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Perdido Str Station Discussion > SECTION 21 Chapter 52. (Conclusion) (Nov 28)

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message 1: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments Part 8. Chapter 52. Conclusion.

Isaac is visited by Kar’uchai, and he finds out the nature of Yagharek's crime. Kar’uchai entreats Isaac to respect the sentence, the punishment that Yagharek had received.

Isaac wavers between loyalty toward Yag and between distress over the crime that Yag had committed:

He remembered Yagharek scaling the Glasshouse, fighting beside him against the militia. He remembered Yagharek’s whip savaging the slake-moth, ensnaring it, freeing Lin. But when he thought of Kar’uchai, and what had been done to her, he could not but think of that as rape. And he thought of Lin, and everything that might have been done to her, until he felt as if he would puke with anger. {...}

He tried to think himself away from the whole thing. He told himself desperately that to refuse his services would not imply judgement, that it would not mean he pretended knowledge of the facts, that it would simply be a way of saying, "This is beyond me, this is not my business." But he could not convince himself. {...}

But on the heels of that thought came another; a flipside, a counterpoint. If withholding help implied negative judgment he could not make, thought Isaac, then helping, bestowing flight, would imply that Yagharek’s actions were acceptable. And that, thought Isaac in cold distaste and fury, he would not do.


Yagharek is in despair at hearing Isaac's decision, and contemplates suicide, but instead, he pulls out his feathers.
"I turn and walk into the city my home, not bird or garuda, not miserable crossbreed. I turn and walk into my home, the city, a man."

*FINIS*

This concludes the reading of Perdidio Street Station. Thanks to all who participated, and who might still participate.

This thread lends itself to discussion of Isaac's and Yagharek's decisions, and to discussion of the novel as a whole.

Thank you. :)


message 2: by Ian (last edited Nov 30, 2012 01:38AM) (new)

Ian "Marvin" Graye Thanks for a wonderful lot of prompts, Trav. They obviously required a close re-reading of the novel, a lot of distillation of issues and a super-human spoiler-sensitive temperament ;)

The treatment of Yagharek's crime and punishment is interesting.

Ultimately, despite his affinity with his friend, Isaac elects to respect the law of Kar’uchai's society, to respect its sovereignty, almost as if it was primarily an issue of international relations.

Obviously, it is still a moral and criminal issue. However, Isaac accepts that each society has the right to define and enforce its own practices, customs and laws.

While I appreciate that Isaac was a human or a humanoid, I wondered whether Yagharek de-winging and entry into the city was almost a creation myth about a new man in civilisation, a man that was once a garuda or angel-like being.

To this extent, I wonder whether Yagharek wasn't ultimately grateful to Isaac for giving him a more grounded and realistic acceptance of his own future (despite his original disappointment). He wasn't a failure as a past organism, he was a prospective success as a new organism.

Note the dialectical process in Isaac's reasoning in your quote.

I wonder whether CM is questioning the ability of a computer or construct to reason single-mindedly and dialectically towards a synthesis, even though it might be a combination of...um...binary, digital and synthetic.


Puddin Pointy-Toes (jkingweb) | 201 comments I wonder now what Isaac's opinion is on the punishment factories in New Crobuzon. Does the punishment fit the crime there? Moreover, if good deeds cannot counterbalance evil, should Isaac not himself be punished for his actions? This is not an easy section to consider.


message 4: by Nataliya (last edited Nov 30, 2012 01:50PM) (new)

Nataliya | 378 comments J. wrote: "I wonder now what Isaac's opinion is on the punishment factories in New Crobuzon. Does the punishment fit the crime there? Moreover, if good deeds cannot counterbalance evil, should Isaac not him..."

You know, I don't think the idea here is for good deeds to counterbalance the evil. The point is serving the punishment for your crime. Yagharek's crime was horrendous, and he paid for it. Seeking ways to reverse it would took away his punishment and in a way, his repayment for the crime. Like Isaac thinks, "But on the heels of that thought came another; a flipside, a counterpoint. If withholding help implied negative judgment he could not make, thought Isaac, then helping, bestowing flight, would imply that Yagharek’s actions were acceptable. And that, thought Isaac in cold distaste and fury, he would not do."

