(urth) Seawrack's Name
bsharporflat at hotmail.com
Sat Mar 14 13:54:45 PDT 2009
I was reading the Short Sun and thinking that we are invited
to figure out two things when we are first introduced to Seawrack.
One is her real name which is supposed to sound somthing like Seawrack.
I did an archive search and could only find
a 2000 post on the topic, from R. Borski, who (typically?) went
overboard with name analysis I think and came up with an Irish
seaweed called "screadhbhuidhe". This just isn't a satisfying
answer for me. Not sure if my attempts are much better but, FWIW:
One guess I had is Sirenia. It came to me because Seawrack is
described as having some green algae tint in her hair and this
reminded me of the undines from BotNS. The undines were several
times confused with manatees and Sirenia is the scientific order
name for manatees. The Mother seems to invoke an Abaia-like
presence. Of course this ties in with the siren and mermaid
allusions which seem to tie all these characters together.
Sirenia is an animal name anyway and perhaps this is partly why it
was incomprehensible to Horn for a girl's name. Perhaps his mind
changed it to the plant name Seawrack, as a name he could comprehend
My other guess is "Shipwreck". It would qualify as wordplay meant
to go directly between author and reader, somewhat by-passing the
characters. I wondered if Wolfe might be hinting this her real name
(or more likely her job title or duty or something) since it accurately
describes her function as a Siren. She does seem embarassed when Horn
first tries to prounounce her name. Perhaps because of what she was
supposed to do to Horn's ship? Horn couldn't see and match the silent
w found in both words but we can. Moreover, shipwreck and seawrack also
do sound quite alike.
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