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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 643)...

    After reading "The Holy" I think I have a better grasp of what our cultural journey is going to *feel* like if we do survive. I'm curious though: are Mike and Marianne part of some larger metaphor or symbolism, apart from what Dudley/Horse Killer explains? Why is she strung up, and why does David fail himself by "rescuing" her?

    ...and the response:

    I don't consciously think of my characters as "part of some larger metaphor or symbolism"; they have their individual personalities suited to their position and function within the story. By any means possible, Andrea, Pablo, and Dee (as Dee explains) try to jolt David out of the rigid, conventional self-perception that blocks him from real contact with them. One of these experiments was with Marianne. As with every other of these experiments, he "fails himself" by clinging to that self-perception and behaving in the conventional way that is consistent with this perception. In the case of Marianne, David's lascivious and mildly sadistic attraction to Marianne is inconsistent with his self-perception--he's ashamed of it and tries to deny it. When invited to indulge that attraction, he's desperate to cling to that denial, to preserve his conventional self-perception--and so once again "fails the test."


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