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From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) Peace of Mind
Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 09:33:18 

On Tue, 25 Aug 1998, Alex David Groce wrote:

> 	I still find the "Purgatorio" hypothesis to fit best with my
> interpretation of "Peace".  This IS Weer's life as it was lived (or, perhaps,
> as he tells it to himself, which may be subtly different than the real thing).
> 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.
> Only after death can Weer "know" his life.
>   Ironically, the purpose of the binding is to set Weer free, to no longer
> haunt his house or his skull, but to the an only hinted at something else
> (which I think is what the Chinese head-rest at the end indicates, a "popping"
> of a layer of reality, a joining of the other "purged" dead--his Aunt is
> calling him, after all.)
>  The story of the Sidhe suggests that this "unnatural" extension of Weer's self
> is about to be replaced by a true immortality (true/false immortalities are a
> favorite theme of Wolfe's).  He has outlived his time in his skull, on Earth,
> and now comes a baptism of Father, Son and Holy Ghost to give him Peace.
> "'. . . The time of the sidhe is long past, and the time of geese is passing.
>  And in time men, too, will pass, as every man who lives long learns in his own
> body. But Jesus Christ saves all.'"

While I must admit that I'm still enamored of my own "it's a Chinese
pillow dream of a possible life" theory, I have to admit that your
interpretation works pretty well, is satisfying, and strikes me as
possibly closer to Wolfe's intent.  It also has the virtue of not
undermining the reality of all the other fascinating characters in Weer's

One thing about the dream idea, is that it bears some similarity to the
idea we've been discussing in tBotNS of there being several Severians
living his life over and over until he gets it right (an idea much more
Eastern than Christian).  Except I don't think Weer is going to literally
relive his life, it's more like Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Future. 

> 	Actually, this line has always given me the haunting image of that elm
> falling over Weer's grave not just fifty years later, but perhaps even after
> (for whatever reason) men no longer live...

Now you've haunted me too.  


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

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