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From: "Roy C. Lackey" 
Subject: Re: (urth) eating trees
Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 12:17:08 -0600

Date: Friday, March 29, 2002 11:06 AM
Marc wrote, in part:
The trees are in cahoots with Horn, and therefore empathize with his goal
and want to help him liberate Silk's psyche.  One of the scenes that argues
against Babbie being Horn is the Horn claims he is sentient:
"ONCE, when Seawrack and I were on the riverbank, I felt that there were
three of us .  ... after an hour or more of this uneasiness, I realized that
the third person I sensed was merely Babbie, whom I had by a species of
mental misstep ceased to consider an animal." SFBC BOTSS 79 Immediately
after this, Babbie comes tooling around:
"In half an hour [Babbie] was back, still swimming strongly but not making
anything like the progress he had earlier becuase he was pushing a SMALL
TREE ahead of him , roots and all" ..."For a moment there I thought I saw
somebody ... a face, very pale, down under the water.  It was probably a
fish, really, or just a piece of waterlogged wood." (80) The tree can be
used to explain the sentience of that the narrator senses - the tree is the
other presence he feels just that "ONCE":
In this same scene, the song of the mother starts, and he says" there was
that in it that sounded very far away indeed.  I have since that that the
distance was perhaps of time, that we heard a song on that warm, calm
evening that was not merely hundreds but thousands of years old, sung as it
had been sung when the Short Sun of Blue was yet young, and floating to us
across that lonely sea with a pain of loss and longing that my poor words
cannot express" (81). This is the scene where we have Babbie as sentient,
and a tree, roots and all, shows up, and this transtemporal song starts
playing. All in one scene in Chapter 5: The Thing on the Green Plain. [snip]

Uh, what I have quoted from Marc's post, above, is somewhat of a
misrepresentation of the text. The pagination of the SFBC edition apparently
differs quite a bit from that of the original OBW, where the pages in
question range from 137-140.

First of all, what is described above is not all in one scene. The scene on
the riverbank is a flashforward to a time after, obviously, Horn had met
Seawrack, who he had yet to even lay eyes on. Second, Babbie's return to
the sloop after a half hour did not follow the scene on the riverbank, as
implied above, "immediately" or at all in the sequence of events. Third, the
pale face Horn thought he saw underwater was very likely that of Seawrack,
who had already lost her arm to Babbie, who was clearly hanging around the
boat, and who would make her appearance the next day. Finally, the two ONCE
statements emphasized and linked above are unrelated; they refer to two
different events in the narrative, one before and one after Horn met



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