FIND in
<--prev V24 next-->

From: "Alex David Groce" <adgroce@eos.ncsu.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) Re: Adam and Atom
Date: Sun, 4 Apr 1999 01:40:47 

On Apr 3,  7:19pm, Roy C. Lackey wrote:
>     The Hierodules bow down to Severian. Why? He wouldn't even be on my long
> list of candidates for world savior. The only reason given in the text is
> his "perfect memory". When did that become a criterion for saviors, much
> less the supreme one? Severian is a thoroughly despicable lout, cruel,
> callous, stupid, woefully ignorant, a murderer, and has the morals of a dog.
> Eata was a better man; he could rise above his upbringing and leave it
> behind. Severian never does. Jonas was a better man, and he wasn't even a
> man. Severian is blown about like a tumbleweed all through the Urth cycle,
> seldom in control of his own life for any length of time, a perpetual victim
> of circumstances. In that, he is very like Green of _There Are Doors_, but
> without Green's innocence.

	Yes and no.  Severian perfect saviour?  Definitely not.  (Hence Wolfe's
various denials that Sev. is exactly a Christ figure.)  But...  Sure Severian
is often a lout, and unlike Silk, the reader won't necessarily come to even
-like- him.  On the other hand, as I think PEACE and BOTNS would suggest, Wolfe
probably doesn't see Severian as an anti-hero, but as like a real man.  In
this, I think there's a point--not an anti-hero, but a dark everyman.  Wolfe
protagonists are often murderous, cold, confused, or mad--from "Seven American
Nights" to "The Death of Dr. Island" to "The Doctor of Death Island" to
"Tracking Song."  Sure, there are innocents--Tib in "The Eyeflash Miracles,"
and in a more complex but essentially innocent portrait, Silk (I very much like
Alga's comparison to Dostoyevsky's Myshkin).  But in general, Wolfe tends to
focus on very flawed characters.  A prime example would be the man in "The
	However, I don't think he means us to reject these figures--rather, to
see ourselves in them, with veins of dark and light.  A picture of a (to sue
the religious terms that are relevant) sinful but redeemable man.  And I think
it's clear that there IS moral growth in Severian throughout the BOTNS.  The
final talk with Palaemon, in my opinion, establishes that for the pre-Urth
Severian, at least.
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." - John 8:32
Alex David Groce (adgroce@eos.ncsu.edu)
Senior (Computer Science/Multidisciplinary Studies in Technology & Fiction)
'98-99 NCSU AITP Student Chapter President
608 Charleston Road, Apt. 1E (919)-233-7366

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

<--prev V24 next-->