J2.04 The Scarlet Well

Annotations for Jerusalem by Alan Moore
Book 2 – Mansoul – The Scarlet Well

Page 486 – titled The Scarlet Well

paragraph 1

Page 487

paragraph 1

Page 488

paragraph 1

Page 489

paragraph 1

Page 490

paragraph 1

Page 491

paragraph 1

Page 492

paragraph 1

Page 493

paragraph 1

Page 494

paragraph 1

Page 495

paragraph 1

Page 496

paragraph 1

Page 497

paragraph 1

Page 498

paragraph 1

Page 499

paragraph 1

Page 500

paragraph 1

Page 501

paragraph 1

Page 502

paragraph 1

Page 503

paragraph 1

paragraph 1

Page 504

paragraph 1

Page 505

paragraph 1

Page 506

paragraph 1

Page 507

paragraph 1

Page 508

paragraph 1

Page 509

paragraph 1

Page 510

paragraph 1

Page 511

paragraph 1

Page 512

paragraph 1

Page 513

paragraph 1

paragraph 1

Page 514

paragraph 1

Page 515

paragraph 1

Page 516

paragraph 1

Page 517

paragraph 1

Page 518

paragraph 1

Page 519

paragraph 1

 

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “J2.04 The Scarlet Well”

  1. DATE = 1959

    • I’m starting the think that, despite Michael having choked on the cough-sweet in 1959, that it it’s not necessarily accurate to consider 1959 the “date” for each chapter so far in Book 2, since Mansoul is somewhat removed from time (or consisting of all time at once?).

    On the other hand, the Dead Dead Gang and Michael apparently travel forward in time by the end of this chapter (to an era with digital alarm clocks – so maybe the 1980s at the earliest?), so perhaps it is accurate to consider these last couple chapters as having “taken place” in 1959.

    P.O.V. CHARACTER = MICHAEL WARREN

    • He was previously the POV character in Bk1 Ch1, Bk1 Ch12, and Bk2 Ch1.

    OBSERVATIONS AND QUESTIONS:

    • Page 489, last par: Mary Jane, Freddey’s brawler homeless ghost friend from Bk1 Ch4, is mentioned, and it notes that the Dead Dead Gang are scared of her (as well as the subtly nicknamed Tommy-Mangle-the-Cat).

    • Page 490, par 1-4: This is a good explanation of how some objects in the ghost-seam are more solid than others – basically that the older something is, the more solid it is (like the tree that’s 800 years old). For example, at one point one of the kids attempts to kick a bottle cap but their foot flows through it because it hasn’t been there very long.

    This actually solves a trope in ghost fiction that has annoyed me since I was a kid (bear with me here haha). In the early 1990s movie Ghost, for instance, Patrick Swayze, as a ghost, has to learn to concentrate or whatever to be able to touch objects (like a cup) instead of pass through them. However, he seems to have no problem walking up stairs or chilling on the second floor of an apartment complex or riding the subway or whatnot. Why are cups difficult to touch but subway seats not? Why can he walk through walls but doesn’t fall through floors?

    This chapter takes that trope and applies a clever logic as to how that concept works and makes sense in the ghost-seam, tying in with the overall theme of time. Good stuff.

    • Page 501-502: This confused me at first, but apparently the kids see two bicyclists overlap one another, one living and one a ghost.

    The living bicyclist is George Blackwood, who Michael is told he “should be scared of” because he’s a slumlord/pimp who represents “a kind of emptiness that gets into a place and turns it rotten. The only person not scared of him is May Warren.

    The ghost bicyclist is Henry/Black Charley (POV from Bk1 Ch7). He’s noted as being “The Mayor of Scarletwell,” and takes on the duty of warning fellow ghosts of the coming storm. No one “is more well-liked” than Henry, and he’s “one of the few ghosts, along with Mrs. Gibbs, that Phyllis shows respect for.”

    • Page 505: So Michael causing the conflict between the builders has also caused the approaching storm.

    • Page 507, par 2: This sounds like the monk’s public restroom office (visited by Freddey in Bk1 Ch4) being twistered up into the storm.

    • Page 513, par 7: The corner of this building is “a special place because it’s like an ‘inge between the First and Second Borough.”

    I’m not entirely sure I’m accurate with this, but the Second Borough = Mansoul, and the Third Borough = the head carpenter/builder dude from the opening dream sequence, so the First Borough is likely the normal now-and-here of Earth?

    • Phyllis starts “walking with a comically exaggerated tiptoe motion like a cat in a cartoon.”

    I could not help but hear pizzicato strings in my head during this sentence, which are basically sharply plucked violin strings. This is the go-to music score for tiptoeing cartoon characters, for example:

    Okay, I can’t find any examples on youtube, but I swear this is a thing haha!

    • Page 515, par 3: The Vernalls are explained to be “like deathmongers: they’re ‘uman, but their half-Upstairs even before they’ve kicked the bucket,” and then Phyllis freaks when Michael mentions he’s a Vernall descendant. She says that must be the reason he has caused so much trouble in Mansoul.

    THESE LINES MADE ME LAUGH:

    • Page 493, par 1: “Barmy or poetic, either one will do.”

    • Page 496, par1: “If he wasn’t walking through things all the time then it was easier to pretend that everything was normal, if you didn’t count the lack of colour or the burst of twenty hands he now apparently required to quietly pick his nose.”

    • Page 499, last par: “Snowy must have been a boy of Michael’s age once, long ago, who’d had a mother and a father, and so on and so on, back to times he’d heard about “when we were living in the trees,” which he’d assumed were probably the ones down in Victoria Park.”

    • Page 508, par 5: “Phyllis glinted at him, something in between glaring and squinting…”

    Like

    1. That seems like a good way of looking at it, good call.

      So Michael entered Mansoul in 1959, and therefore has no memories beyond the point of choking on the cough-sweet. But since then, Asmodeus took him a few days into the future in “An Asmodeus Flight” (where they see him returned and recovered from dying) and the Dead Dead Gang have now taken him (presumably) decades further in time to evade the storm.

      (Also, I apreciate you speculating but not giving away anything that happens beyond this chapter. I realize that I sometimes ask questions that are answered later on in the book, and by now a lot of people have already finished it.)

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s