Posted by Hil on January 26, 1998 at 18:11:30:
In Ch.10 Oscar's father takes Oscar's fortunetelling stone or tor, 'pathetically, so he might be close to the boy'. He then tries to make contact with Oscar by talking about it in the only way he can express - resorting to facts. He names it scientifically, and wants facts about where it was found. 'His father appropriated everything by naming it, whether he was asked or not'. Its the worst thing he could have done, and it makes Oscar angry and defiant.
Isn't this so accurate, the ability of someone to take magic away without even thinking, by trying to define it and name it? It makes me angry too, and feeling helpless. Sometimes, like Oscar, you just have to throw the stone away, useless.
But naming stuff, defining it, is important, and I do appreciate it and its power. Its a common idea in creation myths and religions, an idea someone like Ursula LeGuin uses throughout her books, and its integral to langauge and the power of language. Some have argued that part of JA's art is her exactness and definition, and I would agree.
Can you name something without necessarily 'appropriating it'?
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