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Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002 12:02:02 -0500
From: "Charles Reed" 
Subject: Re: (urth) Suicide & Despair

I have to disagree with hartshorn's reading of the airship incident.  If you'll
recall, Silk was standing very close to the edge and Horn was expressing concern
that Silk would jump.  At some point in their conversation, Silk tells horn
about how Maytera Marble had deceived Hammerstone by claiming to be
Hammerstone's old girlfriend, Molybdenum.  Horn then says something like, "I
don't think that's any reason to want to kill yourself," to which Silk replies,
"I disagree."

You're right that Hyacinth was part of it:  the way she attacked the Trivigaunti
pilot, the way she was fooling around with whats-her-name in the cabin below
(I've GOT to bring my paperbacks to work so I can have them as a reference), but
she wasn't the WHOLE reason for his thinking about jumping, and might not even
have been the majority of it.

And speaking of Hyacinth, my first reading of the Long Sun books left me really
confused about the ending.  But my second reading has really cleared things up
for me.  I was never really confused about why Silk chased Hyacinth at the end
of EXODUS.  Rather, I couldn't figure out why Hyacinth ran away in the first
place.  That whole is really fascinating to me, and I'd like to examine it
because it speaks to what hartshorn said about Hyacinth.

Hyacinth had already gone down into the tunnel and was urging Silk to hurry up,
but Silk wanted to have a few words in private with Horn before descending.  She
finally got tired of waiting and came to see what the hold-up was.  Silk was
telling Horn something (I NEED MY BOOKS!) about lying, I think, and made some
oblique reference to Hyacinth's lying that he fully intended for her to hear.  I
think he was using her as a "bad" example to illustrate his point.  And that's
where Hyacinth apparently realized that she didn't want to spend any more time
with Silk, even if he could take her to safety.  She "wigged out" at the thought
of spending her life with this guy who was capable of insulting her in the most
educated and civilized tones imaginable.  She didn't want to go into danger with
him, and she couldn't imagine spending weeks cooped up with him in the lander.
So she ran.  And Silk, probably realizing what he had done and being aghast
because of it, ran after her.

All I'm saying is that even though Hyacinth might not have been good to Silk,
there are ways in which he wasn't good to her either.  Hyacinth wasn't evil, and
that it's very possible she was even good for Silk, because there at the end of
EXODUS, she wouldn't allow herself to be used an example.  That is, she was
forcing him to realize that he was doing it again -- focusing on other people's
failings instead of his own.  If she was able to do that for length of their
marriage, then I can see how Silk would have been helped immeasurably by that.

I guess I prefer to be optimistic about their relationship in the Whorl since
there's no real reason to be pessimistic.  There are other explanations of the
broken furniture than that Hyacinth was a horrible house-keeper, or that she
threw things around when she got mad and broke everything in sight.  If my
reading of Silk after Hyacinth's death is correct, then I think it more than
likely that Silk is the one who broke all the furniture after her passing.


Andy Robertson wrote:

> What people are persistently failing to acknowledge, though Wolfe flags it
> again and again,  is that Hyacinth was a bad woman, and disastrous for Silk.
> Silk's near suicide on the airship comes *after* he has obtained Hyacinth,
> after he has gotten his dearest wish, and realised it is dust and ashes.
> Hence the despair.
> I believe that Silk's life with Hyacinth was hell.   Consider the state of
> the house he was in - small, mean, "almost everything broken".
> He did not, could not, kill himself while she lived, because somehow he
> still loved her.
> But when she died, at long last, he lay down the burden of life and love, at
> last free of her, and allowed his spirit to die.
>     hartshorn


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