It is currently Thu Oct 23, 2014 4:35 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




 Page 1 of 2 [ 20 posts ]  Go to page
1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: TPAOL Question #18 ~ Symbolism
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 11:52 am 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Posts: 10376
Location: Austin
Horses are a recurring theme in the story. The novel opens and closes with the horse, Omar, who also plays a significant role along with Balashov in a climactic scene in the novel. How is the horse used as a symbol in the story?



_________________________________________________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 3:13 pm 
JDZ Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Posts: 12497
Location: The Left Coast
I thought it interesting that a horse is a "conductor of souls" in light of Balashov's ability to supposedly recognize other like souls. I also see another connection to Balashov but I want to let someone else answer.



_________________________________________________________
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.
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 3:47 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 10:30 pm
Posts: 686
Location: Dead Man's Pass near Reno, NV
Without reading everyone's first I thought I'd give my first reations.

To me the biggest symbol of the horses is the fact that they have no say so in what is happening during the time. As Balahov said, horses don't go to war, man does and drags them along. Perhaps this business of not having a say so in the war and times, equates the common people, caught in the same circumstances of war.

With that thought out, I'm sure there will be others speaking of power and the fact that the magnificient beast Omar, has all his manly parts as Balahov doesn't. Ride on!

Lady Jill

Well, well. Where is everyone? I suspected they'd be champing at the bit to get to the horses!



_________________________________________________________
" After we're gone, the only thing that matters is the love we left behind."
Offline
 Profile WWW  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 3:52 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 10:30 pm
Posts: 686
Location: Dead Man's Pass near Reno, NV
Liz wrote:
I thought it interesting that a horse is a "conductor of souls" in light of Balashov's ability to supposedly recognize other like souls. I also see another connection to Balashov but I want to let someone else answer.


Liz, What is your meaning here "conductor of souls"?



_________________________________________________________
" After we're gone, the only thing that matters is the love we left behind."
Offline
 Profile WWW  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 3:53 pm 
JDZ Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Posts: 12497
Location: The Left Coast
Lady Jill wrote:
As Balahov said, horses don't go to war, man does and drags them along. Perhaps this business of not having a say so in the war and times, equates the common people, caught in the same circumstances of war.
Well, well. Where is everyone? I suspected they'd be champing at the bit to get to the horses!


It's always slow around here on Saturday. Good answer! :cool:



_________________________________________________________
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.
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 3:53 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2006 9:28 pm
Posts: 3907
Location: Florida
Don't forget Hajiz the horse that died in the battle. I think this horse dying was one of the things that sent Balshov "over the edge" so to speak. He felt shock and horror at the senseless death of his fellow recruits but he felt personally at fault for the horse because he chose to bring it into the battle.

As for the symbolism of Balashov and Omar, the most obvious one is what Samarin accuses him of, using the stallion as a substitute for his missing manhood. I know you ladies can have some fun with this one to lighten things up!

Oops, edit to say, I see Lady Jill that you beat me to this one.


Last edited by gemini on Sat Feb 17, 2007 4:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.


_________________________________________________________
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.
Offline
 Profile WWW  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 3:59 pm 
JDZ Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Posts: 12497
Location: The Left Coast
Lady Jill wrote:
Liz wrote:
I thought it interesting that a horse is a "conductor of souls" in light of Balashov's ability to supposedly recognize other like souls. I also see another connection to Balashov but I want to let someone else answer.


Liz, What is your meaning here "conductor of souls"?


It is explained in the thread that DITHOT posted prior to posting the question. The thread is entitled A little extracurricular reading - Horses as Symbolism. The information was sent to her by one of our Noodlemantras. But specifically, that part of the tidbit says:

Creature of darkness & magical power

Tradition and literature from the steppes of central Asia, the land of the shaman and the horseman, have preserved an image of the chthonian horse with mysterious powers which take over at the point where human strength fails, at the point of death. Habituated to the darkness, clairvoyant, it performs the role of guide and intercessor, in other words, of a conductor of souls. In this respect the Kirghiz epic poem, Er-Töshtük, is significant (BORA). Although Töshtük may be the perfect hero, in order to recover his soul, which a wizard has stolen from him, he has in some sense to abdicate his own individuality and trust the paranormal powers of his magic horse, Chal-Kuiruk, which enables him to reach the Underworld and escape all its traps. This Asian Bayard, Chal-Kuiruk, is endowed with human speech and understanding. At the outset of this fantastic ride, it warns its master of the role reversal which will take place: ‘Your chest is broad, but your spirit is narrow. You are heedless. You do not see what I see, you do not know what I know… You are brave but stupid’ (BORA p136, 106). Lastly, to add the finishing touch to its powers, it says: ‘I can walk through the depths of the seas’.



