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Date: Mon, 23 Sep 2002 18:09:54 -0700
From: Michael Andre-Driussi 
Subject: Re: (urth) The cenoby files

Roy wrote about the painting and the trunk.  I'll address the trunk part.

>When Marble first went up to the attic, she searched her memory for how long
>it had been since she had last done that; 184 years before. (LS3, 5) She had
>been a "graceful girl" then; in fact, she had been a "graceful girl" for 120
>years by then, because the _Whorl_  has been gone from Urth for 300 years.


>Now that trunk. On that first trip to the attic Marble also noticed an old,
>rusted, tin trunk. She tried to recall who had owned it, "eventually running
>down the whole list--every sibyl who had ever lived in the cenoby--without
>finding a single tin trunk among the associated facts". When a sibyl died,
>what few personal possessions she had were either shared among the other
>sibyls or returned to her family. The fact that she knew the names--had a
>list in a memory file--of "every sibyl who had ever lived in the cenoby" is
>because Marble had spent her entire career aboard the _Whorl_ at the Sun
>Street Manteion. Remember, it has been 184 years since she last opened that
>attic door, and the tool to hook the door with has been lost for "more than
>a century". She goes on to think: "She hadn't been up there, no one had--"
>There is no way, then, for that trunk to have belonged to Rose, but there is
>more misdirection, by Wolfe, about this trunk.


>problem is, _that trunk had been in the attic for at least 184 years_! Its
>contents had never been dispersed because Marble was still alive.

Let's stop there.

Fact: Marble hasn't been there in 184 years.
Fact: Marble supposes that nobody had been up there for a century.

The crux of your point seems to be that Marble implies or believes that she
saw the trunk there on her last visit, 184 years earlier (a paradox), but
as I read over the text in the book it seems to me that Marble does =not=
say that she saw the trunk there on her last visit (184 years earlier).

Thus, it resolves: the last time she went up into the attic she was a maid,
then she put away her maid gear and became a sibyl, at which point =someone
else= put her footlocker up in the attic, and now she enters the attic to
see an unfamiliar trunk which is her forgotten old life.  Her supposition
about the amount of time since anybody else had been up there is simply

Or am I once again missing something?



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