FIND in
<--prev V309 next-->
Date: Tue, 09 Sep 2003 23:03:03 -0700
From: maa32 
Subject: (urth) more on Wolfe females

Interestingly enough, I was just talking with my girlfriend the other day 
about Wolfe's portrayal of women.  She says that Thecla influences how 
Severian treats (and writes about!) Dorcas and Agia, casting Agia (who 
Severian actually likes) as a villainous wench and Dorcas as little miss 
perfect.  My girlfriend went on to say that the only good woman character that 
Wolfe has written was Agia. She says girls really think like that, and that 
Wolfe finally got the "shame" aspect of it right (re - breast hanging out in 
Botanic Gardens).  She said Thecla was too idealized, but I rationalized that 
away by claiming that Thecla IS the narrator and that the idealization is a 
distorted self-image.

She doesn't like Mint, but thinks Chenille is OK.

Frankly, all this talk of Severian not being a good guy is disheartening.  
He's ok.  He helps children with pustules on their faces and only hesitates a 
little bit when saving women from rabid animal-people, and then only because 
he has no reason to help the lady.  Another interesting thing is that Chrissy 
(my girlfriend) claims that Severian's care for little Severian was exactly 
Thecla's feelings for Big Severian coming through (or at least her maternal 
instincts).  Chrissy also said that perhaps Severian's misogyny comes in large 
part from Thecla herself, who is a jealous lover.  Severian is in control of 
his body, but he can't engage his emotions.  When he thinks that Dorcas and 
Jolenta were lesbians, it is because his woman self is looking back at the 
memory of coupling and categorizing them as homosexuals.

Also, it was my opinion that perhaps Severian's narrative insistence on 
Vodalus as an influence on his life could have been "highlighted" and made 
more important by Thecla-as-narrator.  She obviously had allegiance for 
Vodalus, since she used all his buzzwords.

In any case, Chrissy claims that the only interesting relationship between 
Severian and a woman is the one with Agia, and they don't even get it on.

While we are on the subject of unreliable narration, there is a scene in Lake 
of the Long Sun where Gulo talks to Remora about meeting Silk, Chenille and 
Auk in the arbor of the manteion when he first goes to spy on them.  His 
version of the meeting is NOT like the real version 30 pages previously. He 
says that Silk was talking about Gulo when Gulo himself came up, and there is 
no indication that he says this to Chenille in the actual text. Is this meant 
to cast doubt on the validity of the rest of the narrative?  What can we do 
without external evidence?  Not too much, I think.

Oh well.  Enough for now.
Marc Aramini


<--prev V309 next-->