Saturday, 7 May 2016

Pathetic Fallacy And Pagan Experience

Is the natural environment or some major part of it a single powerful living being?

"It whispered, the breeze..." (Gallicenae, p. 170)

Literally whispered? In an unknown language? ("Old man river...")

"It stirred, the sea, in low waves that somehow moved as one, like a single huge being gently breathing in its sleep." (ibid.)

To the Ysans, the sea and their Sea God are one - a single Being.

Gratillonius, inwardly forswearing the Ysan Gods, has defeated but refused to kill a challenger. Waves crash against the sea wall and:

"Their sound went undergroundishly through the whole city, as if earth responded to that anger." (p. 192)

Literal anger. Does the sea sound angry or is the Sea God really angry? There is no difference.

"Starless dark engulfed heaven..." (ibid.)

The Goddess who is Star of the Sea is not visible, has turned away.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Very skillful use of the pathetic fallacy by the Andersons here. Of course some Ysans would very likely interpret such "signs" as evidence of the anger and dissatisfaction of their gods with Gratillonius. Esp. his refusal to slay Rufinus.

I simply don't recall many SF writers, at least recently, using the pathetic fallacy as deftly as did Poul Anderson. I had recent books like Weir's THE MARTIAN and Steele's ARKWRIGHT in mind. I'm sorry to say this, but I thought the last part of ARKWRIGHT rather flat and colorless (set on alien world colonized by humans).