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From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: (whorl) [big spoiler] Narrative technique in _Return_, and
Date: Thu, 08 Feb 2001 10:23:27 +0000

on 2/8/01 6:35 AM, Dan Rabin at wolfe-lists@danrabin.com wrote:

> In _Return_, we pretty much get a chapter-by-chapter alternation
> between the homeward-bound story and the _Whorl_ story, told in very
> different styles.  Homecoming-protagonist pretty much continues his
> persona from _Green's_, but as Whorl-narrator he adopts a very
> mannered avoidance of identification with the Whorl-protagonist: he
> never names that person (always referred to via third-person pronouns
> or as "the man who...").

Not quite.  The third-person sections are not written by the
Homecoming-protagonist, but by the editors of BoTSS, Hoof, Hide and their
wives, as stated in the Afterword.  Which raises the question: why do the
editors keep up the ambiguity over the protagonist's identity until almost
the end?  One possibility is that they don't want to admit that Horn is
dead, but there are a couple of problems with this: apparently Hide and Hoof
never did believe that the protagonist was Horn (see the start of Hoof's
narration on p. 337); and when the editors finally do name the protagonist,
they unambiguously call him Silk.  Another case where the editors create a
mystery and I don't see why: it's clear that "Horn" gives an eye to Pig, but
as far as I can recall this is never stated.


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