TCD Question #21 ~ The Test

by Arturo Perez-Reverte

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TCD Question #21 ~ The Test

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Aug 24, 2008 10:38 am

pg 342: Before Corso enters the castle he and Irene are looking at it from a distance.

“Well, it’s been a long journey, only to end back at the starting point.” Corso indicated the town suspended in the mist. “And now I have to go down there.”

“You don’t have to. Nobody’s forcing you. You could just forget about it and leave.”

“Without finding out the answer?”

“Without undergoing the test. You have the answer within you.”


What is Irene referring to here?
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 -
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Re: TCD Question #21 ~ The Test

Unread postby Parlez » Sun Aug 24, 2008 4:48 pm

This is very confusing - first of all because I don't know why Corso says they're back where they started. Does this refer to the engravings in some way? Is he now identifying with those mystical symbols and meanings? It seems to me like he's got an inkling here that he and The Girl have been paired in some kind of dance that's been going on for a larger expanse of Time than ordinary, linear time....some kind of repetitive theme seems to be taking over. (???) If that's the case, Corso might feel the need to complete the cycle, or the story as it were, by entering the castle and going through the 'test'. The Girl would say he didn't have to, since they both know how it will all turn out...again.
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Re: TCD Question #21 ~ The Test

Unread postby Liz » Sun Aug 24, 2008 5:33 pm

It is very confusing, Parlez. But my gut tells me that it is something spiritual/supernatural involving good and evil.....
You can't judge a book by its cover.

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Re: TCD Question #21 ~ The Test

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Aug 24, 2008 6:05 pm

I agree that things are getting confusing and I'm hoping someone can shed some light on this conversation. Parlez, your take on it is very interesting! :cool:
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!

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Re: TCD Question #21 ~ The Test

Unread postby gemini » Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:02 pm

I guess I wasn't into deep thinking when I read this part. Now that you ladies have mentioned confusion I see that I may have missed more than I think.
Anyhow, at first reading I took the short and simple thought that "Back at the starting point" meant back to Victor Borja who had hired him for this journey. I didn't really consider the castle but the person in it. Duh?
When Irene says "Nobody’s forcing you. You could just forget about it and leave.” She is repeating in another way what she said earlier when she said ....there is always free will. And or you don't have to finish this you could just leave with me but the choice is up to you.

When Corso says "Without finding out the answer?” This I took as his admission to the knowing that he had gone too far to turn back. Past the point of no return, so to speak. He had to see it through.

When Irene says "Without undergoing the test." You have the answer within you.”
I have already mentioned that I agreed with Corso that she was the fallen angel and in so many ways she has admitted as much.
That meant to me she was telling him that the test was meant as a way to meet the devil and Corso didn't need it to meet her. He had her with him. It was just a matter of him wanting to see the whole story to the end because with or without the test he was going to choose the devil.
Sorry I didn't really see anyway to answer this without giving away my thoughts on the ending.
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Re: TCD Question #21 ~ The Test

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:30 am

No worries, gemini. Those are very well thought out answers! :cool:
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Re: TCD Question #21 ~ The Test

Unread postby Parlez » Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:28 am

I think that's a nice, logical interpretation of the scene, gemini, which fits with your interpretation of who, exactly, The Girl is. :cool: IF she's the devil incarnate, or one of his minions, she would be advising Corso thusly, saying he didn't have to go anywhere to find the entity he was seeking since said entity was standing right there next to him. BUT, if her identity is still in question, as it is for me, the scene is a little more convoluted and susceptible to other interpretations. For one thing, it's the first time she's given Corso any advice, innit? Up til now she's been the unaffected, indifferent, aloof observer of Corso's actions, right? Perhaps, this being the Showdown of sorts, she feels compelled to offer last minute advice about what final action he's contemplating. However, if she was really the devil, she's wouldn't bother, IMO. She'd let him go - let him burn - let him succeed or fail - she'll get him in the end anyway.
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Re: TCD Question #21 ~ The Test

Unread postby Endora » Mon Aug 25, 2008 1:02 pm

However, if she is the devil (which I think is the case) why does she need to let him do the task, challenge or whatever? Surely she can do as she chooses, make him omniscient, rich, or immortal? The whole point of being the devil is that you don't have to stick to the rulesof the game. That dismissiveness towards the rules (morality) is what makes you the devil!

Anyway:

“Well, it’s been a long journey, only to end back at the starting point.” Corso indicated the town suspended in the mist. “And now I have to go down there.”

...all the intellectual effort is a waste of time. Our fate hangs on quickly made, almost random choices. All the detective work was as nought.

“You don’t have to. Nobody’s forcing you. You could just forget about it and leave.”

...free will. The one thing denied to Adam and Eve, the thing the serpent made them embrace.

“Without finding out the answer?”

...original sin. Man just has to know, doesn't he, whatever the consequences.
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Re: TCD Question #21 ~ The Test

Unread postby nebraska » Mon Aug 25, 2008 2:43 pm

Would it be too simple to guess there are no right answers? Perhaps the author has cleverly constructed a story that each reader can interpret to mean anything that he or she wants?

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Re: TCD Question #21 ~ The Test

Unread postby Endora » Mon Aug 25, 2008 2:51 pm

nebraska wrote:Would it be too simple to guess there are no right answers? Perhaps the author has cleverly constructed a story that each reader can interpret to mean anything that he or she wants?


No, not too simple at all. Some might say that's the mark of a
good author. And all this searching for meaning, some might say what is the point. Maybe this book s more existentialist than it looks.
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Re: TCD Question #21 ~ The Test

Unread postby Liz » Mon Aug 25, 2008 4:20 pm

Endora wrote:
nebraska wrote:Would it be too simple to guess there are no right answers? Perhaps the author has cleverly constructed a story that each reader can interpret to mean anything that he or she wants?


