|A Reader's Guide
to William Gaddis's The Recognitions
Pages 390-445; Thursday, 22 December 1949.
Arriving back home in New England at dawn, Wyatt makes his way to the parsonage, a dense interior monologue occupying him until he comes upon his father in front of the parsonage addressing the sun. Wyatt's return, however, is distorted in the imaginations of his father (who thinks he has returned to be a priest of Mithra), the Town Carpenter (who thinks he is Prester John, lately arrived "from Ethiopia and the three Indies" ), Janet (who mistakes his arrival for the second coming of Christ), the Use-Me Ladies (who assume he is the Reverend Gilbert Sullivan), and even Wyatt himself, who sees himself as the reincarnation of John Huss.
Janet, though, brooding on Matt. 24:24, finally decides Wyatt is a false Christ and, overturning her printing press, she runs to the carriage barn to offer herself to a bull (ŗ la PasiphaŽ). Wyatt runs to find his father there too, checking on the bull in the thunderstorm, and in the most dramatic scene in the novel Wyatt demands of his father: "Am I the man for whom Christ died?" as lightning crashes into the barn. Receiving no answer and realizing his return has been a mistake, Wyatt boards a train back to New York, but not before buying a "griffin's egg" at the depot tavern.
Returning to the city at eleven that night, Wyatt goes first to Brown's. He is away on a business trip, however, and Wyatt discovers Fuller using sympathetic magic (ŗ la Frazer) in an attempt to destroy his employer.
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