[DWJ] An alternative view of Lenina

Philip Belben philipbelben at alice.de
Sat Mar 24 06:38:08 EDT 2012

Gillian wrote:

> Oh, interesting points, not sure how much we can actually see in the
> text, but very interesting to think about!

Not much, I admit.  It was very speculative.  I was trying to tell one 
possible story.

> I thought the truth he told was I want her, simply that.

I don't think simply telling a girl "I want you", even backed by the 
cwidder, would make her abandon her fiancé like that.  The truth that he 
needed to tell with the cwidder was rather "you want me".  So my story 
was based on the notion that this was true.

Clennen's misuse of truth was to make it "you want me, you want the life 
we will have together, you want that more than you want Ganner and all 
he can give you".  As Moril discovered, if you tell the truth in the 
wrong way, it's not true any longer, though it's just as powerful as before.

Oh, and thanks to Sally for posting that poem about the Pedlar.  I 
hadn't thought about it in those terms - I was thinking more of the way 
Heyer explores this theme in The Foundling.  Assuming that Lenina didn't 
realise she was under a spell, maybe the Pedlar poem expresses what she 
thought she thought - the mistake she thought she had made.  (I hope 
that makes sense.)

It occurs to me to wonder: Ganner too can have had no idea that Lenina 
was under a spell when she ran off.  OK, Clennen had put Ganner on the 
spot by asking for the thing in Ganner's hand, but Lenina went quite 
willingly.  And yet Ganner remained faithful for seventeen years.  Was 
he really such a hero?  Or was he more like me, just someone who doesn't 
know when to give up?


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