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From: "Mark Millman" <Mark_Millman@hmco.com>
Subject: Re: (urth) Re: Digest urth.v027.n009
Date: Mon, 31 May 1999 17:13:32 

On Monday 31 May 1999 at 5:23 pm GMT, Dan Parmenter wrote:

> > " . . . when I was . . . a boy," says Jonas,
> > whose father was a craftsman.
> >
> > Poor Pinocchio!  He's a puppet again!
> >
> > Mark Millman
> Mantis and I speculated that Jonas is a literary
> combination of Pinnochio (robot that becomes
> human) and the Steadfast Tin Soldier (Jonas
> relates to Jolenta because he thinks they're in
> the same condition, as when the STS sees the
> toy ballerina with her leg in the air and thinks
> she's missing a leg).  The Jonas/Pinnochio
> thing is emphasized by the Jonas = Jonah (a
> guy in a whale, just like Pinnochio).  I've also
> wondered  > whether Wolfe ever saw Osamu
> Tezuka's ASTRO BOY about a little robot boy
> who wants to be human.
> BTW, have I ever mentioned that Jonas is
> probably my favorite character in the series?
> He's easily the most down-to-earth, despite
> his own hassles.
> Lex Shellac

Yes, I remember your discussion well, and was referring to it.

I'm not sure that Wolfe intended this, but I'm choosing to interpret
Jonas' phrasing here as being an indication that he feels that he
actually was closer to the human state (an enlightened robot?)
when he was whole, and that he's suffered a certain fall from this
previous state due to his need to repair himself with human parts.

I wonder, by the way (and I don't recall whether we've discussed
this before) whether Jonas' distress mightn't be exacerbated
because he used more human spare parts than was strictly
necessary, in an attempt to pass more easily among the low-tech
inhabitants of Urth.  It's possible that his head wasn't badly (if at
all) damaged, and that he's simply using a human face as camou-
flage.  I realize that this raises questions, among others, of whether
a robot's designer would put the CPU in its head or its torso, but
assuming Jonas' is in his head, his continued existence would
argue that his head couldn't have been very badly damaged.
Severian's speculation on Jonas' habit of speech, in which he
wonders whether it hadn't been deliberately placed there to make
people feel at ease when looking into "a face of metal and glass"
(actually, I don't remember whether it was "metal" or "steel"), does
suggest that Jonas might have had the same thought when he
repaired himself.  Voila, Pinocchio lies (in a very big way), turns
once again into a puppet, and must struggle to regain his humanity.

Mark Millman

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

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