TPAOL Question #13 ~ The Real Samarin

by James Meek

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Liz
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Unread postby Liz » Tue Feb 13, 2007 10:18 pm

suec wrote: I also think he comes closest to being, er , genuine, if I dare use such a word for him, when he is with Balashov. That appears to be genuine, when he asks to be castrated and explains why. But Balashov in this instance, seems to know him better than he knows himself. I'm also willing to go so far as to speculate about the tunnel passage. I think we see the real him there, such as when he is talking about his dream, of leaving a mark on the world. A thread on the wire, at least. To be honest, I think Balashov and Samarin see each other very clearly. Samarin is pretty honest with him, on the whole, by his standards.


I felt he was genuine there too--probably the only time I felt he was genuine. Interesting how Meek's writing can make one feel these things. But I digress. I find it interesting that you think that Balashov and Samarin see each other very clearly. And I would have to agree with you. Could it be that they are kindred souls? :-O No, no. :ohno: Can't be. But maybe they do know how to recognize souls. :idea:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby Liz » Tue Feb 13, 2007 10:36 pm

Lady Jill wrote: I think Samarin was balancing between two worlds, love and hate, feeling vs unfeeling. . .and that was the real Samarin. Angelina, yes, he is the most complex character in this book, more so than the others. . .the one you always seem to question his motives, actions. . .I have a great curiosity about the man.


I think we see a lot of different sides to Samarin, like Parlez listed. Maybe he was a bit schizophrenic. I think we see the struggle within Samarin to be true to his cause but also to have a heart. His reason tells him that he should be cold and focused toward his cause, but his humanity gets in the way at times. Although I feel he is a monster, I have to say that he is not purely evil. He's just a hard nut to crack.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby dharma_bum » Wed Feb 14, 2007 12:41 am

I do not think Samarin was evil. Delusional and dangerous, yes, but not beyond redemption.

I think Samarin’s downward spiral is about starvation and depravation of the soul and finding sustenance in all the wrong places. Samarin, the orphan, was denied the unconditional love and foundation of family. Samarin, the student, was denied the intellectual fuel of education when war intervened. And finally, Samarin was denied his soul mate, Katya, when she was betrayed by country and comrade. I think he became an anarchist to spit in the face of a god in which he no longer believed.

TPAOL is filled with extremely selfish acts committed by characters that see them as self-sacrificing and selfless. Balashov’s castration is one example, Samarin’s act of cannibalism is another… the more self-centered the action, the more delusional the characters became. Samarin choosing to save Alyosha signals his desire for redemption even if he still saw it as weakness.
"You can't broom out your head. You certainly can't broom out your heart. And there's a hot wire between them, and everything shows in the eyes."
—Johnny Depp

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Unread postby Depputante » Sat Feb 17, 2007 4:39 pm

Beware :mort1: some very :-O Depp thoughts here. Get some :morning: and a :sherlockholmes: then what say you? :eyebrow:
This has been like a cauldron brewing for days. Finally had time to put it together.


P.210
“There was terror, the thought of waking up to find him with one hand gripping my chin and the other pulling a blade across my throat, and at the same time, there was love, a son’s love for a father who shows the way, who can lead him out of a place of death towards the world of the living.”


The Mohican is used as a tool for survival.

P. 212:
“You need to want to live more than you do.”
‘I asked him why. Was it so he could have a hot meal?
‘he said: “Intellectual. You use your imagination too much. When a theif meets a civilian, the thief always wins, because the civilian can only imagine what his throat’ll be be like after it’s been cut, and while he’s busy doing that, the thief is cutting his throat. Think less, intellectual, breathe more. Breather. Your heart has to beat harder. The blood has to circulate. Winter. Frost. That’s what wants to eat you this minute.”


The mohican teaches Samarin how to survive.

Samarin is the intellectual. He learns that he can use cannibalism for food when he is in the White Garden. What he needs next, is a way to get out without dying. So he uses the Mohican as a tool to as the only way out of there. He even manages to get the Mohican to feed him to become stronger to eventually over take the Mohican. The Mohican also teaches him, to think less like an intellectual, and more like a theif, so that he can overcome his fears.Samarin learns, and eating him along the way. :-/ Samarin, being smart, is able to over come this fear of dying and cannibalism. As seen here:

Then even on p.213, he's really scared and running from the albino, for fear of his life . Then, on p.214 , the Shaman says,
"I've seen it. First the old get eaten by the weak, then the weak get eaten by the strong, and then the strong get eaten by the clever."'

~ The shaman writes his death ticket here. Samarin knows he has to kill the shaman, for fear of being found out that he submitted to cannibalism.

P.265:
"Deep within himself, Mutz turned in shame from the discovery that he considered it a tiny increment of advantage for his class, the intellectual eating the criminal, rather than the other way round."


In this paragraph, the intellectual survives, and the theif is dead. I find this twist fascinating. (It's the same as 'Doing the wrong thing for the right reasons.' in Shantaram.) Here, the intellecutal resorts to cannibalism to survive. Cannibalism not because of a lack of food, but cannibalism because of a fear of being eaten by the theif, who we already know is a cannibal.

However, Samarin, in the end continues the cannibalism (Or perhaps it was only ONE act of cannibalism), even though food is reasonably readily available. He's gone over the edge. The need for survival of being eaten himself, caused him to eat another. Untill he meets Anna, then he returns the boy! Samarin isn't SUCH a bad boy. He's an intellectual , albeit revolutionary, who did what he needed to , to survive gettng out of the White Garden, and overcome the Mohican. :eyebrow:

So, Intellectual turned Revolutionary. Very scary.
“The scariest enemy is from within. Allowing yourself to be limited and conform to what you're expected to conform to.”~JD


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