_________________________________________________________
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.
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 4:28 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 10:30 pm
Posts: 686
Location: Dead Man's Pass near Reno, NV
Wow, Liz. Somehow I missed that tidbit read. . . I can see here that if this was the case within the battle, Balashov was even more upset by not accompaning his horse to the Underworld, or whatever world.
I am sure that horse, dying as he did, with Balahov curled up besides him, was sell aware that he was there with him. HOrses are very intelligent animals, more so than people give them credit. They sense so very much about the beings ( people, their owners, etc. ) around them.

I have to admit that I was hooked on this book the minute I read about those horses falling from the train, and Omar, turning the other way and escaping. I KNEW he had a mission in the book, and would be back!

Off to this spring like day in Nevada!!
Lady Jill



_________________________________________________________
" After we're gone, the only thing that matters is the love we left behind."
Offline
 Profile WWW  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 4:52 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Posts: 10376
Location: Austin
One more observation on horses in the book. Did anyone notice that the title of the newspaper that Anna is going to work for is Hooves of the Soviets?



_________________________________________________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 5:02 pm 
JDZ Web Designer
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 01, 2005 1:21 am
Posts: 20634
Location: Houston, Texas
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
One more observation on horses in the book. Did anyone notice that the title of the newspaper that Anna is going to work for is Hooves of the Soviets?

No, I never noticed that, DITHOT --

I wonder if there really was a paper with that name?


Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 7:04 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Posts: 10376
Location: Austin
Not that I could find, Theresa. Maybe someone with getter googling skills can keep searching.



_________________________________________________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 7:10 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:57 pm
Posts: 1381
Location: uk
Quote:
Did anyone notice that the title of the newspaper that Anna is going to work for is Hooves of the Soviets?


I can't say I had noticed that, DIDHOT. It is interesting, though, in view of the fact that the passage refers to Russia as being the land of the horseman.

I like this bit. It seems to tap into that struggle that Balashov and Samarin go through.
Quote:
This white, celestial horse stands for the control, mastery and sublimation of the instincts and according to the new system of ethics, is ‘the noblest conquest of mankind’. There is, however, no such thing as permanent victory, and despite this shining image, the horse of darkness continues its hellish gallop deep down in the individual.


What else? Balashov. Well the bit in his letter, where the horse guides him after the battle. That is very similar to what is described in the passage you have quoted here Liz. Also at the end, when he talks to the horse, he seems to rediscover his true self and get back on the right track. A horse acts twice in that way for Balashov. I don't think that is "another connection" that you gave us though Liz! :eyebrow:

What leaps out at me is the shaman's comment before dying: everyone will have a horse some day, or something like. That taps right into what I've felt about the book. That it is about everyone finding their way.

Well, I'm away to read and ponder some more. I had no idea about this horse symbolism and the shamanistic beliefs. :-O



_________________________________________________________
"Luck... inspiration... both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment."
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 7:18 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Posts: 10376
Location: Austin
suec wrote:
Quote:
What leaps out at me is the shaman's comment before dying: everyone will have a horse some day, or something like. That taps right into what I've felt about the book. That it is about everyone finding their way.


I like your idea here. :cool: Also isn't the final act of castration called Mounting the White Horse?



_________________________________________________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 7:21 pm 
JDZ Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Posts: 12497
Location: The Left Coast
suec wrote:
What leaps out at me is the shaman's comment before dying: everyone will have a horse some day, or something like. That taps right into what I've felt about the book. That it is about everyone finding their way.


Well, that certainly fits. :-O

What I was thinking in connection with Balashov was that a horse symbolizes the driving force of the libido. And it seems that it is a driving force in this book, not only for Balashov (so much so that he has to remove it), but for Samarin and Anna.



_________________________________________________________
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.
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 12:47 am 
JDZ Web Designer
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 01, 2005 1:21 am
Posts: 20634
Location: Houston, Texas
Quote:
In Russian popular poetry what we have hitherto regarded as exclusively a death-horse [black horse] becomes a symbol of youth and the triumph of the life force. These are the black horses which, in fairy stories, are harnessed to wedding-coaches; they are thus the horses of the libido set free.


I found this to be a very interesting point in the horse tidbit. Omar, the black horse, was the only one to survive from the train. Balashov only really felt alive when he was with Omar. Riding him at the end, Balashov saved the town and all the people from certain annihilation, so even though Balashov was killed, his actions, with Omar – saved the lives of everyone. Even at the very end of the book, Omar was given to the albino, most likely to be killed -- but even in death, Omar's purpose would be to carry the shaman to the Upper World in triumph.

The white horse, the one we usually associate with youth and triumph, has quite the opposite symbolism in this story. White horses are associated with the castrates – Mounting the White Horse, the symbol of complete castration, and therefore the loss of the libido. Matula's horse, Lajkurg, described on page 156 as a “Big evil white stallion...” was one of the horses killed in the fall from the train. Lajkurg was the horse from which Samarin took a strip of his flesh to eat. Samarin and Matula definitely didn't fall in the category of “triumph of the life force.”


Offline
 Profile  
 
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
 Page 1 of 2 [ 20 posts ]  Go to page
1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  


phpBB skin developed by: John Olson
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group