Monday, September 03, 2007

The Annotated Nexus - Page 37

37.0 It's 1926 again. Where Chapter 3 begins midway on Page 36 to the end of 37, Henry exposes us to his feelings of humiliation in relation to June. The "Paradise" that was once his love affair with her is gone. He now feels less a man, hurtfully ignored but too neurotic to leave, passively hoping for things to return as they once were, no matter how unlikely.
37.1 this little Beelzebub
[page 36] Henry refers to himself this way, in opposition to what he feels he should be (a "Man," swallowing his pride and leaving the situation). There is no universal agreement on who Beelzebub is meant to be, other than a high-ranking demon. Perhaps Henry is comparing Man to Satan; as one rank less than a Man, he is Beelzebub (often considered Satan's "second"). More likely, Henry is referencing Binfield's Classification of Demons (1589), in which each of the "seven deadly sins" is attributed to the influence a demon. Beelzebub is the demon of Gluttony. Henry, in this scenario, is being a glutton for punishment.
37.2 "I was a creature returned to the wild state."
[Page 36] This continues to idea established way back in 1.1, that Henry's humiliation had reduced him to a dog.
37.3 "I was powerless to blame her..."
[Page 36] The unnamed "her" is June Mansfield, called Mona in Nexus.
37.4 Nothing was ever lost that cannot be redeemed.
Henry sets this apart from the rest of the text; the fact that it's also set in italics suggests it's a quote. If so, I'm unable to find the source. Probably his own. Henry himself attributes it to "the God within us." He mentions it as rationalization for his actions: his foolish hope that the "Paradise" of his former loving relationship with June will return.
37.5 "Adam who survived fire and flood."
Miller adds that the quote at 37.4 may also be attributed to the Adam referenced here. This is the biblical story of Adam--the apple from the tree of knowledge being eaten, leading to eternal shame and punishment for humanity for all time etc etc. In this case, Adam is meant to represent all men (humanity, of course, managing to survive fires and flood as a species), psychologically aided in survival by a belief that redemption will eventually be found from "original sin."
___________________
It's of course dawned on me before, but doing this annotation really reminds me how often Miller used religious references in his writing. I am personally a freethinker, non-believer, heathen, athiest, whatever; so if any of you religous folk care to correct me on matters of relgious reference, feel free to do so.
<--- Previous pages 35-36 ... Next page 38 --->

2 Comments:

Anonymous Eric D. Lehman said...

We need to bring back that term "freethinker," RC. It's a fine term and one that I think would have a wide appeal. I don't hear it used too much these days.

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