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From: "Clifford Drane" <dranec@hotmail.com>
Subject: (urth) the points of it all
Date: Tue, 09 Nov 1999 13:56:16 CST

>Well, argued, Cliff.


>But I disagree.

Oh, drat. :)

>>"I have always thought that this story illustrates the fact that there is 
>>not always a happy ending, and in  many cases, no 'ending' at all."

>Well, if this is the case, then why does this mini-story end with 
>Severian's promise to Foila that he will record, remember, and tell the 
>four stories? By doing this, he ensures that Foila and the rest will live 
>on--will have immortality, via the stories. They will be remembered, even 
>if only in the sense that their stories are remembered. This is Literature 
>in a nutshell--the stories are to be preserved and retold. And because of 
>this, Foila's death is not a complete end. The storyteller has achieved 
>immortality through her story.

I see your point, and I think our ideas can co-exist. Yes, Sev promises to 
record the stories (and we are reading them, so he came through on his 
promise). But I'm not sure his promise was anything but a reaction to the 
area being decimated and everyone waiting for his judgment being killed. If 
they had lived, I think he would have judged (nice little sub-thread maybe - 
who would he have chosen?). What strikes me is that they were all so caught 
up in the storytelling, the consequences of the judgment to come - they had 
alot invested in the whole thing - And it didn't truly matter due to the 
attack. I think it shows us that nothing we care about, love, hate, etc. can 
stop fate or chance (whichever way you prefer to look at it). Things can 
irreprerably change or *prevent* an outcome - what's the phrase... coitus 
interruptus? I could be struck dead by a meteor while typing this, just as 
they were struck dead before the conclusion of the contest. The cosmos just 
doesn't care.

>So I still argue that the point here has to do with storytelling.

I might add that, while I agree, it's hard to argue against that because the 
entire series IS storytelling, by Wolfe through Sev to us. I can't think of 
a time when one could say it's NOT storytelling.

>>"This, to me, is the ultra-refined meaning of
the Urth Books. The Grand Unification Theory, if you will."

>...After all, storytelling is the human attempt to define life and invest 
>life with meaning. If we can never fully grasp life, it is because we can 
>never fully tell our stories. Modernism is an exploration of this concept 
>(here comes The Sound and the Fury again!).

... and like in the film Rashomon there are many versions of the truth. I 
agree, but could insert that a story with no end is still a story, and "the 
end" is that it has no "end". Brain... hurt... :)

>If you like, the four stories represent four perspectives on life. No story 
>is judged above the others because all four are valid, worthwhile, useful, 
>and beautiful perspectives.

Well, I could say no stories are judged because the contestants were all 
killed, and the contest rendered moot. I can't imagine Sev *not* judging the 
contest, had they lived. He's an executioner - very used to making decisions 
and not getting emotionally invested in the consequences of his judgments. I 
think he would have judged, if the attack had not occured.


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