Monday, 27 April 2015
In Chapter XV, Coming Together:
Flora finds Aliyat;
Flora describes how she escaped from slavery in Chapter XIII;
Aliyat, first seen in Chapter IV, describes how two male immortals found her in Chapter VII;
the two males were Hanno, first seen in Chapter I, and Rufus, found by Hanno in Chapter III;
Hanno and Rufus encountered Svoboda, later seen in Chapter IX, in Chapter VI and found Wanderer, first seen in Chapter XII, in Chapter XIV.
Thus, six of the eleven immortals have acted or interacted through ten of the nineteen chapters. I have not yet mentioned:
Nornagest or Starkadh, both seen only once in Chapter V;
Tu Shan, first seen in Chapter II;
Asagoa, first seen in Chapter VIII, who finds Tu Shan in Chapter X;
Patulcius, found by Hanno in Chapter XVI.
That completes the list of immortals and also lists sixteen of the nineteen chapters.
Aliyat's "...hair was marcelled midnight..." (p. 317);
"...or visit one of the museums built after the Colombian Exposition..." (p. 321);
"Around the next corner awaited a cabriolet and driver." (p. 323)
Flora, the self-educated former slave now a spiritual leader, lists four kinds of politics:
to gain control
- by voting, like the Republicans or Democrats;
- by violence, like the Communists;
- by persuasion, like the Socialists;
to build a future by coming together under freely accepted leadership.
She says that:
"'Human beings are so made that the few will always rule the many.'" (p. 332)
But freely accepted leadership is not rule. And many more will be able to give a lead when they have not been held down all their lives. We are not yet in the Promised Land but we can see it - and also its opposite, global extinction - on a clear day.