Chapter 8 footnotes 117 and 119 Johnny’s story

Jonny’s Story

Pages 99 – 100 and pages 103-6

Footnote 117: the mention of jonny altering the text (and as he mentions in this note that such changes can dramatically alter the tone of the entry) despite trying to preserve the text in it’s original state he doesn’t seem able to maintain perfect intergerty further altering out perception of the original text and possibly changing the tone of parts of the text to come.

Footnote 119:

Page 103

Lines 2-3: “…those months in Alaska.” Its interesting to note the last chapter’s opening quote had to do with a young man venturing through Alaska.

Lines 4-5: “…more like thirteen going on thirty-three…” its hard to believe that jonny got a job in alaska in a factory at 13 but the middle point between 13 an 33 ( [13 + 33]/2 = 23 ) is a more believabe age for him to have made it to alaska and gotten employment.

page 104

Line 22: “I’d been invited out on a fishing boat…” this story is rather approiate given the SOS morris code theme (which originated for notical use).

page 105

Line 19: “Where she’s concerned I’m happy to repeat my self.” Jonny’s relation ship with Thumper reminds me of the relationship between Echo and Narccissis (Jonny being Echo and Thumper being Narccissis)

Page 106

Lines 17-8:

“…in a German Homonyn for the wispered Word..” This passage has always puzzled me and the best I can get is this interpetation from the HOL forums:

“Sorry to disappoint you, D, but I’m not at all sure what this refers to, since the identity of the homonym kind of depends on that of the ‘whispered Word’.

The Word, of course, is God, but that doesn’t really fit here (since ‘god’ doesn’t mean anything in German), but I wonder if it matters whether it’s the Hebrew davhar or the Greek logos we’re dealing with here. ‘We are only god’s echoes’, as H.E. Rose tells us on p. 45, but in this instance there are no echoes, so does that mean we don’t exist? Or that God doesn’t? Or perhaps both? By which I mean neither?

Another word which follows hard on the ‘echo ramble’ is of course ‘your word’ (p. 48, cf. p. xxii):

  • …the failure which began it all in the first place, probably right after one burning maze but still years ahead of the Other loss, a horrible violence, before the coming of that great Whale, before the final drift, nod, macking skid, twist and topple—his own burning—years before the long rest, coming along in its own way, its own nightmare, perhaps even in the folds of another unprotected sleep (so I like to imagine), silvering wings fragmenting then scattering like fish scales flung on the jet stream, above the clouds and every epic venture still suggested in those delicate, light-cradled borders—Other Lands—sweeping the world like a whisper, a hand, even if salmon scales still slip through words as easily as palmed prisms of salt will always slip through fingers, shimmering, raining, confused, and no matter how spectacular forever unable to prevent his fall, down through the silver, the salmon, away from the gold and myriad of games held in just that word, suggesting it might have been Spanish gold, though this makes no difference…

You don’t need me to point out the intensely personal nature of this passage, or the fact that this is, on the whole, (and I quote) ‘one fucker of a footnote’.

There are nevertheless some resonances between this passage and the ‘German homonym’ passage on p. 106, and I think it’s fairly clear that he’s talking, at least in part, about his parents in both instances. ‘the coming of that great Whale’ obviously refers to the Whalestoe, and indeed ‘the Other loss’ might be read as a reference to the loss of his mOther. The macking skid, on the other hand, is clearly a reference to his father’s death (p. 585: ‘the Mack truck he was in swerved into a ditch and caught fire’, hence ‘his own burning’, as juxtaposed, presumbably, with Johnny’s burnt arms, which created the ‘burning maze’ of scars on his forearms), the ‘nod’ presumbably belonging to the driver who ‘had fallen asleep at the wheel’, which is then brought up again on the following page with the mention of Sleep, ‘that bloody handmaiden’.
But all that is by the by, really; it’s just so easy to get lost in this passage. What initially drew my attention to it in this context is the mention of ‘a whisper, a hand’, sweeping the world (in fact I’m not quite sure what is meant to be sweeping the world; is it the salmon scales, or the failure which began it all? — In any case Johnny seems to have appropriated the ‘school of salmon’ from the previous page and married it to the salmon he knew from Alaska (p. 104)), and the ‘word’, not just ‘your word’ but also ‘the myriad games held in just that word’, where again I’m not sure which word he’s talking about; gold, or your word?

Interestingly (maybe), in footnote 62 there is a movement ‘away from the gold’, whereas on p. 106 we are ‘flung high above the rust and circling kites’. Trenton’s Truck, on p. 325 is described as an ‘idling hunk of rust and gold’. There are ‘monuments of rust’ at the place Raymond takes Johnny on p. 93, so I’m wondering whether perhaps Johnny unites his two fathers in this mythical Truck, or indeed whether Johnny pictures Raymond as the driver of the Mack truck, and thus responsible for his father’s death.

So, all this to say essentially that I don’t know what the German homonym is.

So sorry.”

-fearful_syzygy source

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5 thoughts on “Chapter 8 footnotes 117 and 119 Johnny’s story

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