J2.06 Mental Fights

Annotations for Jerusalem by Alan Moore
Book 2 – Mansoul – Mental Fights

Page 557 – titled Mental Fights

  • Note: In the index, the title is incorrectly stated as “Flights” but a comment from the publisher confirms that it should be “Fights.”
  • The title references the final stanza of Blake’s poem-anthem Jerusalem:
    “I will not cease from Mental Fight,
    Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
    Till we have built Jerusalem,
    In Englands green & pleasant Land”

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6 thoughts on “J2.06 Mental Fights”

  1. DATE: 1959…ish

    • 1959 was when 3-year-old Michael died and entered Mansoul, and he’s the POV of this chapter, so despite all of time existing at once here, I’m still kind of considering this 1959 (also because Michael has already found out he survives/leaves Mansoul a few days after dying, still in 1959).

    P.O.V. CHARACTER: MICHAEL WARREN

    • He was previously the P.O.V. character in Bk1 Ch1, Bk1 Ch12, Bk2 Ch1, and Bk2 Ch4.

    OBSERVATIONS AND QUESTIONS:

    • Page 557, par 1: The Builders also use the unpacking language previously used by the Angles/Master Builders, “calling to each other in a language where each syllable flowered to an intricate and lyric garden.”

    The Builders wear “soft pigeon-gray” and sandals (opposed to white and bare feet like the Master Builders), and Michael observes that they seem to be “of a different rank,” like “labourers” (page 557, par 2). Also, the Builders do not leave trails behind (page 562, par 3).

    • Page 558, bottom: The drawn symbol here is the same as the brand that Henry/Black Charley (POV from Bk1 Ch 7) has on his chest and means “Justice Above the Street” (page 562, par 6), a motto that represents “The Works…where the first Borough is established.”

    • Page 559 & page 590, last par – more information on the four symbols carved on each corner of the snooker table:

    CROSS = SOUTHEAST: “the fiery quarter of the spirit,” representing “Mercy,” and associated with the Arch-Builder Mikael.

    CASTLE = SOUTHWEST: “the airy quadrant governing material majesty,” representing “Authority,” and associated with the Arch-Builder Gabriel.

    PHALLUS = NORTHWEST: “a watery and female quarter; the site of penetration and invasion,” representing “Novelty,” and associated with the Arch-Builder Raphael.

    DEATHS-HEAD = NORTHEAST: “the earthy part of the design and to it is attributed demise,” representing “Severity,” and associated with the Arch-Builder Uriel.

    It is also noted that these glyphs represent the four Master Angles’ temperaments and humours (and also implies that the terms “Arch-Builder” and “Master Angle” are synonymous).

    • Page 562, penultimate par: As Michael observes the tiles on the floor he notices that “the elaborate pattern was ingeniously composed of two repeated shapes that had been artfully contrived to interlock, one of the forms arranged to fit into the empty gaps between the carefully-spaced outlines of the other.”

    This is very reminiscent of the art of M.C. Escher, specifically this style of his:

    We find out that there are 72 ex-builders (also called “devils”) who were flattened into a two-dimensional existence “by the Master Angles and their armies during the foundation of the mortal and material realm” (page 563, par 3).

    Escher also plays around with three-dimensional creatures flattening into two-dimensional patterns in pieces like this:

    Jerusalem notes that the images in these tiles are actually moving, which, considering how they are interlinked is just…that’s just a damn trippy visual!

    • Page 565, par 2: Looking at the staircase full of “curdled nebulae and comet smears,” Michael realizes that “it was a fire escape made out of universe, though he supposed they all were really, when you stopped to think.”

    Haha yeah, EVERYTHING is technically “made out of universe” – good one, Michael!

    • Page 567, par 3: “Asmoday, in the arrangement of ten rings or tori by which Hell and Heaven are composed, is the demonic ruler of the Fifth plane and is thus associated principally with Wrath.”

    This seems worth noting. Plus, apparently the plural of “torus” is “tori.”

    Michael also learns that Asmoday is #32 (of the 72 devils), and, “it seemed, was not just any common devil. He had beaten up King Solomon despite the king’s almighty magic ring which he’d been given by a Master Angle. He was ‘the most terrible of all the devils.’”

    • Page 568, par 4: Upon seeing “two to three hundred ghosts,” Michael asks The Dead Dead Gang “if there was a special word like ‘pride’ or ‘flock’ or ‘herd’” for a group of phantoms.

