Dalemark Quartet

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Thu Jul 29 15:07:22 EDT 2004

Robyn suggested

>I think Minnow's is perhaps the darkest shade of interpretation; maybe
>there's a more middle ground? What if the cwidder encouraged Lenina to act
>on an impulse she had that she might otherwise have resisted? I was
>thinking maybe heart over head kind of decision. She could regret it, but
>she's the kind of person that would stick with it even when she realised it
>was an impulsive mistake.

An impulsive mistake sounds exactly right, certainly the mistake part.  The
impulse was not, I think, her own.

That she goes as fast as go she may and gets married to Ganner on the same
day that Clennen has been killed seems somehow indicative of where her
heart actually did lie, or it does to me.

If she'd ever set eyes on Clennen before the occasion on which she
abandoned her betrothed in the middle of their engagement bash then maybe
her action on that occasion would be more plausible as being something she
had any great say in, but Clennen says that he had never seen her before he
turned up to sing for her betrothal feast, and that somewhat indicates that
she hadn't seen him either.  As far as one can tell from the recounting of
the event, the first thing she ever said to Clennen was "yes" in acceptance
of his demand that she walk out on her family for the sake of a total
stranger.  That doesn't smack to me of any sort of actual or informed
decision on her own account, nor even of a mad moment of her own, far more
of a compulsion or geas.

I find it difficult to see how laying such a geas on somebody has a lighter
interpretation than thoroughly murky and despicable, to be honest: in what
way is forced marriage to a stranger not dark?  Even if you *don't* already
have someone else you're planning to marry, for whom you care?

It occurs to me too that the cwidder's effect seems still to be working on
Lenina (perhaps because she hears it being played every day).  She fails to
recognise Ganner until he tells her who he is, on the third occasion he
comes and finds her.  That seems a little strange, if she's talked with him
on the first occasion and he has known her both then and when he rides past
the cart on the road.  So it's possible that this isn't just a one-off mad
moment, it's a continuing ensorcellment, unless Ganner has really changed
in seventeen years so as to be unrecognisable.

The more I look at it, the more this belongs in the "slavery" thread we had
a couple of weeks back, in fact.  "The cwidder: a mind-altering drug."



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