From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes"
Subject: RE: (urth) system of langauge Date: Fri, 29 Mar 2002 16:30:57 -0800 Marc, This is amazing. I will definitely be looking at this when I reread "Short Sun." This may be the most useful model of these books I've seen to date, and it seems to have tremendous explanatory power wrt the texts as I remember them. Bravo. Bravissimo! -----Original Message----- From: maa32 [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Friday, March 29, 2002 4:27 PM To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: (urth) system of langauge I don't know if many people have thought about Horn's life story as a semiotic system that Silk uses to reconstruct himself, but if you want to make a case about the universal application of stories even if they aren't true, it could be a pretty good way to look at the linguistic system in the Short Sun Books. Let's assume for this case the minimal supernatural stuff has gone on: Silk is a shattered man who needs to heal his psyche somehow. He steals the language system of a convenient fellow, someone who has died but still has a home and family left to write back to. He assumes that man's identity, and then seeks to create a meaningful assertion of his identity using prepackaged langauge that does not belong to him: the story of the search for Silk turns into a method and a process through which Silk can find himself again- by telling the story. He attempts to defer death for Horn as long as he can (I am paralleling the drive for the end of plot with the Thanatos syndrome of Freud here). The plot exists for as long as he can stave back an account of death from the text. When Horn TRULY dies, he must face up to his own identity - and he needs the story as extended therapy. In this case, interpretive relativism is completely irrelevant: whatever meaning Silk wants to ascribe to his own life, he can. Through the story of Horn. In other words, even if Horn's story had nothing to do with Silk, Silk could still meet himself in the system of language through constructing his own identity. As a schema for how fantastic literature might apply to real life, I find this particular picture kind of interesting. It admits that language can be stolen from its original context, abused, and misinterpreted; it also allows a construction of self-identity through an assumed plot for anyone involved in that theft. Perhaps the Book of the Short Sun illustrates how a closed system of language can still have a universal application even after it is (indeed, especially after it is) stolen from its original context (in this case, from the mouth of the real Horn). In other words, the text presents a model for overcoming the particular constraints and limitations of a fantastic story in order to reapply it in a useful way for a reader/analyst. Which might be a nice way to justify the study of fantastic literature in school. Even though it's not real - it can still be real. I thought I'd fool you all by changing up my theme temporarily on the Short Sun Books. Does anybody else like this "therapeutic" approach to looking at Silk's claim to be Horn? Marc Aramini -- --