(urth) symbols, motifs, and extra textual relevance vs. onomastic onanism
gerry at bindweed.com
Wed Mar 27 08:05:48 PDT 2013
From: Marc Aramini
Subject: Re: (urth) symbols, motifs,and extra textual relevance vs.
> Oddly enough, [Jeannine's] first claim about Veil's hypothesis is to deny
> it as fifty
> pounds of theory built on nothing (and a Veil does by definition cover a
> true face).
> She reflects on "perfect" copies and what that implies - and there she has
> nonfunctional, tiny legs.
Which she compensates for using high technology, not a very abo-like trait.
I think any abos on Saint Croix have joined the gypsies and the criminal
tribes, who don't share the 'planetary face', and who are unable to partake
in normal society (poor ability to use tools would have this effect). Of
course the 'planetary face' phrase can be interpreted in various ways, but
the one abo we know of clearly does not share it. So I take it to mean a
reflection of the common gene pool of the various cultures that colonised
I go further than you in regard to the significance of symbols and motifs in
Wolfe's work. I think that Wolfe emulates the real world, where symbols and
motifs have their own sphere of existence, and do not replace the reality of
existence (which in this case is the 'true' story which theoretically
underlies the imperfect descriptions of this narrators).
Wolfe also allows his characters to use metaphor, a dangerous game in
science fiction, since the readers are alert to hints of hidden realities
and can easily mistake metaphors for the 'true' story. I think the business
of mating with trees is an example. Perhaps the original inhabitants of
Saint Anne had some different arrangements prior to their transformation
after the arrival of the first colonists (who became the Shadow Children).
But it seems clear that nowadays their arrangements are much like ours.
Sandwalker's 'tree' grows large when he sleeps with Seven Girls Waiting.
The Marshmen steal boy children from the Hillmen and castrate them to make
their shamans (as Sweetmouth notices in the pit), and they do not grow
beards. The talk of trees is essentially myth and wordplay.
- Gerry Quinn
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