Page 5: Finnegan's topple

In this image I introduce two of my recurring motifs, our hero in the form of one of the little fellows from the Moone High Cross and the ladder from which he falls. I have borrowed the primitive figures from the 10th-century granite cross because of their timeless simplicity. On the east face of the cross, twelve little men standing in three groups of four men represent the twelve apostles. Joyce has twelve mourners, gossips, pub customers, and jurors making appearances throughout Finnegans Wake, and we'll meet them on the next page as "all the hoolivans of the nation".

Here, we are introduced to Finnegan as a master builder whose confidence, fuelled by alcohol, encourages him to build towers and skyscrapers not unlike the Tower of Babel. But just like Adam and Cain and Easu, who thought themselves invincible, he was bound to fall. Would he have fallen if he hadn't to rise? And would he have risen had he not fallen?