* NOTICE: Mr. Center's Wall is on indefinite hiatus. Got something to say about it? Click HERE and type.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana XI -- chapter 10: TIME'S TEMPLE, IMMURED

"Ugolino' by Carpeaux
According to Brer Rabbit, everyone needs a laughing place, which, as far as I'm concerned, is really about as crucial to life and existence as water and food and air and whatever else.  Everyone--more especially, or at visibly, kids, but all adults have them as well, just with more variation in form and location--needs a brier patch, a hiding place, a closet or tree-house or attic or, in this case, a wall-up former-chapel now forgotten where treasures can be stored, secret prayers offered, dark rites performed, etcetera; but how many have such a fantastical treasure house--Cave of Wonders--as does Yambo?  Having such a place is as cliche' a fantasy as immurement is a terror, and here in chapter ten, both coexist and balance, almost symbiotically.  I've hopefully check every attic of every house I've lived in, hoping for that escapist's window to the past, and felt the vicarious thrill of reading about it in books or watching it in movies (Harry Potter's Room of Requirement, the attic here, The Bridge to Terabithia, and even corny movies like The Lake House).  This is why I hope someday to build a house with a private library at the top of a tower accessible exclusively by an iron spiral staircase.  This is why I have family members who love old rundown barns or houses.  This is why I keep a flashlight in the car.  I think I speak for everyone: we all want to discover and possess a secret place grander or more romantic than our current, likely inadequate, laughing place.

  1. Based on Paola's psychologist's explanation, are Yambo's fears and insecurities regarding his past valid?  Along the same lines, cross-textually, who was/is more affected by the Alice books, Alice Liddell or Lewis Carroll/children or adults?  Is Paula over-simplifying?
  2. "This one knows you always bring him chewing gum.  That's all."
  3. How is it appropriate that the doorway is walled up and was also once the entrance to the chapel?
  4. "...and I often hid there and did God knows what."  (Haha!  Get it!?)
  5. This is a circumstantial connection of course, as immurement is among the most primal of fears (and Poe's bread and butter, no less), but this reminds me, at least on the outset, of Count Ugolino from L'Inferno, not to mention all those Poe stories.
  6. "At that moment a thunderstorm was gathering."  In just the last chapter, Yambo (if not Eco, but here I think indistinguishable), criticizes Romance-period writers for their manipulation of the elements to echo a book's plot and circumstances.  Isn't that what he's doing right here?


  1. I love the quote and reflection at the top. I just came from my little on-campus laughing place, the lobby of the anthropology department, perfect for reading, even though I've never taken an anthro class. LOL
    1. She is seeing things the only way she knows how, through the lens of a psychologist. This can be helpful, perhaps, but I think that, just like anyone else, she simplifies it into a familiar context in order to be able to understand the phenomenon. Hmm... definitely Lewis Carroll for the first, but the second, it's hard to say. I think that the books can be understood in different ways.
    3. I think that there's definitely an irreligious element. In addition, in one stroke, they buck the chapel and the Fascists, which leads us to believe that they're probably a bit anti-tradition.
    4. LOL I didn't at the time. Thanks for pointing it out.
    5. Yes, I kept thinking that they were going to find the 4 bodies still IN the chapel.
    6. Sure seems like it, doesn't it?

  2. 6. I felt like his criticism in the last chapter was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I'm not sure. Regardless, the clouds are appropriate. Also, I just read a four-chapter excerpt with author annotations from an un-published and abandoned novel by Michael Chabon. He believes, or so he states, that there should never (and he also says this is a rule he has for himself, not for books or other authors he reads) ever be a true coincidence in fiction--in life, sure. I don't think there could be any NOTED weather at this point that WOULDN'T connote something specific from the author's intentions, even if Eco said that the sun was out, or that it was hot, or that it started suddenly to rain frogs. Instead, a thunderstorm gathers, and yet doesn't drop its payload. It can't be coincidence, and certainly, Eco understands the inevitable power of suggestion at pivotal moments like this.
    5. I don't remember what I thought when I first read this. That would've been morbidly funny!

  3. I agree with Chabon. For most people, the closest they get to being God is fiction, so why let an opportunity to adapt conditions perfectly go to waste?


Be sure to subscribe to the thread to receive discussion updates.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...