From: "Roy C. Lackey"
Subject: Re: (urth) The cenoby files Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2002 14:36:40 -0500 Charles Reed writes: [snip] >painting. This reminds him of the paintings in the cenoby, and he writes, "You >[Nettle] told me about the beautiful pictures upstairs in the cenoby and I put >them in our book because Maytera Marble had posed for Molpe." (Tor hardback >page 228) > >>>From this unambiguous statement, it is clear that Marble (not Rose) posed for >the painting. The resolution of the puzzle is to realize that it wasn't >*really* Marble posing for the painting but Magnesia, her former and discarded >personality. When maid-of-all-work Magnesia became Maytera Marble, she put away >her old life entirely. Thus, when she said that she had posed for the painting, >that was a slip-up. Magnesia, not Marble, had posed for that painting. Thus, >to maintain the lie that she was Maytera Marble, she had to "confess" the lie >she told about the painting. Marble felt "flattered" by the postulant's >admiration because she was the one who actually posed. I don't know that the statement in OBW can be construed as "unambiguous"--Horn and Nettle were the source for both sets of data, after all. That sort of technical hairsplitting--which name she was using at the time of the lie--might impress a lawyer, but are the gods from whom she seeks absolution really that easily fooled? Marble knew perfectly well that her original name had been Magnesia, as did Betel and Rose. If it was when she still called herself Magnesia that she posed for the painting, then she didn't lie to the postulant, regardless of what the postulant thought about it. At the worst it was a misapprehension, not a lie. >I think this might also explain why Marble keeps repeatedly confessing this >"lie" to Maytera Betel. I don't recall if this is directly addressed in the >text, but if Magnesia's reason for becoming Maytera Marble is because she was in >some kind of trouble and needed to hide, Magnesia wasn't trying to hide; she became a sibyl because parents were complaining that their children were now being taught by a laywoman. _All_ women take a new name when they become sibyls. > then I think you are correct in your >guess that it was upon becoming a maytera that Magnesia got rid of her >human-looking face. If that is the case -- that Magnesia was hiding from >something and that Betel was instrumental in keeping her hid -- then Betel would >have gone to great lengths to ensure that Magnesia stayed hidden, since Betel >was an "accomplice" as it were. And if Betel found out that Marble had admitted >to a postulant that she had posed as Molpe in the painting, Betel might very >well have been distraught at Marble's clumsiness, and to make sure Marble didn't >suffer any more bouts of clumsiness, she kept reminding her of her slip-up, >forcing Marble to confess again and again so that the point would be hammered >home that she could not afford any more such mistakes. > >If all of this is true, it's even more interesting to think of Betel's efforts >to conceal Patera Pike's child from him, isn't it? It makes Betel a very >interesting off-stage character, and not an entirely likeable one. It seems >that both Rose and Marble were "hidden" in some sense by Betel, and that she >went to great lengths -- even cruel lengths -- to make sure her secretes stayed >secret. It also raises the question of whether Magnesia was hidden because she >knew of Rose's pregnancy. I can't think of a reason why this would necessitate >her going into hiding, though, so that might not be a very good guess. I don't see how Magnesia could have failed to know of Rose's pregnancy; not even a chem could have been that ignorant of human physiology. Magnesia would have seen pregnant mothers all the time at the school. In any event, she was at the cenoby both before and after Rose's pregnancy. -Roy --