Yes I Said Yes I Will Do A Consolidation Post Yes
I seem to have misread the syllabus in that I posted critical annotation on Monday when I was supposed to have posted today, so I will take the liberty of doing the consolidation post for my obsession since I have not done that yet.
It goes without saying that having the obsession of ‘yes and no’ pays off in Penelope, as the overwhelming amount of ‘yes’ on the final two pages concludes a colossal book filled with many themes and obsessions. Reaching this point, I find that I’m re-examining my interpretation of yes and no throughout the novel. I originally framed my obsession by looking at textual appearances of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ as well as more figurative moments of affirmation and rejection/denial that do no explictly say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ While certain moments in the text definitely applied to the latter of these two ‘yes and no’ categories, I think it will best to focus more on textual appearances of the two words, since that on its own provides considerable debate. For example, what do we make of moments where characters use words that literally mean ‘yes’ or ‘no’, like Molly’s ‘Mn’ in Calypso and the numerous instances of ‘ay’ in the later episodes? And what about moments when ‘yes’ appears in other words, like ‘eyes,’ ‘Keyes,’ and ‘Yessex’?
I’ve also begun re-skimming the book for my numerous circlings of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ appearances, finding that in almost all cases, ‘yes’ is tied to a punctuation mark of some kind, be it a period, comma, question mark, or exclamation point. One way of looking at this in the context of Penelope is to say that Joyce has been preparing us for the eruption of ‘yes’ in the end by steady repetition of the word throughout the novel, and that yes becomes the punctuation that Penelope is lacking. I’m slightly hesitant about this though because it is fairly common for yes to be followed by a punctuation mark in any context. Also, is yes punctuating if it is part of another word, such as the ones I’ve listed above?
I’ve got more questions but I think this will do for now.