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Date: Sat, 18 Jan 2003 09:39:03 -0600
Subject: Re: (urth) DOORS: The Hero, The Otherworld, The Ending
From: Adam Stephanides 

on 1/15/03 1:47 AM, Roy C. Lackey at rclackey@stic.net wrote:

> You have noted Graves' position vis-a-vis earth and sky; needless to say,
> Graves' sympathies were with the goddess. Wolfe's, needless to say, are with
> the other side. That being so, North, the wannabe goddess-killer, would be,
> in effect, in the service of the God of the Bible. Green, following the
> goddess, would be lusting after the very sort of figure that the Old
> Testament prophets were forever railing against.
> That would make North a good guy, Green a bad guy, in Wolfe's cosmology,
> wouldn't it? How can this reading square with Wolfe's known religious views,
> and his own opinion that THERE ARE DOORS is his best book?

I can't comment on the Graves angle.  But my reading of the book, for what
it's worth, is that it takes off from a certain view of gender relations
which around that time, iirc, had been popularized by George Gilder's book
SEXUAL SUICIDE, though I doubt it originated with him.  As I understand it
(not having read Gilder), this view asserts that men are naturally predatory
and violent, and that it is women who keep civilization going by luring men
into going against their nature and becoming husbands and fathers.  (Gilder
went on to say that the "bait" with which women lured men was the role of
patriarchal superiority in the home, and hence feminism would destroy
civilization by removing the incentive for men to become family men; but I
don't see this part as being reflected in TAD.)  Whether or not Wolfe
believes this, it seems to me that in TAD he is dramatizing this view by
pushing it to the extreme.  In Otherworld, the survival of humanity itself
depends upon women persuading men to give up, not their unbridled
masculinity, but their very lives.  This persuasion is what North is
rebelling against: the male conspirators in the play North's group puts on
have apparently taken vows of celibacy.  If North were to succeed, the
result would not be patriarchy but extinction; so it's not inconsistent of
Wolfe to prefer the Goddess over North.



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