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From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: (urth) Why I Think Pan
Date: Wed, 23 Jul 97 14:26:00 GMT

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

Reply:  Item #3748604 from URTH@LISTS.BEST.COM@INTERNET#


I think you've already stated all the pieces that made me guess
Peter's last name as Pan.  First the ending suggests that Peter has a
last name older than Palmieri; then the not growing up, the playing
pirates, the island, the interaction with a big sister/two brothers.

Re: the island as deathland.  Yes, definitely.  Just like the shore
of the averns; the skiff, the number of passengers threatening to
sink the skiff, the space bending, the weird guide.

But as you nearly say, Cassonsville itself is part fairyland.  You can
only get there by a ride from a denizen.  Pete's "welcome" had run
out until he got the ride with Ernie Cotha.

And the whole "changeling" mythology is fairy based/driven.  A fairy
baby or elder is substituted for a human baby--the human baby is
taken to work in the fairy labor system (shades of "A Cabin on the
Coast") or pollenate the fairies (like Severian in the cave on the
island with Apheta in Yesod).  After this task is complete, the
fairies dispose of the human baby, usually by letting it go back
"home" only displaced in time.

Peter Pan obviously has a great deal of fairy to him, which is why
I'm so eager to tie him to little Peter Palmieri.  Peter Palmieri is
the fairy changeling of the title, but like many Wolfe stories, the
focus is on paradox, how the human baby goes through an awful lot of
changes (making it a "changeling") while the fairy changeling remains
unchanged--static.  We might also be close to "hero wrestles with
his own shadow"; again, Weer vs. Bobby Black, Severian and
Apu-Punchau vs. Hildegrin the Badger, (Peter Pan vs. his shadow?).

Hey, good point--twenty-nine year old Pete was supposed to have
nocturnal reunion in motel room with thirty-something Maria, leading
to marriage, and then eight-year-old Peter could latch onto a new
nuclear unit.  Nice!  The sugar lump (cassons?) for the overworked
little burro (note that Pete calls Papa a burro; and that Papa is the
only other one who knows about Peter's weirdness), but the burro

Re: "contemptable situation of an able-bodied man living off the
gifts of others, who treat him as a guru.  Pete has moved into the
mentality of Hinduism," well . . . anchorites, cenobites, stylites
(sp?); monks, nuns, saints, and martyrs all have a place in
Christianity (some branches, at least <g>).


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