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From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: (whorl) RTTW spoilers, the main narrator
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2001 10:54:04 

on 2/13/01 8:56 PM, Michael Andre-Driussi at mantis@sirius.com wrote:

> IIRC, as Horn lay dying in the lander on Green, the deal expressed by the
> Neighbors was something like: from two broken men we will make one whole
> man.  And since Horn's "broken" nature was a dead body, well, it seemed as
> if the broken part of Silk was something different, for example, a
> spirit/soul that was seeking oblivion.  So if this is true, then Horn's
> healthy spirit is poured into Silk's healthy body (which also just happens
> to be on the Whorl, where Horn had been trying to go).
I agree with all of this; in fact, the Neighbor says he will send Horn's
spirit "into someone whose own spirit is dying."  I think that this means
just what you say above: that Silk's spirit was seeking oblivion, not that
it was on its way out of Silk's body.

> To turn your question around: if, as you seem to be saying, Silk's spirit
> =was= already in Silk's body, and Horn's spirit is in there, too


> (a
> Severian/Thecla situation: the Neighbor maybe should have said "you will be
> a crutch for a broken man--until he heals" rather than that other way of
> two broken men being used to make one whole man?  Certainly seems true, in
> a sense, in retrospect!), then I fail to see the drive/point/goal of the
> narrator in making sure that he catches the spirit from Pig when it comes
> out.

Here is where I was misunderstanding you: I had not realized you thought
that Horn had deliberately sought to get Silk-from-mainframe downloaded into
him from Pig.  Now that you say this, I can see that there is some evidence
in the book to support this: there is the extraordinary effort "Horn" makes
to visit Pig, and at the start of Chapter 18, "Horn" denies that it was
"'good a' yer'" to visit Pig, and says "'I came so that you might see me.'"
But I don't believe it, for several reasons.  For one thing, possession
doesn't happen automatically, and "Horn" never asks Silk-in-mainframe to
enter him, or at least we are never told about it.  Okay, maybe it happened
before he got a chance to ask, and he knew this.  But that comes up against
my second point.  In the dialogue with Silk-in-Pig on p. 374, "Horn" doesn't
sound like he's expecting or hoping that Silk-in-mainframe will or has
entered him.  He believes he has failed.

The third point: at the end of Chapter 16, as "Horn" is crawling to Pig, "At
his elbow Crane's ghost murmured, 'Is it really worth all this to fight free
of Hari Mau for an hour or two, Silk?'"  Assuming that it is not really
Crane's ghost talking (and why would he be hanging around the West Pole?) it
is either "Horn"'s unconscious, or "Horn" imagining what the sardonic Crane
would say; in either case it is really "Horn" speaking.  But if "Horn"'s
visiting Pig were a plan to fulfill his mission, "Horn" would not accuse
himself of seeking just "'to fight free of Hari Mau for an hour or two.'"
("Crane"'s words are also further evidence that Silk's spirit is already
present in "Horn"; "Horn" would hardly hallucinate or imagine Crane's ghost
calling him "Silk" if it were just a question of physical resemblance.)

I think that "Horn" went to visit Pig because he was his friend, with
possibly a touch of the motive "Crane" attributes; and that his denial that
it's "'good a' yer'" is just his modesty.

> So . . .
> what?  You already have a 100% Silk spirit in that body, along with a 100%
> Horn spirit.  Why have 200% Silk?

This would not be much of an obstacle to my theory, in any case: if "Horn"
doesn't realize he is Silk already, he might well seek to get Silk
downloaded into him.  But in fact I don't believe he sought to get Silk, or
anybody else, downloaded into him, so the point is moot.

> Looking forward to seeing your model.

