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From: James Jordan <jbjordan4@home.com>
Subject: Re: (whorl) Re: Digest whorl.v012.n105
Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2001 13:32:15 

At 01:28 PM 4/18/2001 -0400, Slimy wrote:

>Ratty, while I appreciate the general tone of your screed, I have to
>object to its specifics (well, you knew I would, didn't you?).

         Sure I did, Slimy. It was my purpose to draw you back into the 
discussion. ;-)

>Specifically, then, not only is there no rape in The Odyssey, but women
>are treated as powerful and controlling figures. There are four
>important featured players, as I recall: Calypso, Circe, Nausica and
>Penelope. Helen and Athena are significant background figures, while the
>women he encounters at the boundary of Hades are formidable, if
>sorrowful. Nausica is only a girl, but as a princess she compels
>respect, and much of the story is told directly to her and her father.
>No one could possibly call the other women victims. The outlook is so
>feminist that Samuel Butler, in fact, speculated that the true author of
>The Odyssey was a woman (Robert Graves concurred, alo c.f. Harold Bloom
>and -The Book of J-). Women in the Greek plays get somewhat similar
>treatment. (I hedge because this is a big subject and could be argued
>for a long time; also there is the actual position of women in Greek
>society, which was not so hot.) The Iliad, granted, is different, a war
>story, and two women are treated as sex slaves. Their male counterparts
>were slaughtered, however--plus ca change.


         Okay. Good point. Instead of using the Greeks, I should have 
simply pointed to the history of the world in general.


Yes, this is the point that I bump up against. Why, when so much of
>these books, or this book as we might as well call it, has to do with
>S/H's coming not only to terms, but coming to love as a father these
>three demonic creatures--a subject I found truly enthralling and worthy
>of serious contemplation--does he throw it all away so quickly? He
>started way back with Quetzal, an interesting, complicated character.
>The end of RttW seems to make trivial a huge investment of effort in a
>really chewy subject.

         I still disagree. I think Jahlee's death is moving, and though it 
puts the narrator in a bad light, I think it communicates well to the 
reader. Jahlee dies AS A HUMAN, as a PERSON. Her death is, so to speak, her 
last step into true humanity. I know it did not have effect on you, so 
maybe Wolfe could have done a better job here; but I think most readers 
will feel as I do.
         As for the narrator, well I've suggested that may this is the 
emerging Silk, who does not have the same sympathy for the inhumi that Horn 
has learned to have -- though I'm still not sure who the narrator is 
supposed to be at the end of the book. If anything, that's the point of 
Wolfe's failure as far as I'm concerned. I did not care to "meet Silk" 
again in such a way. ("Hurray! It's Silk again!" Gimmeabreak!) It also 
seems rather pointless, since the novel SEEMS to be about Horn's 
development, and just to wipe him out, or submerge him into Silk -- well, 
it does not work for me! And so, I guess I agree with your point.
         I'd still rather think that it's Horn at the end, still being 
transformed by Silky influences, and that his attack on Jahlee was a lapse 
back into his "old nature." But I've been persuaded that I'm probably 
wrong, and that all the rest of you are right -- though I don't like it.

The Rat

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