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From: adam louis stephanides <astephan@students.uiuc.edu>
Subject: (urth) Peace
Date: Thu, 16 Apr 1998 10:07:24 

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

On Wed, 15 Apr 1998 Tony Ellis wrote:

> Well, the story is about something outliving its time, that's the point
> made in the very last line. And that is what Weer has been doing. At
> the time Dan is telling him that story he is an old man, who has outlived
> most of his contemporaries. He is also a dead man, wandering through
> his memories, so he's outlived his time in a more literal sense too.
> Since this story comes right before the very last paragraph of the novel,
> I think it serves to make Weer realise it's time to let go. Perhaps that's
> why he tells it to himself.
I actually hadn't thought about this at all before Rostrum asked the
question (shows what a careful reader I am) but I now can see several
parallels in addition to this one.

1) Weer has been dead for many years (the tree planted on his grave is
now huge) so he has not just oulived his time but "far outlived [his]
time," like the sidhe.

2) Like the sidhe, Weer is in a sense the last of his kind: he is the
last to remember Cassionsville before it was transformed by the factory
he ran.

3) Just as the geese's feathers sing and write after the geese's deaths,
Weer's ghost tells stories after his death.

4) The last goose is a fusion of all three sidhe children, and in a
sense Weer's ghost "fuses" all the people whose stories he tells.

5) Perhaps most importantly, the immortality the sidhe children gain from
being transformed into a flock of geese is a false immortality compared to
the true immortality to be gained from baptism.  Similarly, Weer's
immortality as a ghost is a false immortality.  I don't recall Weer
expressing any religious convictions, although it's been a while since
I read the book.  Perhaps that is part of what was missing from Weer's
life, and of why his spirit could not find peace.


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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