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From: Wesley Parsons (7065) <WRP@adorno.com>
Subject: (whorl) Re:  There are Doors
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 1997 11:32:14 

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

PMJI, but I've always been a big fan of _There Are Door_.  The creativity
behind the premise of the alternate universe should not be overlooked.  In
our world, the primary burden of sex and childbearing is on women. 
They run the risk of being tied down by pregnancy and child care; the
man is (mostly) free to hang around and help or not.  Considerable
cultural energy goes into keeping men in the picture to assist women in
child rearing.  You could point to much of our cultural baggage (family,
marriage, e.g.) as arising form this biology.

Wolfe changes this fact so that men bear a burden from sex and child
bearing as well -- they die shortly after sexual intercourse.  Women have
a long-term but bearable burden; men have a very short-term and almost
unbearable burden.  How does this change society?

Wolfe suggest some things:  worship of females (the idol); males as an
oppressed class; substitutes for real women (the doll); some retardation
of technology; massively enhanced significance to the sex act by both
sexes.  I recall Wolfe says at one point in the book there should be even
more differences, but he keeps the alternate society sufficiently similar to
ours to make his points meaningful.

Wes Parsons

Questions or problems to whorl-owner@lists.best.com

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