Most of my model you've seen already, and the rest I've said above, but I'll
summarize it: Silk tries to commit suicide.  The dying Horn's spirit is
projected into Silk by the Neighbor.  Silk and Horn's spirit merge, with
Silk's personality dominant but burying its identity in Horn's memories.
Pig is possessed by Silk-in-mainframe (I have no opinion on when this
happened, or on what era Silk this is), but Silkhorn does not seek to be
possessed by Silk-in-mainframe, nor is he.  Eventually Horn's spirit
disappears from Silkhorn, for obscure reasons, and shortly afterwards Silk
is brought to realize his true identity.

In another post, mantis wrote:

> Yes, well put.  However, Adam, wouldn't it be an even stronger case if the
> world-weary Silk-who-saw-Hyacinth-dead was gone and replaced by a fresh
> Silk-who-did-not-even-know-she-was-sick?  So that the only one in that body
> who knew the complete truth about Hyacinth was the Horn spirit.

But Pig has seen the dead Hyacinth (and knows it is her) and tells Hound
about it (83).  Silk-in-Pig would be aware of Hyacinth's death at this
point, if not before.

> Thus, a new-Silk "coming up to speed on the events of the last few years"
> rather than old-Silk being completely delusional.

I'm afraid I don't follow you here.  Why does new-Silk's "coming up to
speed" have as a consequence his not manifesting himself in Horn (at least
not that we see) until he reads the hyacinth passage, at which point he
takes over completely?

> The narrator must know that he isn't "Silk" (whether this is "oldSilk" or
> "mainframeSilk" or "litSilk," or some combination thereof, doesn't matter
> at the moment) but he must have some inkling that the Silk-he-is-not exists
> somewhere else (mainframe, for example, the place where the dead folk go).
> I think that the narrator knows he is in Silk's body, but still this is
> something that is constantly being grappled with internally, as well as
> externally, since everybody he meets assumes that he is Silk.
> Now, when the narrator strongly suspects that there is a Silk in Pig,
> obviously (according to the reasoning above) he would get very excited.
> Must get that Silk!

To avoid misunderstanding, let me summarize what I think you're saying: Horn
knows that he's in Silk's body and that he isn't Silk, so he knows that the
quest to bring back the physical Silk is a failure.  But then he discovers
Silk-in-Pig, and realizes he can fulfill his quest by letting this Silk
possess him.  But if this model were correct, then once Horn gets
confirmation that Silk is possessing Pig, he should refocus his quest on
curing Pig's blindness.  And this doesn't happen.  When he meets Calde
Bison, he asks him where Silk is, and is in despair when Bison says he
doesn't know (286).  And, mulling over his time in New Viron, the narrator
writes: "When the Prolocutor had me sacrifice in the Grand Manteion ... it
tipped the scales toward failure.  Had I not acceded to his request, I might
have found Silk, whom I heard was staying at our inn, although only when it
was too late." (264)  Neither of these passages makes sense if Horn's goal
at this point is to cure Pig's blindness; both imply he is still searching
for the physical Silk.  (The latter is also further evidence that the
narrator still cannot admit to himself he is in Silk's body.)

> But judging by the results, which happen before the
> first word of TBOTSS is written, the Silk he got wasn't the Silk he was
> looking for.

So (again to avoid misunderstanding) at some point Horn "tried out" the
downloaded Silk-in-Pig in him and discovered that, for some reason, it
wouldn't do.  But the end of the scene with Remora doesn't fit with this
model.  Remora says: "'Horn did not fail us, Patera.  Calde.  You see that
now?'  Silk nodded."  If your model were correct, Silk's response should
have been "But he did fail, because I'm not the Silk that New Viron needs
[or whatever the reason was]."

There is also the question of why none of these events--Horn's decision to
seek to get Silk-in-Pig downloaded into himself, the actual downloading, and
the testing and rejection of the downloaded Silk--are mentioned in the text.
Was Horn so embarrassed by the fiasco that he decided not to say anything
about it to anyone?  Even if there wasn't so much evidence against your
model, the fact that it relies on so many crucial events not mentioned in
the text would make me very reluctant to accept it.


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