Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Chapter II

"In no affairs of mere prejudice,
pro or con, do we deduce inferences with entire certainty, even from the most
simple data."

And with this statement, Poe/Pym opens a chapter that is ostensibly about the narrator's deceit of his family in arranging a trip on a whaler, but is in fact about the writer's questionable trust in his own word. A writer of fiction, blurring reality in order to create some sense of truth, and having to observe reality closely in order to create verisimilitude, understandably gets a subjective sense about objectivity. The writer cannot "deduce inferences with entire certainty" because there are so many bloody inferences to deduce. The writing of fiction opens one's mind to innumerable possibilities in the simplest things--a lone tennis shoe on the side of a busy road, for instance. What does one do with objectivity in the face of such possibility?

I have since frequently examined my conduct on this occasion with
sentiments of displeasure as well as of surprise."

Another dividing of the autobiographical self. Now Poe the writer, through Poe the editor who takes the voice of Pym the narrator, examines the self that does not exist, standing apart from a created self momentarily, and feeling displeasure and surprise at what he sees in his actions and motivations.

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