Thais is why I felt so proud of Yagharek when he abandoned his pursuit of getting back the means to fly, when he accepted his fate, when he was able to move on instead of dwelling in the past, when he stopped being a failed garuda and chose to become a man. He served his punishment, and it redeemed him in my eyes. Instead f reversing justice, he managed to accept and continue living, and this is what made the otherwise bleak ending so hopeful.


message 5: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey (Korrick) Nataliya wrote: "J. wrote: "I wonder now what Isaac's opinion is on the punishment factories in New Crobuzon. Does the punishment fit the crime there? Moreover, if good deeds cannot counterbalance evil, should Is..."

If only all the Remade's fates worked out that way.


message 6: by Ian (new)

Ian "Marvin" Graye Yagharek's story seems to be unique.


message 7: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments I agree with what Nataliya said there. I said almost the exact thing in my review. :) I also like the fact that it was not easy for Yag. I think Mieville does manage to portray nice rounded characters.


message 8: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments J. wrote: "I wonder now what Isaac's opinion is on the punishment factories in New Crobuzon. Does the punishment fit the crime there? Moreover, if good deeds cannot counterbalance evil, should Isaac not him..."

That is an interesting question, re the remade, that i suspect we might see more of in later novels?


message 9: by Nataliya (new)

Nataliya | 378 comments My final thoughts specifically on Yagharek, as added to my old review (I've voiced them throughout the discussions here, but here they are summarized):
--------
The more I think about it, the more I find Yagharek to be the heart of this book. The earthbound garuda, punished for a crime that for different reasons is despicable both for his tribe and for us, readers - and Isaac, too. Yagharek, who in his desperate quest to fly again (and ashamed of himself for even trying) makes a journey not just from Cymek to New Crobuzon but also a mental one, from a quiet subdued creature obsessed only with its own plight to a fighter, a hero, a friend - and, ultimately, someone new.

No, Yagharek does not get what he wants. Instead, he gains something else - something new, something more (or so I would like to think). The choice-thief is forced - by the choices of others, no less - to let go of his half-existence, of clutching to what he used to be, of seeing himself as a failed half-creature. The choice-stealer is forced to make a choice; and the one he makes, unexpected and difficult, is what makes me hopeful, makes me think that he has made his journey of bravery and friendship and selflessness not in vain. It makes me feel more respect for this Disrespected and Abstract Individual. Because he made himself whole - maybe not in the way we were hoping for - but whole nevertheless.

"I will not do this any more. I will not be this cripple, this earth-bound bird, any longer.
This half-life ends now, with my hope."

And speaking now from the experience of having read more Miéville now, I think of a brief instance of meeting Yagharek in one of the sequels, and feeling real surge of pride at his future action - and I realize that this former half-creature, the redeemed criminal, the earthbound garuda - whatever Yagharek is or was, he has made a secure place in my heart, and he is the glimpse of hope, perseverance, and the crazy stubborn vitality, tenacity and resilience that despite all odds permeates the filth of New Crobuzon. Yagharek's story is the heart of this otherwise brutal book.

"I am not the earthbound garuda any more. That one is dead. This is a new life. I am not a half-thing, a failed neither-nor."


message 10: by Ian (new)

Ian "Marvin" Graye Beautifully argued and written, Nataliya.

Does anybody have any views as to whether CM deals with this choice in Hegelian or Marxist dialectical terms?

The thesis being the original garuda, the antithesis being the removal of his wings, and the synthesis being his new or re- birth and acceptance of his new status as a man.


message 11: by Robert (new)

Robert Delikat (imedicineman) | 54 comments And then... everything stopped so abruptly. The room was suddenly empty...


message 12: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments I suppose everybody ran off to celebrate the December vacation...


message 13: by Allen (new)

Allen (allenblair) | 227 comments Traveller wrote: "I suppose everybody ran off to celebrate the December vacation..."

I've been celebrating in High Cromlech :)


message 14: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments Allen wrote: "Traveller wrote: "I suppose everybody ran off to celebrate the December vacation..."

I've been celebrating in High Cromlech :)"


Oh goodie! We must try to read The Scar this year, though Proust is bedevilling many of our schedules a bit.

Maybe around November this year.


message 15: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments Apologies, Nataliya and Ian, i like your input re Yahgarerk a lot. I think Nataliya knows already that that is one of the high points of this work for me, as i also mention in my own review.

Very interesting thing you did with dialectical progression there, Ian!


message 16: by Cecily (last edited Jun 11, 2014 02:57AM) (new)

Cecily | 301 comments I was in shock when I discovered the nature of Yag's choice-theft. He was my favourite character and I can't feel the same about him. I take some comfort from Nataliya's words in comment 9, though.

