(urth) Eyes of Thecla
mourningsglory at hotmail.com
Mon May 1 19:56:49 PDT 2006
From: "b sharp"
>Wolfe seems to use physical descriptions of his characters in somewhat
>mysterious ways... in BotNS, Thecla is first described as having "great
>lids shaded with blue". Her large, violet eyes are noted numerous times
>later in the text.
Much of the early violet imagery in Shadow is associated with flowers in the
necropolis. I.e., "The necropolis has never seemed a city of death to me; I
know its purple roses (which other people think so hideous) shelter
hundreds of small animals and birds." "Spring came, and with it the
purple-striped and white-dotted lilies of the necropolis." "The lilies faded
as lilies do, and the dark death roses came into bloom. I cut them and
carried them to Thecla, nigrescent purple flecked with scarlet." Hence the
chief use of violet/purple may be to foreshadow Thecla's imminent death.
>In Sword, in a mushroom induced dream, it is implied that Thecla's (and
>other exultant women's)eyes have been made to grow bigger by "the
>application of minute amounts of certain poisons in childhood".
Belladonna will do this and was often used by Venetian courtesans to enhance
their desirability. Interestingly the first six letters in scopolagna --
which is how at one time Hethor refers to his lost love -- can also refer to
a class of compounds extracted from belladona.
>is another quasi-character who is described as having eyes with great
>as dark as wells, irises purple as summer flowers. It is Hethor's
Isn't it implicit in URTH that Gunnie is actually Hethor's imaginary
girlfriend? Her eyes are described "as large, as dark and as soft as any
cow's," which doesn't necessarily rule out a darker shade of violet. Ditto
for her real name -- Burgundafora -- I've always associated burgundy with a
sort of wine-dark red shading into purple.
>I don't know of any other characters who are described as having very large
>violet or purple eyes, so it is difficult to call the similarity a
>coincidence, especially since both descriptions first appear in Shadow. But
>what connection can there be between these two? I have some vague thoughts
>involving the kaibit process but I'm interested in any ideas others might
Then again maybe you're onto something. So let's have it, mr "c" note.
mourning's glory (whose namesake, of course, also comes in violet and
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