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From: Jim Jordan <jbjordan@gnt.net>
Subject: Re: (whorl) Silk Wrong; Saving the _Whorl_
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 1997 11:00:35 

[Posted from Whorl, the mailing list for Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun]

At 09:23 AM 2/11/97 -0500, you wrote:
>One case that hit me on rereading is Silk's interpretation of his
>enlightenment.  It seemed clear to me from the wording and the content
>of his vision that his charge from the Outsider was to save the _Whorl_,
>but he almost obsessively whittles that down to a charge to save his
>manteion.  Only much, much later does he, in an almost surprised way,
>decide that saving his manteion means saving the people of the quarter
>the manteion serves, which is of course equivalent to saving the
>_Whorl_.  The explicit religious aspect of this is obvious; we are all
>charged by the Outsider with saving the world, and such saving is to be
>accomplished by saving ourselves and our fellow humans, and through them
>the world.
>In fact, the more I think of it, the more I think that Silk's
>explanations are often self-serving in a sense; the same way peoples
>responses to religious challenges are often self-serving, and deflect
>them from what was really wanted.

>     Dave
>     (david_lebling@avid.com)

	In both the Severian Quintet and in the Long Sun Quartet Wolfe gives us a
central character who is slowly working his way out of a bad beginning. In
Silk's case, it is idolatry. Slowly he comes to understand that the
Outsider is the only real God, and all the rest are false. After that, he
comes to appreciate that even these false gods carry fragments of truth
with them.
	Idolatry is a major interest in many of Wolfe's works, but never more than
	Silk's gradual understanding of the Outsider's command to him is part of
that process of illumination and deliverance from bondage.

James B. Jordan

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