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From: Alex David Groce <Alex_Groce@gs246.sp.cs.cmu.edu>
Subject: Re: (whorl) RTTW spoilers, Delusional and/or Quixotic
Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2001 21:17:43 


Nice post, mantis.

Note that there is also Nutria's reading: Horn isn't delusional, but
his family & Remora (our editors) are.

I find the most convincing reading to be a mixture of the Quixotic and
the delusional: Horn and Silk are both present in the body from the
moment of the transfer from Green.  Silk, however, is in a funk--while
he contributes to the actions of Silkhorn, at first he does not wish
to acknowledge himself as still alive.  Equally, Horn doesn't want to
admit to himself that he's "dead," but certainly can't say "I'm Silk
now"--both because he's sane enough to know that he isn't the Silk
that New Viron needs, even if he is the real Silk in some sense.  He's
also having a hard time admitting that Silk is in him wishing he were
dead.  The Long Sun narration makes it clear that the little suicide
scene on top of the airship was traumatic for Horn.  This is much

The behavior ends up being very Silkish because both Horn (& the
slowly emerging real Silk) view "book Silk" as a very good man.  After
all, thouhg Horn invented, to some extent, "book Silk," where do we
think he got his idea of what a good man is?

Remora doesn't drive Horn out as in an excorcism so much as force
Silkhorn to acknowledge that by this point Horn has faded away--he can
die now, because he hasn't failed, really.  Silk has become willing to
live by this point, but isn't willing to admit he's alive.  Horn has
become less and less essential, but cannot admit to himself that he is
dead until Silk no longer needs him.

So, why, having become himself again, does Silk take off to return to
the whorl?

As I see it, Silk sees that the two problems facing the colonists are
not ones he can solve.  p. 314 is the crucial point.  First, Silk
considers the government of New Viron.  The _real Silk_, we know, gave
up rulership in Viron once it became clear that he could not rule
without forcing his will upon an unwiling populace.  New Viron is in
much worse state.  "Silk would pray, of course."  If prayer and the
influence of "book Silk" are all (hardly nothing, I would say) he can
do, he can do that as well from the Whorl, where he may really be
needed.  Also, remember that at this point it is mostly Silk running
the show.  Silk's home is the Whorl.  He was willing to leave when it
was the order of Pas and the Outsider, but even then he turned back
for Hyacinth, and never left, though surely he had opportunities over
the years.  He is a stranger on Blue.

The second problem is that of the inhumi, and again, it is the problem
of evil.  Indeed, despite his having discovered the humanity of the
inhumi, Silkhorn is still himself capable of murdering his daughter
when she attacks Nettle.  He knows enough to doubt that there is a
"solution" to this problem other than the one above--for men to be
better than they are.

"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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