In “Only Revolutions”, there are several words and phrases that come up often in both narratives. When I read through the novel, two particular phrases stuck with me. Specifically, I was intrigued by the appearances of the “leftwrist twist” and the “jars of honey”. At first, I was a bit confused by these two phrases. I assumed that they served a similar function to the animals and plants in the novel, as they seemed to be randomly interspersed with the narrative. However, as I took note of when these phrases occurred, I made a few connections.
The honey jars that are shared by Hailey and Sam carry more significance that simply being a source of sustenance and enjoyment. Firstly, we learn on page H117 that Hailey is deathly allergic to bees. Since honey is a byproduct of bees, it can be connected to Hailey’s demise. After further reading, I noticed that Sam and Hailey repeatedly kept track of their honey reserves. I first noticed this trend on page 123 (both narratives), when they report a stockpile of 8 ½ honey jars, and it continues to dwindle. By page S238, the honey reserves have shrunken to a mere 3 ½ jars. Oddly enough, on every page where the honey jars are accounted for numerically, the flipside of the page also mentions the honey jars. If you add these two numbers, you get 12. In a way, the honey jars signify a means of keeping track of time. In addition, it seems that the honey jars have replaced other means of timekeeping in the narrative. Hailey and Sam both wear watches (the leftwrist metal twists), but they are never described as more than pieces of some metallic material. To Hailey and Sam, time is irrelevant. In the novel, time progresses over the course of 200 years, but Hailey and Sam remain relatively unchanged. This jars of honey countdown seems to be the truest method of chronology in this bizarre narrative.
Pictured above are three candle clocks. Candle clocks were used long ago to measure time. The candle burned at a constant rate, so each section of the candle would signify a segment of time. When I noticed how the jars of honey were being used in the novel, I immediately thought of alternate timekeeping methods, and candle clocks came to mind.