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Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2003 07:10:17 -0700
From: maa32 
Subject: (urth) Severian and final violence

Recently, the part in Urth of the New Sun where Severian kills the female 
torturer has been brought up as evidence that Severian is still far from being 
Christ, or even the perfect Christian.

That's a fine and correct statement, but I think there is a more important 
thematic reason for it.  If you look at the mythology invoked in The Book of 
the New Sun, from "Eschatology and Genesis" with the evil Jalee to the Uappes 
tribe of Brazil in the Botanical Gardens, you see that the evil deities are 
overwhemlmingly female.  Over and over, you see scheming females, whose only 
redemptive quality is their ability to birth children (thus the importance of 
Dorcas being Severian's grandmother and being one of the few positive female 
figures).  Severian overcomes these females, and even the threat of 
emasculation by reasserting a manly rule - it's not a distinctly Christian 
figure, but a powerful male figure who eliminated the unnecessarily cruel 
female element of the torturers.  We all know that Ymar will abolish women 
from the guild, probably because of his treatment at the hands of the woman 
that Severian killed.  That act in the past liberates Ymar to rid the guild of 
women, and frees Severian in the future from having to deal with them in his 
safe tower of masculine "might makes right but follow the pecking order" 
guild.  Note that there really isn't that much duplicitousness of scheming in 
the tower at the time of Severian - they just follow orders. I see that strike 
as a final assertion of the masculine future that Severian wants to be raised 
in.  And I think he only saves Agia because of his presentiments - he knows 
that she will save him from Vodalus and certain death in Citadel of the 
Autarch, because he's gone through the cycle before, so everything seems 
familiar to him.

Marc Aramini


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