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Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 15:24:51 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jerry Friedman 
Subject: RE: (urth) catamites and narrators

--- Dan'l Danehy-Oakes  wrote:
> > However,there is some evidence that works against this both in 
> > Fifth Head of Cerberus,
> With all due respect, Number Five is not a "protagonist." 5HC
> has none; it has viewpoint characters, but we do not -- I think
> it's clear that we are not supposed to -- "identify" with them.

I certainly identified with Number 5, despite his great differences
from me, and I think the reader is supposed to.  I don't have any
problem with calling him the protagonist of the story.  Not the

> They are horrible, and we perceive them as horrible, and if any
> single thing is clear from the cryptic last line of the first
> novella, it's that there is no salvation or hope for any of 
> them unless they are radically changed.

Now I agree with that.

> Anyone familiar with the culture of the Commonwealth, I
> think. As Nutria points out, Severian is not a "Christian
> moral exemplar," but he does seem to be very heterosexual
> ... unless you want to go for the "don-Juanism as a cover
> for homosexuality" blag. 
> On the other hand, Severian commits almost every other
> sexual sin available to him in the circumstances of his
> travels -- incest, fornication, a kind of adultery, 
> rape ... though not, as near as I can recall, bestiality
> -- so the lack of homosex actually kind of stands out as
> a blatant absence, donnit?

Simply because all Severian's sexual acts require the same
preference--grown women--whereas homosexuality, pedophilia,
bestiality, latex, etc. require other preferences?  Regardless
of which ones you consider sinful and which you don't.

Incidentally, if by incest and "a kind of adultery" you mean
his relationship with Dorcas, I really think those are Not
His Fault.

Jerry Friedman

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