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From: "Robert Borski" <rborski@coredcs.com>
Subject: (urth) Re: the Ziggurat
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 16:33:04 

My two centavos worth on "The Ziggurat" controversy, most of which plays
off of Nutria's rather interesting interpretation.
>Tamar is not her name, but the name Emory gives her, and he
> explicitly calls the name that of Solomon's sister. Now, Wolfe-like, that
> can also allude to Tamar's rape by her brother, and also to the earlier
> Tamar, but first we have to deal with what is explicit.

I think that for all intents and purposes that Tamar _is_ her name--at
least it's the only one Wolfe provides via Emery, his viewpoint character.
To therefore ignore the connotations of both incest and sexual assault
associated with that name may be shortsighted.  

>When she sees the
> lion on Emory's pen, she hums "God Save the Queen." The lion is the Lion
> Judah, symbol of the tribe of Judah and of the Davidic royal house. In an
> all-woman society, the king is a queen of course, but the allusion is to
> Solomon. (Also to Jesus.) With this in mind, I want to see any hint of
> evidence that Amnon's rape of sister Tamar is in view, or the earlier
> Tamar's seduction of her father-in-law Judah. 

Two alternate points here. The lion emblem identifies where Emery picked up
the pen he's using--the Red Lion Inn--and in alchemy, the red lion refers
to the philosopher's stone--the technical version of which Emery brings
back from the ziggurat. At least Emery hopes the magic dish will help him
wrest gold from his tragedy. 

As for "God save the Queen," I thought this was possibly meant to function
as a nod to the most famous vanished historical community of North
America--the colony at Roanoke Island, and whose first firstborn child,
Virginia Dare (named after Elizabeth Regina), disappeared along with
everybody else, just like the frontier settlement Brook mentions on p. 309.
(See the movie: "Croatoan: the Brownie's Revenge.")

>As to who killed the coyote: Emory says that he was responsible for the
> beast's death ONLY in the sense that he had tamed it, and thus it was not
> prepared when it came against a human interested in killing it. I see no
> hint that Emory himself killed it. 

Again, I believe you're being too literal here. No, indeed, Emery does not
literally kill the coyote, but he sure does so figuratively, by
encouraging/bribing it to disregard its natural fear of man. Wolfe uses
this idea of "safe distance" a number of times in the story. "Come here,"
Emery shouts, when he first sees one of the alien women. Later, when she
and her partner breach that distance, it leads to their demise. Also note
how Emery repeats several times, "Boys here, girls over there." Given the
charges of incest leveled against him, this seems the safest and most
practical thing to observe, yet look at how in the very last sentence,
"Very gently, [Tamar's] fingers closed over his." Once again, distance has
been closed and it will lead to dire consequences.

> 	As for the women on the timeship being clones of Emory's women: Where is
> there any hint of this? It involves a LOT of reading "behind the lines"
> come to this conclusion; to wit, that eggs were taken from the girl and
> used to make clones that have come back in time. But in fact, the story
> continually says that these Brownies are OFTEN coming back in time and
> messing with people. Stealing eggs? Maybe. Stealing children? Well, that
> indeed mentioned. So perhaps the hypothesis is not completely amiss. But
> where is the evidence that Tamar is herself a clone of the girl? (I
> remember which girl it is, so I cannot give the name here; my book is at
> home.)
> 	Moreover, the intermediate color of the skin of the three future women
> leads me against this hypothesis. They look like what you think of when
> think of a future wherein all the various races of earth have melded into
> one. The daughters are American white girls. A clone of one of them
> look like that, not be brownish. Yet all the future women are brownish;
> hence "brownies." How can they be clones of various white, black, and
> yellow women of the past?

The women and the twins appear very similar physically. To wit: "What had
they thought of Jan, a woman almost a foot taller than they? Jan with her
creamy complexion and yellow hair? Of Aileen and Alayna, _girls of their
own size, nearly as dark as they_, and like as two peas?" (p. 318) Also, in
talking about the chimney descent, Emery comments: "He could not have done
it, and neither could Brook, if Brook were still alive, but the twins could
have done it, and these women were scarcely larger." (339) The twins, being
eleven, could well be near their full height. And why, if not to match up
skin colors of twins and aliens, would Wolfe have their father be
dark-complected, when, any other color if he were not attempting a
parallel, would be perfectly fine, if not expected? 

> 	I'm happy to be set straight on this, but for now I don't see it. The
> does not "feel like incest" to me. I don't know how you get that from the
> text. 

One last note in this respect: Alayna is the twin who tells Emery she has
refused to lie about his having molested her. But we never hear what Aileen
has to say in this regard; and it's Aileen that both has the doctor's
appointment Jan mentions (shrink? gynecologist?) and who winds up kidnapped
by the aliens. 'Aileen,' however, and 'alien' are formed from the exact
same letters. Surely, this is not a coincidence, but Wolfe tipping his hat
as to the origin of Tamar, the once and future daughter of pedophile Emery

Robert Borski  

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

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