant but actually because his writing is like a game in itself. Reading it is akin to listening to speech in an unfamiliar accent intermingled with root literary sources of references such as the jabberwocky—famous nonsense. The Irish wake has been an important ritual for some time. The author is largely showing off and having fun with this piece of literature. It was sure to please some audiences, but was best suited to the worldly sort who sports a great sense of humor. The author did not come from great wealth and as such combined humble beginning and natural genius with an excellent education. North American readers will have some sense of familiarity with this condition as it is about a sort of uplifting of the lower classes of people. Temperaments, behaviors and attitudes formed by economic realities melded with the capacity for far reaching thought and erudition of the highly educated classes can make for a sometimes puzzling mix of characteristics. Joyce's reality was that of a well educated Irishman from the lower classes living on the European main continent. This in itself is a specifically Irish condition; even today, one of Ireland's most valuable exports is its young people—grown, educated and sent from their small island of Ireland into the greater world. Finally, readers should bear in mind that Joyce marks the transition from the 19th century into the 20th.

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This section contains 419 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Finnegans Wake Study Guide
Copyrights
Finnegans Wake from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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