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From: "Mark Millman" <Mark_Millman@hmco.com>
Subject: Re: (urth) Re: Moby Wolfe [Digest urth.v022.n038]
Date: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 10:51:48 

On Friday 5 February 1999 at 2:08 pm GMT,
John Bishop wrote:

> Quequeeg is probably not Andean; many
> of the whalers were Native Americans from
> New England (e.g. the "Gay Head Indians"
> who were in the news a few years ago when
> they had a run-in with Jackie Kennedy over
> land on Martha's Vineyard), others came
> from all over; but the makers of shrunken
> heads are the Jivaro
> [http://users1.ee.net/pmason/shrunk2.html],
> who are from Brazilian or Ecuadorian low-
> land forests.  On the other hand, he may just
> have picked up the technique as a way of
> making money from other people's prejudices.
> Personally, given his tatoos, I suspect he's a
> Pacific Islander--Hawaiian, Tahitian, Samoan
> or Maori: the whalers were active in the Pacific
> and recruited anywhere they could get cheap,
> tough workers.

As it happens, the Maori also preserved trophy
heads (part of the object was to preserve the
victim's tattoos), although I don't belive that they
shrunk them.  It certainly is the Jivaro who are
best known for the practice and who made the
stereotypical shrunken heads.  I don't know
whether the Samoans, who were notoriously
belligerent, had a similar tradition.

Like Rostrum, I noticed that Severian was
sharing a bed with a stranger whom he at
first finds threatening but later grew to trust
(and also like Rostrum, I didn't get any further
correspondences at the time).  Of course,
unlike Ishmael, Severian eventually finds
himself fighting his former companion.
Though it is, interestingly, a water-borne
assault that results in a fight with dreamlike
elements.  Perhaps Baldanders--who disap-
pears into Lake Diuturna and eventually comes
to inhabit the ocean--actually takes on the
whale's role in Severian's life for a time.

> o  And who would be Ahab?

Maybe Severian is Ahab as well as Ishmael--
but Severian, unlike Ahab, achieves redemption.

Mark Millman

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

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