I Ate'nt Dead -- or That Which Does Not Kill Us Makes UsStronger

Ven vendersleighc at yahoo.com
Tue Sep 24 20:50:47 EDT 2002

Thanks for a fantastic, thought-provoking post,
Ven!  Sadly, exams 
loom for me, so I can't give this anything like
the thought it 
deserves, but I figured half-baked, uninformed
feedback was better 
than none (hopefully you'll feel the same way),
and can't bear not to 
contribute same.

Hey,  half-baked, uninformed feedback is better
than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

I wrote
>In using the terms resurrection and rebirth I'm
>including the symbolic as well as the literal
>meaning. I have some vague categories, they are
>of course common to a great deal of western and
>probably world literature:
>The actual raising from the dead or healing of a
>fatal injury/illness.
>Release from imprisonment, both literal and
>The reuniting of sundered parts of a personality
>or a person. This is common in Dwj, is it a
>personal motif?
>The obliteration of a character's former life by
>external factors, so they have to begin again
>from scratch (very apt for Dogsbody's Sirius).
>The deliberate shedding of the old life in order
>to begin the new.

and Hallie replied
<It's interesting seeing this grouping; I'd
noticed a theme in a lot 
of books of people making mistakes and then
owning up to them, making 
reparation if possible, and so being able to move
on.  Which is very 
much related to your symbolic
resurrection/rebirth.  (And is a 
favourite theme of mine, I guess, possibly at
least in part because 
of past experiences.)>

This is particularly appropriate to LoCC .
Christopher has to face up to the way his Uncle
has been using him. HIs way of doing this is to
take charge, to lie for tacroy and to organise
the castle defenses. It's interesting to contrast
Cat. He was an entirely unknowing tool of
Gwendolen's, but all the same his first instinct
was always to cover for her, and he continues to
do so even after she has gone and left his weith
janbet, and then he covers up for Janet too.
However his moment comes when he finally admits
to himself what his sister intended and takes his
magic back form her.

<The reuniting of sundered parts got me thinking
though, and last 
night, three-quarters asleep, it came to me that
it related to my 
perceived theme in a sort of Jungian way.  (I
know very little about 
Jung, only snibbets read here and there, so I'm
not trying to act as 
if I've more.)  If you look at examples where the
sundered parts of 
personality have gotten disconnected because of
an inability to 
accept them, it sounds very like the shadow self,
doesn't it?  (Does 
it?  Does to me, at any rate.)  So prime example
would be Ivy in F&H, 
though both Polly and Tom have this to a degree,
but both are able to 
face up to it (in themselves, I mean) "dredge it
up" as Gran says, 
and this is what allows them the chance for a new
life.  Similarly 
Mordion, and even Christopher, although in less
"adult" way.  (Umm, I 
think I mean that his selfishness is not related
to repressing part 
of his personality, because it's clearly his very
limiting upbringing 
that has caused parts of him to be so
undeveloped.)  Lots of people 
in WW (though they were more repressing that
shadow side from fear, 
rather than guilt), Cat in CL, these are just
ones that come to mind.>

I've read Jung and particularly Campbell and a
lot of comparitive mythology. I certainly had the
archetypal hero's journey in mind when I wrote my
post. Other examples of the shadow self -- Mitt
and his father in DA (I could make out a case for
them being each other's shadow selves*) Moril in
C+C, the whole family in SC (ie  their undying
heritage), Howard and several others in AG,  Derk
in DLOD ends up having to play his own Shadow
self as it were......... 

<_Deep Secret_ is a bit different, as the ones
who are literally 
sundered have been split by the actions of other
people, while Rupert 
maybe acts it all out on a purely human level. 
Better explain that - 
his sociability, his connection with people in
general, has been 
repressed, split off from him, and he has to
accept that he did this, 
mistakenly, while Maree and Andrew have done
nothing themselves which 
caused them to be split.  Right?  Actually, it's
even a bit more, as 
part of the way Rupert sees he's made mistakes
(and I can't think of 
a character who is *more* willing to admit his
mistakes, probably way 
too much so) is by seeing the other potential
magids who seem to have 
bits of the character he's split off, but in
their cases, it's their 
whole character, rather than a repression of a
part they don't want 
to acknowledge.  Punt, with his "aloofness",
which turns out to be 
just voyeurism, Tansy Ann's "grey psychic
blanket", which she sees in 
everyone else.  Don't know about Thurless and

Thurless is like personified anger -- Meldrew
without the humour ("blocking my way, dancing
about and flicking her damned fingernails -- I
Don't Believe It" is actually very Rupert now I
come to think of it. WhatsisCroatianname is just
psychotic, he's slipped all his gears. 

<........offhand, but now that I think of it, it
works for Maree as well, in reverse.
Once Rupert sees her positively, as a stubborn
fighter, he 
appreciates that in her, but he never sees it in
himself, while 
fighting against appalling odds, and just
refusing to wash his hands 
of all the problems that are too much for him.>

To get back to the "is it a personal motif"
question, well, I could 
at least see how it *could* be.  Given the things
DWJ has said in 
various places about her mother, whose behaviour
sounds pretty 
appalling.  But the thing that struck me is the
fact that she's said 
her mother never seems to get it - never has been
able to see how she 
might have been a less than wonderful mother.  So
you could see at 
least an element of the no possibility of a new
chance/rebirth (here 
good relationship with her daughter) without
first owning the shadow 
of her own neglectful parenting.>

This is fascinating, it chimes very well with my
own issues...... I can't remember if i said this
already but it's interesting in view of the
sundered families motif that I got at these ideas
via one of my role playing characters.

<This quote really impressed me. I found this a
while ago, and was 
longing to use it in an essay on _Dracula_, which
gets *tons* of 
Freudian analysis, but sadly couldn't.

    Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, James Hillman,
Louise-Marie von Franz and others have written
eloquently and extensively about the importance 
of myth in our modern society, the need for 
tales rich in archetypal images to give coherence
to fragmented modern lives. "Using archetypes and
symbolic language," writes folklore scholar and
author Jane Yolen, "[fantasy tales] externalize 
for the listener conflicts and situations that
cannot be spoken of or explained or as yet

Good quote

The "fragmented" modern lives just struck me as
particularly apt to 
the sundered bit of your list of ways the motif
shows up.>

The fragmentation of modern lives was already in
motion when DWj became an evacuee, so it's
something she has always lived with. And Irrc she
does acknowledge it's influence on the kind of
things she writes about, THB (Homeward Bounders)
being a prime example.

Something I find very interesting in Dwj is thae
range in which she works. There are books like
TotG which have very obvious biographical
reference and then ones like THB which on the
surface couldn't be less like her own life.

*I'll just mention that this put me in mind of
the father son relationship in Tim Powers' Last
Call and I'm having to restrain myself from going
there right now


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