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From: James Jordan <jbjordan@gnt.net>
Subject: (whorl) Death of Jahlee
Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2001 13:02:51 

At 10:24 PM 2/11/2001 -0800, you wrote:
>The protagonist spends a lot of time treating inhumi as people and trying 
>to see their point of view, even to the point of wanting to learn about 
>their reproductive habits.  He must be the most sympathetic human the 
>inhumi have encountered.  Then Jahlee tries to kill Nettle, and Juganu 
>leads a war party against the protagonist, who doesn't hesitate to kill 
>them in either case (although he seems to have some regret about Jahlee).
>I can't figure out whether these incidents represent the inhumi not being 
>able to rise above their nature, or whether they are a consequence of 
>their close imitation of humans.  Perhaps they imitate humans in war as in 

         Jahlee is in love with Horn. Nettle is her rival. She realizes 
this when face to face with Nettle at last. Horn defends his wife, and 
"goes too far." But that's reality.
         I believe that among the broad subtexts of the series is that Silk 
is like Jesus and Horn is a bit like Paul. Humans are the Jews, and the 
inhumi are the barbarians to whom Paul was sent. Yep, they are barbarians, 
but the good news of human blood can make them into something else. The 
blood of Christ transforms us. The body and blood of Silk are transforming 
Horn. Human blood is transforming the inhumi. But you don't stop being a 
barbarian overnight, especially when the "Jews" are really no better than 
the "barbarians," a point that both Paul and Horn continually make. Both 
must grow in "Silk-likeness." But it is "to the Jew first, and also to the 
Greek" (Romans, chapter 1). Humans must be transformed so that the inhumi 
can be.
         So, let's not be surprised if Jahlee's "sanctification" is 
imperfect. Wolfe's characters are on the road to being better people, but 
they are never perfect!
         But isn't there some awesome beauty in Jahlee's death? Dying in 
Nettle's forgiving arms? Wanting to be human so much that she hates her 
people and reveals the secret? Isn't this a good death, with penitence, 
forgiveness, and hope for a happy afterlife?
         Read this section again, Alga. I thought it was both sad and 
beautiful. It made me care for Jahlee more than ever. I think this 
bittersweet end makes Jahlee more human, and more loveable, than if she had 
just turned into a good person and lived happily ever after.

Patera Nutria

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