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From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: (urth) 5HC
Date: Sun, 31 May 98 17:36:00 GMT

Last night I finished reading THE FIFTH HEAD OF CERBERUS.  I think it
was the third or fourth time, the previous time being some years ago.

What a great book.

This time I am struck by the unexamined twins, Number Five and
Marsh/V.R.T.; probably unduly influenced by my own Gilgamesh/Enkidu
note from before.

Both are in quasi-Oedipal conflicts ("quasi-" because the father
figure isn't their father and because there is no mother involved as
goal/reward/reason).  Both are murderers.  Both plan to use beards as
a disguise (Number Five to mimic Number Four; V.R.T. to signal to
other abos that he is now a man).  They are apprehended and
imprisoned at the same time for the same crime (murder of Number
Four).  They are in the same prison for a while, but then the urban
one is sent into the wilderness and the wild one is put into a
cramped cell.

These two have very little contact with each other.  Yet information
=seems= on occassion to flow from Number Five to Marsh/V.R.T. in the
E.S.P. way that twins are fabled to have; in the way depicted between
the twins-separated-at-birth in the "fiction" of "A Story."

This is very faint.

Number Five's dream of court fenced with Corinthian pillars is echoed
in the abo dream of the obvervatory on Sainte Anne (where one brother
is a priest dreamwatching his hillman twin), which is then traced to
the anthropological notes regarding the cedar-stump ruins of the

Fainter still: the awakening from sleep of Number Five, "He wants
you"; the awakening from sleep of Marsh/V.R.T. "You are wanted."

Which leads me to another appreciation of the "V"; granted this is
mantic, but disregarding the "five" aspect of the symbol, we see two
"I"s (ones; selves) which converge into one at the end.

Then, at the end of the book, just as things are taking on more solid
form, suddenly it seems like the planet is crawling with abos.  The
officer with his scarred head (V.R.T.) links to the head-scarring
practices of the marshmen (A Story).

Okay, granted that "A Story" is (probably) generated by Marsh/V.R.T.
while in prison, after he has been arrested by the scarred officer.
But there are other things that Marsh/V.R.T. doesn't see: the same
officer washing himself post-coitus links to the fictitious abo doing
the same in "A Story" and to the boy V.R.T. doing the same in the
April 12 entry. (Again: that "A Story" links to the anthro journal in
"V.R.T." is to be expected; it is the other linkage that causes some

In addition, Cassilla seems like an abo, from what we know about abo
female prostitutes (shape shifting, make themselves ugly when they
aren't in the mood, green eyes?  [Is this an echo of their world
color, the green of Sainte Anne?  If so, gee, blue eyes might be for
Sainte Croix.].

Then there is the Edgar Allen Poe sequence: the officer is distracted
by a one-eyed black cat; then by a mysterious black bird that flies
in and perches on the picture frame--one almost expects the bird to
croak, "Nevermore."  Both creatures in Poe's work signal missing
women: the first a murdered wife, the second a wife lost to disease.
Regardless of that, animal messengers are a part of the abo world
rather than that of the colonist.

Anyway, if the place is overrun with abos (i.e., Veil's Theory), then
one side of the conflict between the two worlds could be the same old
ancient hill versus marsh battle depicted in the fiction of "A Story."
And Cassilla might be the presumed dead cat-girl, working out her
revenge upon the traitor-to-his-race-and-girlfriend Marsh/V.R.T.
With Number Five the doomed heir of the only "pure" humans left.


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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