From: "Roy C. Lackey"
Subject: (urth) PEACE: Picnic and Dream Date: Mon, 19 Aug 2002 15:09:14 -0500 Many of the problems associated with the story of Doris would disappear if Charlie Turner's letter didn't exist. There is no reference to Doris outside that letter. The letter, too, would cease to exist if Charlie wasn't real. Among Weer's musings about the almost magical powers earlier generations conferred upon the state of virginity was "the ability to entrap unicorns, descry the future, see the fair folk". As we all know from folklore, maidens were able to catch a unicorn by getting it to place its horned head in her lap. (No, I'm going to leave Freud out of this!) Along the same lines, Wolfe has reinforced the notion of virginal majesty by having Silk fear to lose his, and with it the potential to see a god in a glass. In the dream Den had the night following his picnic with Margaret (at which time he had told her Smart's Tilly tale), the dog boy was "hiding from a beating", "yelping" when Den kicked at it, and "snarling". Den was clearly not sympathetic to young Charlie. Among the dog boy's offences, he was humping Den's leg and was generally a distraction from Den's amorous pursuit of Margaret. Den did not "make it" with Margaret on that picnic, as his frustrations in the dream would seem to indicate. But Wolfe goes even further to reinforce Margaret's virginity by having her not only be sympathetic to the dog boy, but actually having her hold _"his head in her lap"_. I am suggesting that this may be Wolfe's way of letting the reader know that Charlie is no more real than a unicorn. -Roy --