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From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: (whorl) Horn Lives
Date: Sun, 18 Feb 2001 13:20:19 

I'm not sure how I came to be the Official Defender of Silkhorn's Silkiness.
But since nobody else has yet picked up the gauntlet you've thrown down, I
guess it's up to me.

My first reaction to your post is that you're trashing the most moving scene
in the book just to save a grotesque allegory.  Apart from that, some
comments on specific points.

on 2/17/01 1:11 PM, James Jordan at jbjordan@gnt.net wrote:

> Are 
> we really supposed to take three pages of Remora's testimony and pit it
> against hundreds of pages of testimony from the narrator? Really?

And there are hundreds of pages of testimony from Weer that he's not dead,
and dozens of pages from the prisoner in "V. R. T." that he's Marsch.

> Yes, Remora is a "good guy," if definitely annoying. But he has his own
> preconceptions. I don't think he's lying, but I don't think he recognizes
> the truth at all. He sees what he wants to see.

There's no evidence at all that Remora's report of his interview with Silk
was distorted by his preconceptions.  And if nothing took place during this
interview, if "Horn" just nodded at the end to shut Remora up as you suggest
(or didn't nod at all), then why does "Horn" leave immediately afterwards,
for ever, without seeing his sons again?

> Sure, the kids who write the final chapters believe he is Silk. Of course
> they do. And so does Remora. But there is no indication FROM THE NARRATOR
> that he ever accepts this, is there?

Yes, there is: at the end of Chapter 20, and in Silk's words to Daisy in the
Afterword.  Your reasons for discounting these don't hold up.

> Why don't they think he is Horn? Not just because he looks different, but
> because he manifests Silk's abilities, which are not Horn's.

And he doesn't talk like Horn, and he doesn't act like Horn.

> But (a) Horn 
> has always tried to mimic Silk, and that's part of it.

I didn't buy this idea that Horn mimics Silk when mantis said it, and I
don't buy it now.  Horn deeply admires Silk, and has a strong sense of his
own unworthiness.  I don't think that Horn would presume to go around
talking like Silk.  What Horn says is that he "tried to model [him]self on
him," (407) which is something quite different.  (And to anticipate your
rejoinder, I'm aware that Horn's imitating Silk would fit your allegory,
since Christians are supposed to imitate Christ.  But I don't believe Wolfe
is the sort of writer who violates characters' psychology for the sake of

> This construction fits perfectly, I submit, with the theology of the book.
> Christians live in Christ, in the body of Christ (both personal and
> churchly), and receive the same Holy Spirit as Jesus received. So, Horn
> lives in Silk's body, and receives the same Oreb. And, feeding on Christ's
> body eucharistically, Christians receive from Him. Similarly, Horn is
> receiving things from Silk's body.
> But Horn's personality as dead and obliterated? No way. It is Silk's
> personality that is gone.

If Silk's body is the Church, and Silk's personality is gone from his body,
does that mean that Christ's spirit has vanished from the Church?

> Now, the narrator does say that he killed Hide and Hoof's father. But this
> could mean several different things, such as that his actions on Green
> resulted in the death of his body.

I can't imagine Horn's saying those words, in the context in which they
appear, with that meaning.  "I'm not going to say goodbye to my sons, who I
will never see again, because my actions caused the death of my physical
body on Green"???

> At the end, the astral body of Horn appears most like Silk.

Not just "most like Silk."  He no longer looks like Horn at all.

> Well, as 
> Christians mature they are supposed to become more Christlike. That is,
> their inner selves are supposed to conform to Christ. And in the astral
> sphere, what we see are the inner selves. I don't think that this Silk-like
> appearance of the astral body means any more than that. Similarly, the
> human appearance of the astral inhumi shows that they are becoming human in
> their inner persons.

There's no evidence that the appearance of people's astral selves changes as
their character changes.  The inhumi's astral selves appear human, not
because the inhumi are becoming more human, but because their spirits are
human, taken from humans.

Beyond this, I refer you to my earlier posts on the narrator's identity, in
which I list in exhaustive (and perhaps exhausting) detail the evidence for
the presence, at least, of Silk's spirit in Silkhorn on the Whorl, and a
fortiori after returning to Blue.

Two final questions for you:

1) Why, according to your reading, does Horn never acknowledge that he is in
Silk's body?

2) If the scene with Remora is meaningless, why does Wolfe include it at
all?  And why does he place it where he does, as the last chapter before the


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