(urth) fifth head owlet- wolf

Gerry Quinn gerry at bindweed.com
Wed Apr 10 10:22:02 PDT 2013

From: Marc Aramini

> And in a novel with a street named after larva or maggots in French, how 
> can
> we ignore a name like pink butterflies, when butterflies are a symbol of a 
> larval
> stage that transforms?  Are you quite serious in stating that it is ONLY 
> the
> waving of hands and that there is absolutely positively no other 
> connotation to
> what a butterfly IS?

Yes, I'm pretty sure of that.  Because metamorphosis symbology makes no 
sense in the particular context and it's not marked in any way.

> Later the name that is forgotten by Sandwalker to refer to
> the Shadow Children is Swan - also notorious for a beautiful, majestic 
> adult
> stage and a homely duckling stage.

Which isn't metamorphosis.  And it's the name of an animal that's mentioned 
once in no particular context.  How do you know it's not all about things 
with long necks?

> So ... metamorphosis is out?  Just waving hands?  Do you believe that 
> symbols
> are real?  A cigar is ALWAYS just a cigar?

Two things:

(1) A word in a book is more often not a symbol than it is a symbol.  To 
make it a symbol we require supporting evidence and not just other words of 
the same kind.

(2) Symbols have a function, and it is not to describe an alien biology.

Actually, three things:

(3) Symbols in Wolfe simply are not this cryptic.  Look at Number Five's 
ship dream.  That's symbolic, and Wolfe hammers it in if anything.  Should 
we look for clues in the exact configuration of the decks, or should we take 
it as a whole for what it manifestly stands for, and which is in fact 

- Gerry Quinn

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