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Joyce's KaleidoscopeAn Invitation to Finnegans Wake$
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Philip Kitcher

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195321029

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195321029.001.0001

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The tasks Above are as the Flasks below

The tasks Above are as the Flasks below

(p.146) 13 The tasks Above are as the Flasks below
Joyce's Kaleidoscope

Philip Kitcher

Oxford University Press

The tasks above are as the flasks below; both are devices for coping with life. Study of the schoolbook prepares the young for the raw competition they face, equipping them to work together to overthrow their elders and make their own turn at “Old Vico Roundpoint”. Tasks and flasks function at different phases of the life cycle. The tasks are needed to provide the young with knowledge, not the official knowledge of high culture, but the worldly advice “inbourne” in Issy and the secrets of adult sexuality. The flasks provide misty comfort later, when life is descending the “street ondown”. So, even though the schoolbook is hardly what it seems, there is a “clarience” in the study upstairs that is lacking in the bar below.

Keywords:   Issy, Shem, Shaun, adult sexuality, schoolbook, flask, bar

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