And now the whole book is suddenly and very obviously about choice. I really couldn't decide what Isaac should have done about continuing to help Yag fly, and thus condone his crime, but I think my ambivalence was because I liked Yag so much until that point.

And then finally, Yag takes the final step of losing himself (first it was fake wings, then he removed them, then he removed his cape, and now all his feathers) - losing dignity and somehow gaining it in the process.

My feelings are so muddled.


message 17: by Nataliya (new)

Nataliya | 378 comments Cecily wrote: "I was in shock when I discovered the nature of Yag's choice-theft. He was my favourite character and I can't feel the same about him. I take some comfort from Nataliya's words in comment 9, though...."

The reveal about Yagharek hurts, doesn't it? I think the important question is: do the future ace somehow redeem the actions of the past? After all, Yagharek at the end of PSS is probably not the same person as he was when he committed the crime.
Somehow I'm sure that Isaac of the beginning of this book would have helped Yagharek regardless of the nature of Yagharek's choice-theft; but the events that changed Yagharek have changed Isaac as well.


message 18: by Traveller (last edited Jun 14, 2014 05:08PM) (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments To me the whole book was pretty much about change and growth. I'd say almost all the (main) characters changed. Although some pretty damn sad things happened and some very hard choices/decisions (I agree with your comments about that,) were made, the characters come out on the other end some the worse for wear, and some wiser, but none of them naive anymore...

In any case, nice observations above and awesome discussion, thank you so much, guys!


message 19: by Cecily (last edited Jun 15, 2014 02:15AM) (new)

Cecily | 301 comments Nataliya wrote: "The reveal about Yagharek hurts, doesn't it? I think the important question is: do the future ace somehow redeem the actions of the past? After all, Yagharek at the end of PSS is probably not the same person as he was when he committed the crime"

Hmm. Yes, people CAN change, and they can atone for past actions by what they do afterwards. But for rape? I want to believe in Yag, but I know that if I read a news report of a rapist's sentence being commuted because they'd done something (or even many things) brave. selfless and transformative of society and themselves, I'd be uncomfortable.

Traveller wrote: "To me the whole book was pretty much about change and growth...
In any case, nice observations above and awesome discussion, thank you so much, guys!"


Ditto to both.


message 20: by Deano (new)

Deano | 17 comments Hi all
I've got my boy reading this now
He's loving it so far
But he just said that the weaver took an ear from all of those that traveled his web when he rescues them but healed all but the girls. Is this right or was it just the journalist that lost one


message 21: by Deano (new)

Deano | 17 comments Anyone there???


message 22: by Cecily (new)

Cecily | 301 comments I'm here/there.

The weaver takes the ears, but I don't recall it repairing them, except for Isaac (I think).


message 23: by Deano (new)

Deano | 17 comments Thanks for the reply
I think he is right in that the weaver must have taken one ear from all but just nor healed the journalists.
As I only remember them all looking somewhat guilty that she was in pain from it.


message 24: by Deano (new)

Deano | 17 comments The one thing is disagree with in this book is that yag pretty much agreed with his punishment but yet by looking to find a new way to fly he seeks to overturn it.
I think in the end Isaac's turning his back on his friend is what yag needed to realise that he is to just get on with his life as he is, and accept the punishment and stop longing for what he once had and that his actions destroyed.


message 25: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments True, Deano.

Regarding Yag, I think he accepted his punishment outwardly initially because he had no choice--it was the law of his people; but yes, in seeking to overturn the effect of the punishment, he was inwardly rejecting his punishment. That's what I like about the ending;- he came to accept it, but not just that- he turned himself into something new.

Yes, I think the Weaver cut off all the ears and just replaced some of them. I'd have to read the passage again to remember exact detail.


message 26: by Deano (new)

Deano | 17 comments Thanks


message 27: by Cecily (new)

Cecily | 301 comments Deano wrote: "The one thing is disagree with in this book is that yag pretty much agreed with his punishment but yet by looking to find a new way to fly he seeks to overturn it..."

That's true, and I think it's rather clever: it plays with the reader's ambivalence towards him. Until I knew the true nature of his crime, he was my favourite character. I was shocked, and severe punishment seemed entirely appropriate, but the painful dignity of Yag's final subversion of his punishment didn't leave me as outraged as I might have expected.


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