    Phyllis says the term is “a persistence,” Bill says the term is “an embarrassment,” and then John says the term is actually “a Naseby,” going on to explain that Naseby is where the final battle of the English Civil War took place.

    • Page 571, par 2-10: We learn that if people dream of something enough it will end up in Mansoul – and that this applies to people as well as things. Additionally, future dreams can wander east and therefore end up here, where they have yet to be dreamed.

    One of these people dreamed-into-a-Mansoulian-existence is a black cowboy, and, upon reading this, the song “Black Cowboy” by Jeru Da Damaja popped into my head. I’m pretty sure that no one will get that reference (and I’m also pretty sure that Alan Moore is NOT meta-textually referencing this relatively obscure, mid-1990s American hip hop artist, BUT bare with me here haha.)

    After first dismissing this as coincidence (which it has to be), I couldn’t help but notice these parallels with the song beyond the name “Black Cowboy”:

    The song is by Jeru Da Damaja. “Jeru” is likely derived from “Jerusalem.” “Da Damaja” is reminiscent of “The Destructor.”

    The song is from Jeru’s album called “Wrath of the Math.” “Wrath” is apparently Asmodeus’ thing per this chapter, and “math” has been pretty important so far.

    One of the songs lyrics is about “putting emcees on the ceiling like Michelangelo did the Sistine Chapel.” An “emcee” stands for “master of ceremonies” and is AKA “M.C.,” which is M.C. Escher’s first initials. Plus, Ernest Vernall first met a Master Angle while doing touch-ups on a painted church ceiling back in Bk1 Ch2!

    Coincidence? …yes, yes definitely coincidence. Enough of these Bible Code/da Vinci Code style bullshit connections haha!

    I promise not to ramble on about whatever song pops into my head from now on.

    • Page 572, last par: “The hybrid creature, half man, half St. Elmo’s Fire, continued forward in small painful steps along the landing.”

    Here’s a link to the hit single from the soundtrack to the film St. Elmo’s Fire…I’m kidding, I’M KIDDING haha!

    • Page 573, last par – This is a good line regarding war and the concept of “blowback” (https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/afghanistan/2005-10-01/blowback-revisited):

    “There’s no country that can stick it’s ‘and up and say ‘No, not us, mate. We’re not like that.’ Those times are long gone, all that God, King and Country bollocks. We know better now.”

    • Page 577, par 5: When Bill is telling Michael about the war in Iraq, etc, Michael is “puzzled over other matters, such as how it was that Phyllis Painter could remember so far back into the 1920s and around then, before Michael had been born, and yet appeared to have survived to a much later date than any of her fellow Dead Dead Gangsters, Bill excepted.”

    Yeah, what the hell? So Phyllis and Bill must have lived to be 100 years old or so? Perhaps this observation will BILLd into something that will PHYLLIS in on this apparent side mystery haha.

    • Page 579, last par: “Each droplet was a geometric lattice, like a snowflake, but in three dimensions so that they resembled silver balls with intricately carven filigree that you could peer through to the empty space inside; these tiny structures somehow built from liquid water rather than from ice.”

    Cool visual. Maybe this is what that snowflake like shape on the cover is?

    • Page 591, par 1: Holy shit, Michael is MENTIONED IN the pamphlet that he’s reading?? I suppose that makes sense (since all time here is at once). It also notes that he is the “disputed Soul,” the “event of 1959.”

    THESE LINES MADE ME LAUGH:

    • Page 571, par 5: “There then ensued an unproductive several moments in which Bill attempted to explain all about beetles dressed as walruses before he realized he was talking about things that hadn’t happened during John’s or Michael’s lifetimes.”

    • Page 574, par 5: “He also realized that the reason why the older phantoms crowded straight back in and jostled the wraith-kids out of the way was more than likely Phyllis Painter’s rabbit scarf, which obviously had its uses.”

    • Page 580, par 3: “…the injured Master Builder reeled back swearing in his own unraveled language. Michael somehow knew that with each curse, somewhere across the world a vineyard failed, a school was closed, a struggling artist gave up in despair.”

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  2. Page 570, par 2: “It looked like a kind of wigwam made of rushes, with a hollow wooden tube protruding from its upper reaches that looked something like a beak [….] As they passed it, Michael noticed that it walked on stilts [….]”

    Here, the characters are looking at the protagonist of the third chapter (“In the Drownings”) of “Voice of the Fire”. There are other references to Moore’s first novel in “Jerusalem”, but I believe this one may be the easiest one to miss.

    Liked by 1 person

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