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From: William Ansley <wansley@warwick.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) Grounded in the text?
Date: Fri, 8 Dec 2000 23:57:50 

At 11:17 AM -0800 12/8/00, Adam Stephanides wrote:
>An excellent post; I was going to defend my position, but you do it
>better than I would have.  There are just a couple of amendments I would

Thank you, but I'm sure you would have done just as well, if not better.

>William Ansley wrote:


>  > You say that my interpretation (and Adam's) "involves a level of
>>  incoherency [on Weer's part] where he simply cannot distinguish
>>  between the porch and the party." Obviously, I disagree. In my view,
>>  Weer's mind has just returned from his 5th birthday party back to the
>>  "present" and he is addressing the people he has just (in effect)
>>  left, quite as he or I (or perhaps even you) might make a remark to
>>  someone who has just left the room, even if we are sure he or she
>>  cannot hear us any longer.
>I would analyze it a bit differently.  I think that when Weer's mind is
>in the "past" he remains aware of his "present" situation; this is how
>he is able to move back and forth at will, here and on p. 12 of H & R
>("I stand, holding on to the mantel...").  Conversely, in this
>paragraph, although his attention has turned to the "present" situation,
>his mind is still simultaneously at the birthday party (and at Van
>Ness's office!).  So the "ladies" of the birthday party he is addressing
>are present, though
>in another compartment of his mind, so to speak.  It's a small point,
>but I think it's important to figure out, as best we can, what exactly
>is going on in the course of Weer's narration.

Very neat. This hypothesis is much better my "Weer's mind as a single 
point travelling through time" idea, if only because it allows for a 
much neater explanation of all the sudden shifts in the text.

>In the further interests of exactitude, an even smaller point:
>>  But, leaving all this aside, I think there is textual evidence that
>>  Weer is addressing the ladies at his fifth birthday party. On p. 5 we
>>  see this: "There is a white Pekinese as big as a spaniel at her feet,
>>  and it snarls when anyone comes too near. (Laugh, ladies, but
>>  Ming-Sno will bite.)" It is not clear who made this remark (perhaps
>>  Weer is recalling something his Aunt Olivia said)
>Could be, but I don't recall any other instances of Weer echoing another
>person's remark without indicating he's doing so; and I don't see any
>reason why it shouldn't be an aside by the present-day Weer,
>rhetorically addressed to the "ladies."  Of course, this doesn't affect
>your argument.

You know, I actually have always read this parenthetical remark as 
just that, "an aside by the present-day Weer, rhetorically addressed 
to the 'ladies.'" But, I confused myself by thinking about it too 
much and offered a weak alternative.

But I did say "perhaps."

William Ansley

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