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From: adam louis stephanides <astephan@students.uiuc.edu>
Subject: (urth) 5HC: Puss in Boots
Date: Thu, 11 Jun 1998 17:36:10 

Here's my stab at the "Puss in Boots" passage.  I can't explain it
completely, but I have a few comments (which may strike everyone else as

I'll quote the passage first, because it's short:

   _Later._ For a moment I thought I saw my cat flying like a shadow in
the dark, and I wondered if she were really dead, though I broke her neck.
The day before I found the burial cave for him, she brought me a little
animal and laid it at my feet.  I told her that she was a good cat and
could eat it herself, but she only said, "My master, the Marquis of
Carabas, sends you greetings."  And disappeared again.  The little animal
had a pointed snout and round ears, but its teeth were the even, biting
teeth of a human being, and it smiled in its agony.

1) I take it this is a dream or hallucination, since even if the cat is an
Annese, there's no reason for her to be quoting "Puss in Boots."

2) Note the similarity between the plot of "Puss in Boots" and V.R.T.'s
scheme.  In one, the miller's son assumes the identity of the Marquis of
Carabas and usurps an ogre's castle and lands after his servant Puss in
Boots kills the ogre.  In the other, V.R.T. assumes the identity of Marsch
and usurps his position after killing him.  Note, too, that the "little
animal" is mouse-like, but with a human characteristic: Puss killed the
ogre by tricking him into turning into a mouse.  So while the
correspondence is not exact, I submit that this dream or hallucination
symbolizes both Marsch's death and V.R.T.'s intended theft of his

3) From the way V.R.T. speaks of, and to, the cat here, it definitely
appears that he regards the cat as a cat, not as an Annese, whether his
girlfriend or not (and nowhere else does he speak of it differently).  Of
course, this could be a subtle bit of misdirection, but in that case it
would be much easier not to mention the cat at all.  And elsewhere in the
journal, he's a remarkably poor liar.


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