Monday, August 13, 2007

On "The Clan of the Poes"

Wow, what a curious epilogue after such an dramatic ending! We are now transported back into the "present" (as this work was published), with the same characters reappearing in a new settings. We will know more about what happens there in later episodes. But for now, let me share a controversy I had about the ending - why did Allan run away from home and decide to join Edgar?

The pressure from Mother's worsening conditions mounted to a breaking point for Allan. I just thought that his mother consenting to his uncle's plan was too much to take for Allan, and the dramatic fall of his uncle finally pushed him over the edge.

My husband says that the dialogue between Allan's mother and uncle — where they address each other by "darling" and "dear" on Page 178 — hints that they were on much more 'intimate' terms than just brother and sister in laws, and that's the real reason. What do you think?

Finally, the relationship between Edgar and Allan, as well as the characters themselves, are really well-delineated with the conclusion of this story. The gothic tone of the piece is also very striking. However, Hagio is not the sort of author to sit complacently within her well-established universe...she will surely change the environment and the mood, as well as the time period, with her continuation of the Poe saga, "Marybel and the Silver Roses."

As you will see, Hagio is not interested in telling the Poes' story in a time-sequential manner. However, this artistic decision does not create confusion (it is clear that each of her stories are complete within themselves, not relying on the other stories within the series to make sense). What this does create, however, is the sense that puzzle pieces are being added slowly, deliberately, and the painting or storyline is gradually receiving a brushstroke here, a bit of landscape there, to cast and reflect light back on what was previously narrated, and add to the whole. I myself have no experience reading Poe out of the order I am currently translating and blogging, but I am sure some readers have done so, and their experiences and feelings regarding the piece must be somewhat different...though surely there is no "wrong" or "right" order in which to read this work.

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