Poetry appreciation (was Re: Howl film)

Belben, Philip (Energy Wholesale) Philip.Belben at eon-uk.com
Tue Jun 28 04:06:13 EDT 2005


I've finally caught up with the list again.  Whew!  Two weeks' holiday,
200 messages of backlog, and nearly a month to get through them!

> [spoiler space for 'Howl's Moving Castle']
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Paul, after replying to Judith:

> While we're on the subject of the poem, do people think the third
> verse ("Even the good woman is untrue") was included in the curse?
> Obviously it didn't happen during the book (we're all glad for
> Sophie's sake, I'm sure), but might it be one of the things that had
> already happened? (And would this explain Howl's attitude to women, or
> is he just a jerk?)

Don't think so.  The curse is transmitted by the photocopied sheet of
Neil's homework assignment, which contains only the two verses.

I think that Howl's attitude to women derives from his lack of a heart.
While Calcifer has his heart, Heartless Howl cannot truly love a women,
although, being a susceptible sort of fellow, he has plenty of crushes,
affairs and infatuations.  Part of his heartless nature seems to be that
he cannot know (or desire?) what he lacks - so he keeps trying, hoping
that he'll find a life-partner, oblivious to the fact that he is
incapable of forming a lasting attachment.

Philip (back at last!)

PS  where else was there a curse that included a clause that the victim
couldn't desire what he lacked?  Of course!  It came to me as I typed
the question: a side effect of Marceny's horrible black magic on Herrel
was that when he was split in two, neither half could desire the other's
qualities.




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