J2.03 Rabbits

Annotations for Jerusalem by Alan Moore
Book 2 – Mansoul – Rabbits

Page 445 – titled Rabbits

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1 thought on “J2.03 Rabbits”

  1. DATE = 1959

    • This is the same day as Bk1 Ch12, Bk2 Ch1, and Bk2 Ch2.

    P.O.V. CHARACTER = PHYLLIS PAINTER

    • Born in 1920, currently a ghost, and leader of the Dead Dead Gang. When she was alive she lived on Scarlettwell Street and had been a member of the Compton Street Girls. She has “strawberry blonde” hair.

    • She was Michael Warren’s initial guide to Mansoul in Bk1 Ch1.

    OBSERVATIONS AND QUESTIONS:

    • The Dead Dead Gang consists of the following ghost children members:

    Bill, Phyllis’ little brother(?), formerly of the Kingsley Lads, has a “ginger head.”

    Handsome John, formerly of the Green Gang, has “sandy hair.” Phyllis secretly admires John, and it doesn’t seem like anyone calls him “Handsome” other than Phyllis, who doesn’t directly say it to him.

    Reggie Bowler, formerly of the Gas Street Mob, then the Borough Boys, has “black curls.” Reggie froze to death at age 13 in the 1860s/1870s when “sleeping rough” in Doddridge Church’s burial ground (page 467, par 1). “Rough Sleepers” is the name of Bk1 Ch4 and is a term in this book for homeless people.

    Drowned Marjorie, formerly in a secret club from Bellbarn, wears spectacles. She drowned at age 9 in a river under Spencer Bridge after jumping in to save her dog (her dog survived).

    The Dead Dead Gang got their name from the title of a book that appeared in a dream Reggie had when he was still alive, and this is a funny explanation of what it could mean: “…some people are dead lucky and some people are dead clever, but not us lot. We’re dead dead.”

    • Page 446, last par: It looks like the order of authority in Mansoul is this: Builders at the top, then Saints, then Deathmongers. The Deathmonger here is Mrs. Gibbs, who saved Michael from Sam O’Day/Asmodeus at the end of the previous chapter. She also delivered May Warren’s first child in Bk1 Ch10 and subsequently mentored May as a Deathmonger following the death of that child.

    • Page 447, last par: Mrs. Gibbs got the fish guts (that she burned to scare off Asmodeus) from “the Sheriff,” who is a “fishmonger,” and is a relative of Ben Perrit (POV from Bk1 Ch8).

    • Page 448, par 5, describing Gibbs’ apron: “Around its edges were scarab beetles picked out in green iridescent thread, Egyptian styli and Kohl-cornered eyes stitched in metallic gold.”

    In ancient Egypt, amulets carved to look like scarab beetles were an incredibly popular form of jewelry. What they represented to that culture seems quite fitting for a Deathmonger. Per Wikipedia: “In ancient Egyptian religion, the sun god Ra is seen to roll across the sky each day, transforming bodies and souls. Beetles of the Scarabaeidae family (dung beetle) roll dung into a ball as food and as a brood chamber in which to lay eggs; this way, the larvae hatch and are immediately surrounded by food. For these reasons the scarab was seen as a symbol of this heavenly cycle and of the idea of rebirth or regeneration. The Egyptian god Khepri, Ra as the rising sun, was often depicted as a scarab beetle or as a scarab beetle-headed man. The ancient Egyptians believed that Khepri renewed the sun every day before rolling it above the horizon, then carried it through the other world after sunset, only to renew it, again, the next day.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarab_(artifact)

    • Page 450, par 5: “Phyllis lifted one small hand and made the rabbit sign, her middle-and-ring-fingers touched against her thumb to form the nose, her first and little fingers raised as ears.”

    This gang sign/representation of a rabbit echoes the cliché heavy metal headbanger devil sign people throw up at metal shows. Here’s Beavis and Butthead doing so:

    However, this was not a thing until the 1970s at the earliest, so none of the Dead Dead Gang would have been inspired by heavy metal culture.

    • Page 453, last par: When Asmodeus flips out over Gibbs’ burning fish gut spell, he turns into a dragon with “a million scales as big as high-hat cymbals.” Then later when Phyllis and Michael are observing Spring Lane, the sounds they hear are “boiled down to a single susurrus, the hissing, tingling, reverberation of a cymbal struck by a soft brush” (page 470, par 4).

