(urth) New Wolfe Story at Subterranean Press

Joel Sieh joel.sieh at gmail.com
Thu Jun 28 08:14:07 PDT 2007

On 6/26/07, Dan'l Danehy-Oakes <danldo at gmail.com> wrote:
> Children full of life, and full of death: where is this going? And what
> did the narrator stop him/herself from saying?

I just looked back at this part.  My best guess is that he stops himself
from further contrasting the current time with the past.  He begins the
sentence with "Here," which I figure means, "Here, now."  I'll take a stab
at finishing the sentence: "Here, life and death are both shunned, as they
are unnecessary burdens on a culture too perfect to allow either."

> I don't believe the dog was dead.
> Nor do I. The narrator picks "him," not "it" up, and carries "him" home.
> In a story that focuses (in part) on the relation between the living and
> the non-living the choice of pronoun matters.

Yeah, I think I misread this part.  My misread might point out an ambiguity
that can allow a different reading, however.  I'm not really going to pursue
the alternate reading here, but I want to explain why I came to my original
conclusion, and why the ambiguity might exist.

Here's the relevant part of the story:

"I got Julianne's address from Roberta, drove over there, and found Rover
lying quietly by the side of the house, half hidden by shrubbery, under a
window that I would guess was that of Julianne's bedroom.

God forgive me! I picked him up and carried him home."
The part that first made me jump to my dead dog conclusion was "lying
quietly by the side of the house, half hidden by shrubbery."  It seemed odd
to me that the dog would be half hidden by the shrubbery, unless he was
dead.  He would either be "hiding in the shrubbery," or the shrubbery would
not be mentioned.  "Lying quietly by the side of the house" made him look
like a discarded thing, and is similar to a dog "lying quietly by the side
of the road," which anyone could read as a dead dog.  The "God forgive me!"
line reinforced this, because carrying a dead dog home would be jarring to
the family, and could seem callous, and ... odd.  Lastly, Rover was not
mentioned again after this paragraph.

Of course, there are clearly other valid reasons why this idea is wrong.
However, I found it fun to think about.


P. S. -- I think that the list has figured most of this story out.  I've
enjoyed the interpretations I've seen presented.
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