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From: StoneOx17@AOL.COM
Subject: (urth) Thoughts on the ending of Peace
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2001 06:43:29 EDT


I've been lurking for a while, and I think it's time I contributed something.
I have a theory about the ending of Peace that I'll be describing later in 
this post, but before I get to it, I want to make a few related observations 
which should be less controversial.

First, Olivia is convinced that the egg is one of a pair, where hers shows 
Resurrection, and the missing one shows the Ascension (page 76, Orb edition). 
This can be taken metaphorically, reflecting Weer's situation in the book: he 
has achieved some sort of resurrection as a ghost, but has failed to attain 

Second (page 201) when Weer goes with Lois Arbuthnot to pick up Kate 
Boyne's diary, he notices a memoir of a local missionary named Murchinson 
(possibly the same one who brought back the egg) describing his mission to 
Tartary.  It's ironic that the library chooses to buy the fake diary, while 
ignoring the genuine memoirs.  As one might expect from Wolfe, the true 
artifact is spiritual, while the false one, containing clues to buried 
treasure, is worldly.

Now, we get to the first piece of key supporting evidence for my theory.  On 
pages 29 and 30, Weer writes "It is too late for it now, but it sometimes 
to me that we ought to have kept records, by the new generations, of our 
remoteness from events of high significance.  When the last man to have seen 
some occurrence or personality of importance died; and then when the last 
person who know him died; and so on.  But first we would have the first man 
describe this event, this thing that he had seen, and when each of them was 
gone we would read the description publicly to see if it still meant anything 
to us - and if it did not, the series, the chain of linked lives, would be at 
an end."

I think this describes the rules governing ghosts - I think Sherry Gold was 
the last person remaining alive who knew Weer; and when she dies, Weer has 
his (IMO, posthumous) stroke.  Later in the book, Weer gets progressively 
sicker and sicker, as he becomes more and more generations removed from 
the living.  Finally, we reach Dan French's story of the geese, which 
Weer's own situation, as illustrated below.

One of the sidhe turns his children into a flock of geese, so that they might 
live forever; though the individual geese might die, the flock would remain.  
However, he's not completely successful:

"In this way, in time, the flock ... dwindled until at last only a single 

    Only one person alive remembers Weer.

"And thinking these thoughts, she [the goose] flew over Ireland from 
Inishtrahull to Ballinskelligs Bay, and from Galway Bay to Dun Laoghaire, 
seeking for one having the second sight who might explain the thing to 
her, but all such were long since gone from Ireland."

     Weer tries to keep his appointment with Dr. Van Ness, but the yellow 
reminder is nailed to his desk.

"At last she came to the cottage of a hermit, and as he was the best she 
could find, she alighted there and put her question to him."

     Weer can find only Dan French, who tells him the story of the geese.  
But both the hermit and Dan give the best advice possible:

"'Little there is I can do for you,' the hermit said.  'Why did you suppose 
your father, who could not save himself, could save you?  The time of the 
sidhe is long past, and the time of geese is passing.  And in time, men, 
too, will pass, as every man who lives long learns in his own body.  But 
Jesus Christ saves all.'"

     And this should be Weer's  lesson ... that Jesus Christ saves all.  
But does he learn it?  Besides the hope of salvation through Jesus, 
there's another, secular, thread, that runs through the book: the false 
hope of the Chinese pillow.  Weer speculates that he has passed out as 
a child beside his chemistry set.  He asks whether, if he went up and 
slept again in his old childhood room, the old days would come back, 
and whether, if Hannah had slept at Sugar Creek Farm, "Would Sugar Creek 
have flowed again?  Olivia tells the story of the Chinese philosopher's 
headrest.  Again, Weer has a decision between a worldly choice, the false
hope of reliving his past, and a spiritual choice, of ascension through 
Jesus Christ (although it's not clear he realizes that there is a 
decision).  And again, it appears that he makes the wrong choice:

"It is time, I think, that I see the enchanted headrest of the Chinese 
philospher looming behind me, and I wait its coming.  My aunt's voice 
on the intercom says, 'Den, darling, are you awake in there?'"

And these words are, from Den's childhood, the signal for him to put out 
the light and go to sleep, this time, it seems, forever.

John 5:25 "I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when 
the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who listen 
will live."

Peter Shor

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

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