Thursday, July 25, 2013
The Moran part and the Molloy part of the book gesture at a meeting but they never meet; Lousse might want to communicate with Molloy but she must hide in a bush and stare at him like a shy cockroach, and the Moran and Molloy parts might be the same story in two registers but that's not definite: this is a conclusion that needs to be approached from two directions (a Molloy direction and a Moran direction, the cry from one answered by the other, some firm clue that Moran is writing Molloy, for example -- evidence that he is deranged and imagining his prey on a bicycle as he himself has been on a bicycle and in a forest as he has been in a forest) but the points do not touch and merge (there are only those similarities that are so uncannily like coincidences, and then a further gesture -- go and find Molloy, Moran's told, and he does not find the man's body but he finds the shapes of his behaviour, which he inhabits in his own way, riding a bicycle or bopping people), so there is no certainty, only the possibility of one if some further conditions are met but they are not met, they are only announced, they are possible -- and once you've finished enumerating them you will have to say that they are not conclusive, so you have gone all this way to dwell in ambiguity, "capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason," wrote Keats -- and many things are possible; it is possible that Molloy might be able to speak unselfconsciously one day, for example; it is possible that his hat might stay on, although by positing these possibilities only to deny them and in fact make that denial part of the essential character of Molloy's universe the book makes sure that they are impossible.
There are gaps between the possible and the achievement of the possible and I think these gaps produce an illustration of stasis -- in another book the action might move into the possible climax but in this book it can't. The characters struggle but they struggle stilly. Even going backwards would be a direction. And when I write "direction" I remember those ways in which the prose will develop an intense concentration on the location of a thing: is the stone in the right trouser pocket or the left shirt pocket, and is a person in Turdy or are they in Turdyba? But the idea of location is conjured up only so that it can be made ridiculous, with this man arranging stones in his pockets and these areas named after turds. Then the ridiculous mother, who is also a location.
The two narrators are trying to get somewhere but location itself seems silly; the fundamental nature of their quests was mad from the start, for they are trying to reach these ridiculous things, locations. And there is an edge of ridicule in the location of the cows because the language gives them the characters of rote objects. Which is not merely Beckett's language but language he has borrowed.