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From: Jim Jordan <jbjordan@gnt.net>
Subject: Re: (whorl) Silk vis a vis God
Date: Mon, 07 Apr 1997 00:03:45 

[Posted from WHORL, the mailing list for Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun]

At 12:05 PM 4/6/97 -0400, you wrote:
>With regard to the identity of the Outsider, let me remind you of Lake,
>285, where Silk is telling Crane about his enlightenment:
>"Voices...One spoke into each ear most of the time. One was very
>masculine--not falsely deep, but solid, as if a mountain of stone were
>speaking. The other was feminine, a sort of gentle cooing; yet both voices
>were his...I believe, too, that the Outsider has a great many more voices
>as well. I could hear them in back of me at times, although indistinctly.
>It was as if a crowd were waiting behind me while its leaders whispered in
>my ears; but as if the crowd was actually all one person, somehow: the
>If that isn't Severian, I'll eat my mouse.

	Hope you like plastic!  :-) Or is this a pet mouse....?

	I'd say it is God and the Church, the Mother of believers and Bride of
Christ. Not only does this work with theology, specificially Roman Catholic
theology, but it is also in Wolfe, as in the Italian Restaurant run by
"Mamma and her sons" in *There Are Doors,* and as in the woman who runs the
church-hostel in "Westwind."

	If the same thing is going on with Severian -- and I'm not sure it is
(though it is an interesting symbolic suggestion) -- then it is because
they have a common source, not because the Outsider is Severian.

For my money, anyway. (In real life, a protestant theologian by trade.)

Signed: Big Rat (Nutria) -- and by the way, a Nutria might look like a
mouse, but I'm not YOUR mouse, so don't try slaughtering and roasting me!

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