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Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 09:03:19 -0500
From: James Jordan 
Subject: (urth) Suicide & Despair

At 11:55 PM 7/10/2002 -0500, you wrote:
>If Silk wasn't trying to commit suicide over Hyacinth's casket, then what 
>is the significance of Silk/Horn and Remora's conversation about death and 
>suicide at the end of the series?  I thought the reason that kept Silk 
>retreated into the Horn persona through most of the books was that he 
>couldn't face the fact of himself committing suicide.  When he finally 
>did, he emerged.  Didn't the Neighbors say something when Horn was dying 
>about "transfering him into a healthy body who's soul was dying" or words 
>to that effect?  I took this to mean that Silk's body was relatively 
>healthy-- he hadn't gone far enough to truly be in danger of death-- but 
>that his soul was dying, i.e. he had decided to end it all, made the 
>decision to quit living, given up.  If Wolfe is a Christian, than this is 
>one of the greatest moral crimes a man can commit.  If Silk is a servant 
>of the Outsider, the same is true, and the fact that he committed it, fell 
>so far, is why he stayed hidden in Horn for so long.  I think the suicide 
>theory explains things rather nicely.  What holes do you guys see?

         For me, this same evidence points not to active suicide but to the 
sin of despair, of losing faith in God. These are strongly linked, of 
course. Despair is one of the greatest of sins. I think all the evidence 
that has been evinced to show Silk attempting suicide works better with the 
sin of despair. Silk's wounds I have always taken as the result of some 
kind of attack that left Hyacinth dead and Silk in despair. It seems pretty 
clear from the evidence in RTTW that Silk's ministry/mission has been over 
for some time, and that's depressing enough -- loss of calling after a 
season of heroic acts is very depressing. Now Hyacinth is dead. Depression 
and despair, yes. But suicide? I think not.
         Anyway, despair is a kind of soul-suicide, so if you are saying, 
"Silk has sunk into despair and black depression, and is contemplating 
suicide," you may be right. But I don't think the wounds in his arms are 
         Viewing the subsequent narrative as a process by which Silk 
recovers his faith, and thus his self, might be worthwhile investigating. 
What are the steps through which the Outsider takes him?



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