(urth) "Wolfer" and "The Eleventh City"

Roy C. Lackey rclackey at stic.net
Sat Feb 9 22:25:34 PST 2008


I can't answer many of your questions, but I dislike seeing honest,
thoughtful queries such as yours about two stories that have not been
discussed here before be ignored. These two stories are obviously religious
in theme and I hate to get into religious matters because little good ever
comes of it, but it can't be helped.

John Barach wrote:
[. . .]
>* What's the significance of Janet's divorce and return to her maiden
>Are there any hints of what her married name might have been?   (I don't
>think so.)  Is the divorce and all the stuff related to it --  e.g., having
>borrow the SUV from her ex-husband -- more or less  irrelevant?  If so, why
>they there at all?  They make the story  longer, but do they add anything
>it?  Why couldn't Janet herself have  been single or married or (at any
rate) an
>SUV owner herself?  Why does she  have to borrow it from her husband?
>the significance of her being  divorced?

I think the scene with her ex-husband is there to show her timorousness at
the beginning of the story, which contrasts with her overaggressive and
assertive nature by the end of it. She goes from little lap-dog to

>* What's the howling that Janet hears?  Wolves, obviously, but what's  it

_The Call of the Wild_?

>* Are we to take the various things that Kyoto and Wasabe and the wolves
>as Janet's own projections?  Or are we to believe that they really do
>communicate to her?

I *think* they were her own projections. The animal talk is never in quotes
until the last page of the story, after her vision. Why the dogs' speech
should become more "real" then, I don't know, unless they too have somehow
been transformed by the vision and new-found dedication to walk on the wild

>* Is there any significance to "Suicide Road"?
>* Why does Jerry Baumgarten simply let her go?

He sympathizes with her cause.

>* What's the vision all about at the end?

The man in white is surely Jesus, as you suspected. I don't understand
Kipling's poem ("The Only Son", the opening and concluding lines of which
bracket the story) any better than I do the story. If I did, I might be able
to say more about the story. But I think it's safe to say that the poem and
story are related, however loosely.

>* What's the significance of the title?  It clearly refers to the  passage
>from the Gospel of Mark which Cooper quotes in his letter.  The man  who
had the
>legion of demons (which were cast into the swine) then proclaimed  what
>had done in "Ten Cities" (which is the region of Decapolis, across  the Sea
>of Galilee from the region of Galilee).
>Those were "ten cities," but the title refers to an "eleventh."  Which  is
>it?  The city where Cooper is?  If so, what's the  significance?

I don't know the significance, but I think the eleventh city is indeed the
town he was writing from, San Marcos del Lago, pointing back to the Gospel
of Mark and the Sea of Galilee.

>I suppose
>Cooper is "publishing" (the word for proclamation  used in the version
>quotes) the news of another exorcism wrought by  Jesus, by means of the
>sacrament, in this letter to an eleventh city,  Lincoln, Nebraska, and he's
>asking whether he ought to publish this account in  his book.

I'm not so sure Jesus should be credited with sending the demons from the
ghost-pig into a human woman, no matter how loose her virtue. The "blessed
sacrament" was obtained fraudulently and used by a witch to undo what Jesus
had done. That can't be a good thing. <g>


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