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From: "Tony Ellis" <tony.ellis@futurenet.co.uk>
Subject: (urth) Re: (whorl) razors here 'n' there
Date: Thu, 29 Oct 1998 13:47:01 +0000

Mantis wrote:
> This scene contains much.  That the soldier stares into the water
> like Narcissus is one thing, but that it later turns out he somehow
> looks like a male form of Jolenta (Severian shows him his face in a
> mirror and asks him if it is like the one of the most beautiful woman
> in the world; "Miles" says yes; then Severian tells him Jolenta is
> dead [ch. 6]) is an additional puzzle piece which I don't think has
> ever been addressed.  (Is the body "Miles" therefore literally the
> brother of Jolenta?

Severian omits a number of important details from his narrative, but I
can't believe he could stumble across a dead soldier who looked like
Jolenta's twin brother and not mention the fact. I think the
significance of the mirror incident is that -Miles- sees Jolenta's face,
not that Severian does. It's a confirmation of Severian's otherwise
fantastic mental leap to the conclusion that Miles has been possessed by
Jonas: the soldier's sense of self is so slight that when he looks in
the mirror all he sees is the object of Jonas's obsession. 

In which case it's not Narcissus staring into the water, but Echo - the
one who pined away for love of that self-centred little flower.

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

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