FIND in
<--prev V210 next-->
From: StoneOx17@aol.com
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2002 10:11:06 EDT
Subject: (urth) PEACE: Doris

I think I've figured out another piece of the Doris puzzle.  I was
going to wait until I'd thought through its ramifications further
before posting, but when I saw Roy's speculations about Julius, 
I decided I might as well post now, since it bears on to the 
question of, when Weer inherited the factory, whether Julius had
died or merely retired.

I argued before that when Charles Turner visited Weer, he was 
actually trying to meet Julius Smart (the previous president), and 
that he wanted to buy some of Mr. Tilly's carney medicines from 
Julius, who took over Mr. Tilly's practice.  But who was the 
medicine for?  When Julius treated Charles as a baby, it appears
that one course of the hair medicine is good for life, so Charles
shouldn't need any refills (and indeed, from his letter to Weer, he
doesn't seem to be losing any hair after he fails to procure the
medicine).  The only other person mentioned in the letter who might 
have benefitted from one of the carney medicines is Tom Lavine, 
the 7' 6" Canadian giant, and he isn't going to start shrinking if he 
fails to get the medicine.  So who does Charles want the medicine 
for?  My suggestion is that it's for Doris.

Here's the story as I've reconstructed it.  Charles has gotten to know 
Doris and has fallen in love with her.  Their ages are inappropriate for a 
relationship (he's over 40, and she can't be more than 16 -- shades of
Lolita), so he doesn't try to seduce her, but he does want to help her.
His first plan is to get some medicine from Julius Smart and turn her
into a circus freak.  However, this plan fails when he reaches 
Cassionsville and learns that Julius is dead and has been succeeded
by Weer, who, he ascertains without revealing much, doesn't know
about Julius' carney medicine practice.  He then goes to dinner with
Weer, and pours his heart out about Doris' situation.  Together they 
come up with an alternate plan: set Doris up with Tom Lavine. (He 
apparently doesn't think of the more practical alternative of just giving 
Doris getaway money and letting her escape, possibly because he 
doesn't want to lose her, or possibly because he can't imagine life
outside the circus.)  This fails miserably, and Charles writes the letter 
to Weer.

How does this fit in with the rest of the novel?  For one thing, there's a
very interesting parallel of Doris and Charles with Sherry and Weer.  The
girls are both around 16, and the men are both a little over 40.  I don't
know what this parallel means, though.  Does Sherry commit suicide?
It doesn't seem likely.  Another thing it implies is that Julius is dead when
Charles meets Weer, as otherwise he would have gone looking for 
Julius rather than adapting his alternative plan, so I think we can conclude
that Weer inherited from Julius after his death, either because Julius died
intestate and Weer was his closest living relative or because Julius
named Weer in his will.

Any more thoughts on what this means?

- Stone Ox


<--prev V210 next-->