Sunday, 16 April 2017

An Ambiguous Pathetic Fallacy

When Juniper Mackenzie wishes for the cunning of the Lord as Coyote:

"...a coyote howled in truth...or was it a wolf?"
-SM Stirling, A Meeting At Corvallis (New York, 2007), Chapter Twenty, p. 574.

She prays; nature answers - with a promise, coyote, or a threat, wolf: which?

Her enemy, Arminger, promises his daughter:

"'...when I win this war, I'll bring you the world for a toy!'" (p. 578)

That should sound familiar. Brechdan Ironrede tells his newest grandcub:

"'You shall have stars for toys...'"
-Poul Anderson, Ensign Flandry IN Anderson, Young Flandry (Riverdale, NY, 2010), Chapter Three, p. 28.

Operating on an interstellar scale, Brechdan can promise stars, not just the world. But Arminger's daughter knows better than him what is important:

"'Just bring yourself back, Daddy!'" (op. cit.)

The madman already has all that he needs and more but will kill more people anyway. See here.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Being a Catholic who disbelieves in pagan gods, I would have dismissed that howl as merely coming from a coyote or wolf.

Yes, Norman Arminger promising the world as a toy for his daughter DID immedately remind me of what Brechdan Ironrede had promised his infant grandcub.

Yes, Mathilda had a better grasp of what REALLY mattered, that she wanted her father to be safe and live a long life. Alas, the Protector refused to accept that enough was enough.


Paul Shackley said...

However, I think the howl makes sense not as an answer to prayer but as a literary pathetic fallacy although in this case an ambiguous one.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

An ambiguous pathetic fallacy? I can accept that!