NABOKV-L post 0014062, Wed, 15 Nov 2006 22:42:16 -0500

Subject
Hazel and Sybil
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Date
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Dear List paticipants,

I continue to develop my remarks concerning Sybil in the poem
and how this part may correspond to Hazel - and her tragedy.

I noticed before that the part about Sybil seems to me a fulfillment
of the duty rather than really inspired by love. If I elaborate,
I would say that there is maybe a memory of love long gone. Most
beautiful lines (there are some in this part) are all about very
transitory things - dark Vanessa, "It's gone. It was so small...",
a jet's pink trail... and the lines that speak about long lasting
marriage sound positively horrible to me - as if some love-accountant is
speaking.

Why Shade and Sybil did want so much Hazel to be beautiful? It
is not just beautiful, it is more precise: "She might have been you,
me, or some quaint blend: Nature chose me..." So, in fact, Shade
wanted her to be like Sybil. Maybe, Sybil too, but anyway he
was much more emotional about that. Possible reason - in accord
with the assumption that his love to Sybil was soon gone
(maybe even before Hazel was born) - he wanted
to see the "reincarnation" of Sybil. Sybil also wanted that
because she would hope that his love to her would return.
I do not think that we need some wilder hypotheses and more complex
"perversions" to explain their relationship to Hazel.
(Not really incestual. By the way - it could be an argument
in favor of deeply rooted heterosexuality of both Shade and
Sybil- Shade could not love himself incarnated in his daughter,
and Sybil - a girl, even if she ressembled Shade.)

It could be also some dimension in Hazel's adolescent
life that is not represented
in the poem (except some small remarks, like she "played Mother Time"),
but is compatible with the story. One may guess something
that was developped later as main theme in, say, "Carrie" by Stephen
King.
I do not suggest to compare the King's writings (and their quality)
with Nabokov, but to my opinion the parts concerning violence and
cruelty
in everyday life (especially schools) are most faithful to reality
there,
he may be seen as an expert. I would say that the Hazel's story
(including its supernatural part) is
in some strange dimmer and milder way a precursor of "Carrie".
And the parents in such cases are often the last to know.

So I think that the discussion about how "moral" was their attitude
toward Hazel is misplaced - they had their own demons to fight.

Best regards,

Sergei Soloviev

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