On Dec 3, 2007, at 9:41 AM, Matthew Roth wrote:
Carolyn asked me why I think Shade flinches at his five fingers.  On a literal level, he is flinching because he is afraid he will cut himself as he trims his cuticles.  But I admit that there may be secondary connotations to this flinching that I cannot explain.  Nor can I explain why Shade chooses those five people.  I have always read it as Shade simply being whimsical, showing off his fanciful nature.  But I will admit that as whimsy it falls a bit flat for me, so I would be happy to understand a higher purpose.  As for skin trimming itself, I have toyed with the idea that this is related to Shade being a "skin changer," but I'm not particularly satisfied with that explanation.  Still, isn't it interesting that Aunt Maud, John Shade and Hazel (psoriatic fingernails) all seem to have had nail-grooming issues? Why have we been supplied with that information?

from Carolyn Kunin to Matt Roth, RGS and the LIst:

Matt, why is Shade afraid he will cut himself? I trim my cuticles once a week with a little scissor like the one Shade describes, although mine doesn't have any cosmic connections, " a dazzling synthesis of sun and star" his seems to have.  I only flinch after I've cut myself, not before - - perhaps Shade is a reincarnation of Carroll's Red Queen? 

Those five people are associated with something painful,  something manual, don't you think? That's how I figured it. 

By the way, as a response to RSG 's accusation that I lack compassion, I started in the St. Shade camp - - there was no other that I am aware of - - and it was very hard indeed to give up that lovely character I had grown to love. But the evidence against Shade is really there, from his name to his fingers and to his own words - - he feels "shame," says he has been "corrupted," his youth "demented, his life "twisted". That is an awful burden of guilt for - - for what?  normal "growing pains"? 

Shade carries a terrible burden of guilt which in my Jekyll/Hyde interpretation of PF explains Kinbote's  obsession with religion &  his confusion of pain, pleasure & sexual ecstasy (I'm thinking of that priest), also his interest in Augustine and the Confessions.  At least Kinbote has the decency to seek redemption! 

Matt, did I miss something? What were Aunt Maud's hand grooming issues, aside from using the odd word scarfskin to refer to cuticles?


p.s. perhaps the "dazzling synthesis of sun and star" has something to do with Starover Blue? perhaps synthesis is a pun? perhaps sun is a pun? Any ideas?
p.p.s. I  do wonder if anyone has every read the Confessions in the PF context? If not, I may try to as my interest in religion has been piqued since I last read PF.

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