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Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002 17:57:46 -0700
Subject: Re: (urth) Suicide & Hyacinth
From: Jason Ingram 

It has been written:

>> 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.

Hyacinth *was* what most would call a bad woman, but I think the picture 
presented of her in the Long Sun series is distorted: we have only Horn 
and Nettle's rendition of her character.  Though they may strive for 
impartiality, they are also admittedly jealous of her hold on Silk's 
attention.  Horn dislikes the way Hyacinth can be cruel to Nettle, and 
Nettle must mislike Hyacinth's interaction with Horn.

What this amounts to, in my view, is only that we have to 'read in' to 
the narrative what Silk sees in Hyacinth.  He sees the best in 
people--although recent discussion of how he focuses on the flaws in 
others rather than his own makes me rethink this claim, there seem to be 
plenty of instances where Silk bemoans his own limitations and strives 
for humility.  He is also clearly prideful, but in my view balances the 
two effectively.  And his distress seems based on the gap between what 
people could be and what they allow themselves to become--yet the 
narrative presents readers with the worst of Hyacinth.

I don't suppose Wolfe had a gnostic take on their relationship, but 
Simon magus and Helen do come to mind.  There may have been a 
destructive element in their relationship, but "where danger threatens, 
there the saving power grows" (Holderlin) or some such.


have I become the tomato that ate Kansas?



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