Day Four: Worthing Saga: Chapters 6 and 7

June 13, 2008 at 4:13 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Worthing Saga
by Orson Scott Card
Day Four Chapter 6 – Chapter 7 (120-153)

And we’re back for a bit with Lared. How are you liking the framework of the story? Is it something that distracts from the story? Or does it add a nice touch to the experience? Which story are you most interested in? The “present” story of Lared and his family and the Day of Pain? Or the “past” story of Jason Worthing, Abner Doon, and the planet of Worthing?

Most of this chapter is the-day-in-the-life of Jason Worthing. A day when he was the parent of his memory-impaired colonists. (Their memory bubbles burst.) He has to teach them, show them, train them how to function. How to sit up, stand, crawl, walk, feed themselves, etc. He cares for three full-sized “adult-infants” at a time during the first winters. When our story opens, it’s the second winter. He’s got three colonists that are functioning on their own. They’re still learning, but they’re getting there. They’re growing up, and learning some independence. He’s also got three new ones that he’s tending.

But that story isn’t nearly as compelling (in my opinion) to the present day story of Lared’s coming-of-age ceremony. What did you make of that? I think it’s worth quoting a bit.

Many hands took him and faced him toward the fire. The bellows coughed. The cinders flew upward. The many hands took the clothing from him, until the fire seared his skin in front, and the wind from the door froze him behind.

“In the beginning,” recited Father, “was the age of sleep, when all men and women longed for night and hated all the days of waking. There was among them one with power, who hated sleep, and all his ways were destruction. His name was Doon, and no one knew him until the Day of Waking, when there came a shout from the world of steel: Look at the man who has stolen sleep! Then the name of Doon was known everywhere, for the sleepers belonged to him, and there was none left who was not forced awake.”

What would this have meant to me, wondered Lared, if I hadn’t had Doon’s face in my memory? All a mystery, all a myth if I hadn’t known, but I know the truth behind it. I have spoken with Doon face to face, and I can tell you the way his eyes look when he knows you are afraid. I have also been Doon, and evil as he was, somec was worse.

“Then,” said Father, “the worlds were lost in the light. They could not find the stars in the sky anymore. For five thousand years they were lost, until men learned to travel against the light, to travel so quickly they could do it without the sleep that Doon had stolen. Then they found each other again, found all the worlds but one, the world known by the holy name.”

“Ice and fire,” murmured the other men.
“Only here, between the fire and the ice, may the name be spoken.” Father reached out and put his thumbs on Lared’s eyes. “Worthing,” he said. Then he whispered, “Say it.”
“Worthing,” Lared said.
“It was the farthest world, the deepest world, and it was the place where God had gone to sleep when men awoke. The name of God is Jason.”
“Jason,” said the men.
“And the world was full of the sons of God. They saw the pain throughout the worlds, the pain of waking, the pain of fire and light, and they said, “We will have compassion on the woken, and ease their pain. We are not Jason, so we cannot give them sleep, but we are the children of Jason, so we can keep them from the fire. We are Ice, and we will stand at your back, and hold the light at bay.”

(132-133)

Anyone else find that ceremony fascinating? What did you think of Lared’s decision to risk his life to undergo the ordeal of Ice? Was he brave or stupid? What do you think of Jason’s response?

Chapter 7

Lared is still recovering from his ‘coming-of-age’ ceremony of the previous chapter. The tinker is still there. But it is Sala who is captivating the crowd at the moment with a story she learned from Justice. A story about a Worthing descendant, John Tinker. A man with powers to heal. A man who the people came to fear, came to hate, came to murder. What do you make of this one? “They just beat him until he fell, and then kicked him until he died, because they had no use for a god who couldn’t save them from everything.” (140) Sala and Lared interpreted the story differently. (And I would imagine each listener got what he/she wanted from the tale). What do you make of it? What was Justice and/or Jason trying to teach?

Lared asks for clarification…and he learns that the story he is writing is meant to teach about WHY the Day of Pain had to happen. But he does learn that Pain came into the world again not because his children, his descendants, had run out of power to stop the pain, to stop the sorrow. They had the power still to heal, to protect, to save…but for whatever reason…the decision had been made that it was not good to do so.

We next get a little vignette of village life. Jason is not living with them anymore. He’s appointed a mayor, Kapock. This episode is about learning to lead, learning how to make good and wise decisions. It’s ethics-in-action. I remember taking philosophy courses in college, but really it doesn’t get better than some of these stories for bringing such issues to life.

What do you think of the villagers?

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2 Comments »

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  1. Yay! I thought I was behind but I’m not! I’m halfway through chapter 8 and I totally thought that today was chapters 6-8…so now I have until monday to play catch up…good.

    I really enjoyed both of these chapters, but I have to say that overall the structure of the book is a little distracting to me. It’s been hard for me to really get into this one so far because of all of the switching. It’s just a very different story. Of course it could have something to do with me reading late at night after working 8 hours :p

    But I did like these chapters! I too found Lared’s ceremony to be fascinating. It’s little scenes like this that Card creates that just makes his books for me. You don’t expect them. I think that his decision (lared’s) was part brave and part stupid…There has to be a certain amount of bravery involved in doing that but there comes a time when it’s just stupid when the odds of survival seem so low. Especially when Jason tells him that he won’t be there to save him…I wouldn’t have risked my life.

    Chapter 7 was great! I’m liking Jason’s scene’s more than Lared’s. I enjoyed seeing Kapock as mayor and the conflict with the guy who built the house (can’t think of his name) was just a great story in itself. Really enjoying the dynamics there.

    I’m hoping that this one picks up for me some more…I don’t know why I’m having trouble with it right now…may be a timing thing.

  2. Chris, I’m sorry it’s not quite clicking with you…at least not yet. I have always found Jason’s unfolding story more compelling than Lared’s except for a *few* scenes. One which we’ve just passed, and the next coming up soon. It’s in the next chapter. Chapter 8 deserves a day all on its own. I’m curious to see your reaction to chapter eight… šŸ™‚

    And I would certainly understand if it’s a timing thing! You’ve got so much going on right now–your dad’s health, your new job, etc.


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