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From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>
Subject: Re: (whorl) Third-person sections in RttW
Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2001 09:36:35 

On Sun, 1 Apr 2001, Adam Stephanides wrote:

> If the editors
> simply wanted to fill in the gaps in Horn's story, a straightforward account
> the length of Horn's chapter summarizing his career on Green would have
> sufficed.  

The simplest explanation seems to me that Nettle was interested in the
Whorl, so Horn talked a lot about what happened in the Whorl amongst his
family but very little about the events of OBW and IGJ.  So much that the
kids had lots of material, much more than a chapter, and decided to
incorporate all of it into the book.

They must have decided to model the third book on the first one, which
switches back and forth from present to past.  Book two has some
flashbacks, but book three, as the Narrator wrote it, has almost none.  So
they may have written the Whorl stuff the way they did to make book three
better match the other two.

> But there are  ways of indicating that the protagonist is both Horn and Silk
> without using amalgams like "Silkhorn."  And while the editors' suppression
> of any name but "he" leaves the protagonist's identity ambiguous in
> retrospect, it doesn't read that way at the time.  Since "Horn" protests
> that he is Horn throughout, and since the third-person sections give us (we
> think) access to "Horn's" mind which seemingly bears out his claim, we
> accept his claim at face value (at least I did).  So the failure to identify
> the protagonist is deceptive in effect.  And I have a hard time believing
> the editors wouldn't have recognized that and taken steps to correct it.

Every single person Hornsilk meets in the Whorl recognizes him as Silk and
treats him like Silk.  Oreb identifies him on almost every page.  Short of
adding editorial comentary (e.g. "'My name is Horn,' said the hybrid
person, not realizing that it was Horn's spirit inhabiting Silk's body."),
I don't know what more the editors could have done.  And I'm not sure they
were confident enough in what had happened to supply that kind of
statement even if they had wanted to write that way.


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