    Two mentions of cymbals in one chapter. I knew Moore was into symbolism, but this is straight up CYMBALISM! …ba-dum-tsss!

    [Okay that joke was bad.]

    • Page 456, par 3: As Asmodeus escapes in his morphed animal form, Phyllis “found herself thinking of the toy farm animals she’d played with as a little girl. These had been lovely painted illustrations of fat roosters, pigs and cows, printed on shiny paper and then glued to sheets of wood cut to the right shape with a jigsaw. Standing on their slotted wooden bases, they’d been absolutely realistic if you only looked at them side-on. You barely had to change the angle of your view, though, and they’d start to flatten out and look all wrong.”

    (These look something like this – http://eyesonrhi.com/painted-wooden-animals-cutouts-pdf-plans/). So looking at them as if they’re flat, they look three-dimensional (because of the painted image). But if you adjust your angle to see them as three-dimensional objects, then the image of the animal looks two-dimensional. I’m not sure my point here, other than this is at the very least ironic (and at the very most paradoxical).

    • Page 457, par 1: As Asmodeus is freaking out he also turns into “a scarlet lace of murderous tarantulas.” This totally describes Moore’s drawing of him following his encounter (https://lanceparkin.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/asmodeus.jpg). Since this is how Asmodeus apparently reacts to the smell of burning fish guts, then I think it’s therefore safe to assume that back in the 1990s when Moore encountered the demon, someone must have been frying fish in the other room (or perhaps Moore had eaten fish for lunch and Asmodeus could smell it on his breath) haha.

    • Page 459, par 2: “West is future, East is past, all things linger, all things last.”

    Phyllis thinks this to herself, it is italicized, and it seems to be a rhyme making it easier for people to remember which direction goes backward or forward in time (kind of like “liquor before beer, you’re in the clear; beer before liquor, you’ve never been sicker” haha).

    The sun rises in the East and sets in the West, so this rhyme parallels that. This also recalls Gibbs’ embroidered scarabs, which could represent the sun’s path/Ra/etc to some degree.

    • Page 468, last par: Rabbits are “the ‘oly magic animal around here, along with pigeons.”

    It’s noted that rabbits are female and pigeons are male, and also that the rich folk see the poor folk of the Boroughs as vermin.

    • Page 483, par 2: “You could almost hear the clockwork turning in the infant’s head…”

    The word “clockwork” is an obvious reference to Moore’s true magnum opus, The Watchmen, which is considered one of the greatest graphic novels of all time, and is listed as one of the “100 best novels since 1923” by a prominent magazine that’s owned by the publisher of The Watchmen. The Watchmen deconstructed, reinvigorated, and has influenced the superhero genre since the 1980s by showing that even masked heroes have to deal with dark, adult issues such as violent vigilantism, nudity, and trenchcoats. Fortunately, The Watchmen has been able to rise above the petty grumpiness expressed by its reclusive, ungrateful author and has blossomed into a multi-media, multi-million dollar superhero franchise (in an era where multi-media, multi-million dollar superhero franchises are bigger and better than ever!), thus honoring the fans’ God-given right to collect prequels, sequels, and adaptations featuring their beloved The Watchmen characters.

    [I’m sorry. The above paragraph is entirely sarcastic. I’m slightly sleep deprived and apparently slipped into spoof mode for a minute there haha. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not making fun of anyone who liked Watchmen as a comic (which includes myself). I’m making fun of the general mainstream attitude recently flung at Moore and his work.]

    THESE LINES MADE ME LAUGH:

    • Page 447, par 4: Gibbs to the Dead Dead Gang: “Come on. Look lively, now.”

    • Page 451, par 1: “Poor kid, he looked scared to death and then scared back to life again.”

    • Page 455, par 1, Handsome John to Michael: “Here, I’ll tell you what, we’ll let you be an honorary member for the time you’re up here, like a sort of mascot or a regimental goat. Then, if one day you manage to die properly, we’ll take you on full time. How’s that?”

    • Page 472, par 6: Crazy people and intoxicated people can sometimes see ghosts, and “That’s why yer get more ‘aunted pubs than any other sort of building, because dead folk like a place where there’s a chance someone wizzle be drunk enough to notice them.”

    • Page 472, par 8-9: “What’s a ghost-seam?” “Funny, till yer get to know ‘im.”

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