NABOKV-L post 0007066, Mon, 11 Nov 2002 09:00:19 -0800

Subject
Fw: demons of pity - Ck replies to Tom Bolt
Date
Body
----- Original Message -----
From: "Carolyn Kunin" <chaiselongue@earthlink.net>
To: "Vladimir Nabokov Forum" <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
> ----------------- Message requiring your approval (61
lines) ------------------
> Dear Tom Bolt,
> I am more than tempted to agree with you, and, to agree further with Jerry
> Friedman's arguments, it's possible that Hazel is the one tormented by the
> demons of her parents' pity. If they are tormented with hope, she is
> tormented with despair. Your interpretation is a generous one to Shade, Mr
> Friedman's a slightly critical one, and mine very sceptical.
>
> But I don't think I disagree with you. Many of the words in Pale Fire seem
> to me to be multi-dimensional puns, with links in different directions. In
> one direction, the demons of our pity play the role that you suggest and
> appear almost benign. But simultaneously those demons, linked with
versipels
> and bats and tales of torture, have a demonic aspect.
>
> Another example, the Atalanta butterfly, linked to John Shade's love for
his
> wife, is in another context a symbol of damnation and death.
>
> These different interpretations seem to me to be intentional, and to
suggest
> that Shade has two natures, three if we count Gradus (remember Kinbote's
> recoiling at Shade reading, a la Gradus, a tabloid?)
>
> Carolyn
>
>
>
> >> What do demons do?
> >>
> >> They torment.*
> >>
> >> Hazel's suffering, at close quarters,
> >> is torment to her parents, who try
> >> to help but fail to do much good.
> >>
> >> The privacy of pain is an important
> >> theme in N (in PNIN the theme has
> >> probably its most specific statement).
> >>
> >> Hazel's suffering is not made easier
> >> by her parents' appreciation of her
> >> potential, so often undercut by
> >> "new defeats." Nor would it be
> >> made easier by their hopes for her.
> >>
> >> The "demons of our pity" torture
> >> the Shades with hope.
> >>
> >> The password is Pity because cruelty,
> >> in its many disguises, is never far
> >> away in N, particularly in the novels
> >> written in English. A more interesting
> >> question, for me, is **to what is Pity
> >> the password?**
> >>
> >> I would say consciousness. But
> >> increased consciousness, in some
> >> situations, must at times bring a
> >> keener sense of pain.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> ~ T
>