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From: Alex David Groce <Alex_Groce@gs246.sp.cs.cmu.edu>
Subject: (whorl) Further RTTW stuff
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2001 13:02:38 

1) I'm unconvinced that Silk was actually attempting suicide in the
manse, in any sense other than not binding his wounds and hoping that
he would die.  I'm still not sure how he was wounded, though I have
some ideas (but need a second reading to clarify them).  Silk's
suicide attempts/contemplations in BOTNS and the rest BOTSS are
passive--even jumping off the airship strikes me as "letting the
ground kill me."  Second of all, I can't buy that if Silk really did
decide to _do_ something, he'd cut his arms in random spots,

2) I agree with alga that the godling is problematic.  I was impressed
by the overall effect of RTTW, but there are a lot of points still
bugging me, aside from what seems to have been rather subpar
copyediting.  The godling serves a useful role in the plot (but not
one I'm convinced couldn't have been handled otherwise) and definitely
heightens the surreal atmosphere of the whole night at Blood's, but it
still seems superfluous.

3) Hyacinth is one reason Silk doesn't admit to himself who he is
until Remora forces him to, but I think there is another, equally
compelling: Horn and Silk both know that Horn _has_ failed.  Horn was
sent by New Viron to bring the Silk that Horn wrote about, a Silk who
will solve their problems.  Silk is a very good man, but he knows (and
Horn finds out) that he isn't the Silk of BOTLS.  Viron is in better
shape than New Viron (certainly not physically, but as far as the
quality of its civic life) and Silk can't "fix things" there.  Silk
can lead people to victory in war.  He has the moral power of being a
very good man.  But, in the end, there isn't much that he can do about
people selling each other as slaves, if that's what they really want
to do.  Ironically, there's a twist here on the reception of Christ:
if the New Vironese expected Silk to lead them as an earthly king to
victory over enemies, he might suit the purpose.  Instead, they want
him to make them just and at peace without any change on their part,
which he can't do.  This also explains Silk's reluctance to go with
the Gaonese, but his willingness as well.  They want the Silk that he
isn't as well, but at least they want him for something he can
probably really do.

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32
Alex David Groce (agroce+@cs.cmu.edu)
Ph.D. Student, Carnegie Mellon University - Computer Science Department
8112 Wean Hall (412)-268-3066

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