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Differences concerning Silk's "love" of Hyacinth

Patrick McEvoy-HalstonMarc Aramini I don't buy that Silk isn't fiercely fixated on Hyacinth proper, only I'm not sure that it is really love for another person. In psychoanalytic, object-relations theory, there's explorations of people who relate to those they "love" as "object" to "self," rather than "self" to "other." That is, the other person fundamentally represents a youthful version of their own selves, that they, serving as a parent they would have wished for in their own lives... someone who is dutiful, loyal and loving, "love," thereby providing them with once-denied/lacking nourishment. Hyacinth... is of a young, naïve, girl's mind, who is pathetic but also absolutely adorable in her trying to tease Silk in her sincerely meant letter to him... she's to be kept and held forever in this pet form. Silk in "loving" her is in fact giving love to a much younger version of himself, that we…

Taking credit for my theory as to how Severian perceived the undine and Jolenta's breasts

I'm going to take credit for a couple of things. I mentioned in one of my earlier posts the damage done to characters earlier in their lives is something Wolfe never seems to forget about his characters... were they grossly abandoned? were they repeatedly terrorized and beaten? -- if so, it's going to have a deep determining influence on them. With Severian I brought up how he was left alone without a mother, and with the undine and Jolenta, suggested that his reactions to them (... his being so compelled to join with the undine, after dreaming of joining with his mother after so many fruitless attempts; his attempts to describe Jolenta's breasts as simply beautiful, but not in a way which doesn't draw remembrance of mother and child, i.e., pregnancy, rather than simply of sex-goddess allure) were influenced by his projecting a lost mother onto them... the breastmilk that finally would be his. So, yesterday, I borrowed "Shadows of the New Sun," a book of inte…

There's a scene in "Citadel"...

Patrick McEvoy-Halston December 4 at 3:06 PM There's a scene in "Citadel" where an evil doctor tries to fool Severian into thinking that he isn't seeing what he thinks he's seeing; this bit:

"The old man pinched his cheek. "He'll recover quickly--in time to warm my bed tonight. At his age they always do. Nay, it's not what you think. I only sleep beside him because the night-breath of the young acts as a restorative to those of my years. Youth, you see, is a disease, and we may hope to catch a mild case. How stands your wound?"

There was nothing--not even an admission, which might have been rooted in some perverse desire to maintain an appearance of potency--that could have convinced me so completely as his denial. I told him the truth, that my right cheek-was numb save for a vague burning as irritating as an itch, and wondered which of his duties the miserable boy minded most.” This harm done by the doctor, this experimentation with patients, W…

Autarch

The autarch in Book of the New Sun has always grated on me. Severian insists on his being a good man, the best overall autarch, but I think his account is over-fond of a man who to me is more readily despicable than either Typhon or Ash (the truths Ash inflicts on Severian are read as massively wounding to him; Typhon gives overt room to hate his guts), in that he is left as someone who, even as he admits... while always scaling way above the little truths women share with one another, to no knowledge of Truth, pretty much knows everything as much as anyone can.
And what does he know? That there is something called "human nature," and that his expertise in it allows him to manipulate and manage every one of his subjects so they're always kept under control... "happy enough with their careers to continue, and discontented enough with their fates..." The text doesn't allow us to want to see him -- this guy who sounds like the most cynical sort of capitalist ov…

Severian as Jolenta

The fate of Thecla once she is transposed into Severian, is not exactly enviable. She's been told she would one day sit on the throne, and beyond this... actually accurate foretelling, being delivered to her in the most mockingly cruel way possible, she suffers other indignities... like for example being made essentially silent to voice her own preferred self-assessment, and thus forced to live presented by Severian as in "many respects a cruel and foolish woman." We know that it is owing to her that Severian escapes the prisons of the House Absolute -- but this knowledge of how escape can be achieved works also to betray her as one who herself used the whips by the perpetrating exultants who made use of the secret opening her memory reveals, a crime designated as way worse than any torturer's, because Severian's account of torturers as never, ever, ever sadistic -- all good men, these torturers -- is never given overt textual challenge (by way of contrast, exult…