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From: "William H. Ansley" <wansley@warwick.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) Weer is not dead.
Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 00:12:07 

Rostrum (Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>) said:

>then, at the end of the book he wakes up, with the opportunity to make a
>choice (perhaps the choice not to fight/kill Bobby that day?  Is that
>where it all started to go wrong?)

"Alex David Groce" <adgroce@eos.ncsu.edu> said:

>Necronomicon, "the book that binds the dead," is appropriate, in that it is by
>binding his life into a story that Weer comes to terms with his painful
>(although not, in my opinion, murderou, other than Bobby) and solitary life.

I really find it hard to support the idea that a five-year-old Alden Dennis
Weer can be said to have *murdered* Bobby Black. They were engaged in what
seems to be normal, if somewhat rough, play. Also, if we can believe Weer,
and if we can't then we have no witness to the events at all, he didn't
push Bobby. They were wrestling on the stairs and both (probably) fell.
(See _Peace_, p. 8, the short middle paragraph, Orb ed.) Weer also gives us
no motive; he seems to have no reason to kill Bobby. Weer certainly seems
to dislike him, but I get the impression that Bobby Black is an older, or
at least bigger, kid and a bully.

In any case, the events that up to Bobby's death seem to be an accident,
unless Weer is lying (always possible) or just mis-remembering to suit his
own sense of what should have happened (as he says he may be doing to a set
of Christmas memories - p. 20 last paragraph and continuing onto p. 21).
But again, who else do we have to ask?

What I am trying to say here is that I find this event to be a very poor
choice for a turning point in Weer's life, if it is one. Weer is too young
to realize the consequences of his actions and his actions certainly do not
lead inevitably to Bobby Black's death. It really is not a matter of
choosing to push or not push Bobby, but a choice of whether to fight him or
not fight (leaving capitulation or flight, if flight from the attic is even
possible). So it seems to me that we have a boy of five who has to make a
choice to eschew violence or embrace it, a choice that will change his life
forever, if we accept that this is seminal event that forms Weer into what
he becomes.

Let me try to be clear (for a change) one final time. I think that the
events that followed from Bobby Black's death (Weer's parents leaving for
Europe for two (?) years without him and his time spent under the care of
Aunt Olivia) definitely did have a great deal of influence on the man he
grew into. But, if the outcome of the fight with Bobby was a test for Weer,
I don't think it was a fair one.

By the way, Rostrum, thank you for your post from which I quoted above. It
makes the case for Weer's possible redemption better than anything I have
seen before and I found it quite heartening.

William Ansley

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

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