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Date: Tue, 24 Dec 2002 10:56:56 -0700
From: maa32 
Subject: (urth) second stories

I was looking through the second round of stories told In Green's Jungles.  I 
was hit by several possible allegorical interpretations - I don't know how 
many of you buy Wolfe's stories as metonymies for the larger narrative.  I 
believe it - as I believe that the story of the suitors looking for the golden 
ring in Citadel of the Autarch allegorizes Severian, Baldanders, and the 
androgyne and their attempts to be the candidates for the New Sun.  Here goes:

The first story concerns a storm strega (Chapter 7).  She gets a man to clean 
out her chimney, then she gets mad and sends a storm, stuffing a woman up 
another man's chimney.  Here we have two chimneys - one being cleaned out by a 
slave, the other being stuffed by a vengeful witch.  To clean out the second 
chimney, they drop tinderwood down it.  In the Short Sun books, we have the 
story of the Mother, a powerful Strega, on a flooded world.  Later, the 
neighbor Windcloud talks of humanity as a bunch of birds temporarily staying 
on his chimney.  The planet blue is his chimney.  Replacing these terms, we 
can see the Strega as the Mother, trying to procure a slave who is enamored of 
her (as Horn is enamored of Seawrack) in order to put him to work to do 
something of planetary importance.  Has she flooded the planet to make a home 
for herself?  She is the "divinity" of winds and storms, isn't she?

The allegorical interpretation I place on the second story is important to me.
 Listen to the intro: "Once very long ago, there were two little girls whose 
houses were only a few steps apart, but were far from any other houses at 
all."  One little girl was good, the other was a liar and a cheat. The girls 
played together, grew larger, and got closer.  Then "a little settlement that 
was nowehere near them grew to a town and broke out in politics".  Then war 
threatens.  Look at the description of blue and green in the front of the 
book: one is "better", one is "worse".  They are close together. And the other 
planets are farther out.  A "town" has recently broken out in politics - 
namely, the long sun whorl.  Now notice the inversion at the end of the story 
- the bad girl is revealed to be MORA, not Fava, even though that is what we 
expect from the story.  I believe this represents the switch that Wolfe has 
pulled - we expect Blue to be Urth (if we buy into that) because all the 
details fit from the story - but the revelation of which world is the "bad 
one" is surprising (if we believe Urth is Green).

Also, I believe that the drama enacted by Horn on Green to clean the sewer is 
a passion play past down to tell the story of Severian, a cultural and world 
myth. Notice that it is told in the third person.

Just some comments about those stories - I'm sure they are important, whether 
you buy my interpretations or not.

Marc Aramini


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