No, not too simple at all. Some might say that's the mark of a
good author. And all this searching for meaning, some might say what is the point. Maybe this book s more existentialist than it looks.

And the joke is on us. We thought it was all connected and that there would be an answer. And there wasn't. I wouldn't put it past this author.

gemini wrote:When Irene says "Without undergoing the test." You have the answer within you.”
I have already mentioned that I agreed with Corso that she was the fallen angel and in so many ways she has admitted as much.
That meant to me she was telling him that the test was meant as a way to meet the devil and Corso didn't need it to meet her. He had her with him. It was just a matter of him wanting to see the whole story to the end because with or without the test he was going to choose the devil.

Gemini, you articulated this very well. And you have some good points--that's assuming that she is the Devil (which I still haven't ruled out).
You can't judge a book by its cover.

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Re: TCD Question #21 ~ The Test

Unread postby Parlez » Mon Aug 25, 2008 4:42 pm

Endora wrote:
nebraska wrote:Would it be too simple to guess there are no right answers? Perhaps the author has cleverly constructed a story that each reader can interpret to mean anything that he or she wants?


No, not too simple at all. Some might say that's the mark of a
good author. And all this searching for meaning, some might say what is the point. Maybe this book s more existentialist than it looks.

So we're back at square one (just like Corso!), debating the pros and cons of writing fiction, and the responsibilities of a book's author vis a vis his or her reader. Hmmm...if we take the Existentialist approach, we could say that nothing means anything; there is no point; and therefore a book's point and purpose is up for grabs. But I say there is (or should be) a point when it comes to crafting a story. It shouldn't just be a random stringing of meaningless events leading to obtuse interpretations that go nowhere. Connections should be made, and made well, which, for the most part would mean not leading to complete befuddlement.
If I want befuddlement I'd read non-fiction! :lol:
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Re: TCD Question #21 ~ The Test

Unread postby Liz » Mon Aug 25, 2008 5:05 pm

Parlez wrote:
Endora wrote:
nebraska wrote:Would it be too simple to guess there are no right answers? Perhaps the author has cleverly constructed a story that each reader can interpret to mean anything that he or she wants?


No, not too simple at all. Some might say that's the mark of a
good author. And all this searching for meaning, some might say what is the point. Maybe this book s more existentialist than it looks.

So we're back at square one (just like Corso!), debating the pros and cons of writing fiction, and the responsibilities of a book's author vis a vis his or her reader. Hmmm...if we take the Existentialist approach, we could say that nothing means anything; there is no point; and therefore a book's point and purpose is up for grabs. But I say there is (or should be) a point when it comes to crafting a story. It shouldn't just be a random stringing of meaningless events leading to obtuse interpretations that go nowhere. Connections should be made, and made well, which, for the most part would mean not leading to complete befuddlement.
If I want befuddlement I'd read non-fiction! :lol:

:biglaugh: Well, that is your responsibility, as the reader, Parlez, and you have free will. :rolleyes: :lol:
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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Re: TCD Question #21 ~ The Test

Unread postby gemini » Mon Aug 25, 2008 5:30 pm

nebraska wrote:Would it be too simple to guess there are no right answers? Perhaps the author has cleverly constructed a story that each reader can interpret to mean anything that he or she wants?

Yep...I think you have come to the same conclusion as I did, Nebraska.
Remember back on our question Why is the reader Responsible? Well I went back and changed my opionion after reading the ending. Here was my last answer to that question.
I am backtracking to this question now that we are discussing more of the story. I originally said the author is responsible for the story but having finished the book and seeing how varied some of our answers are to various questions, I see that Perez Reverte has intentionally left parts of this story up to the readers interpretation.
I have a feeling when we get to the question on the ending we will all have very different versions and Perez Reverte is laughing at those of us who thought the author decides the outcome because he supplies the information. He seems to have discussed it ahead of time because he went to a lot of trouble to give us choices to leave the readers with their own interpretation.
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Re: TCD Question #21 ~ The Test

Unread postby nebraska » Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:24 pm

Parlez wrote:
Endora wrote:
nebraska wrote:Would it be too simple to guess there are no right answers? Perhaps the author has cleverly constructed a story that each reader can interpret to mean anything that he or she wants?


No, not too simple at all. Some might say that's the mark of a
good author. And all this searching for meaning, some might say what is the point. Maybe this book s more existentialist than it looks.



So we're back at square one (just like Corso!), debating the pros and cons of writing fiction, and the responsibilities of a book's author vis a vis his or her reader. Hmmm...if we take the Existentialist approach, we could say that nothing means anything; there is no point; and therefore a book's point and purpose is up for grabs. But I say there is (or should be) a point when it comes to crafting a story. It shouldn't just be a random stringing of meaningless events leading to obtuse interpretations that go nowhere. Connections should be made, and made well, which, for the most part would mean not leading to complete befuddlement.
If I want befuddlement I'd read non-fiction! :lol:




Parlez, I don't think it is random at all. I think it is all very carefully and very cleverly crafted. And I wonder if having a clear spoon-fed point is too simple. When I think back on many of the questions that have been WAY too far over my head to answer, and when I look at the various opinions of purposely obscure passages, I have to wonder what was in the author's mind........wouldn't it be a grand joke on all of us if there was NO answer except what we create for each of ourselves, in the privacy of our own minds.

I have always had questions about the ending of the movie (more so than the book) and maybe the point is to make us THINK.......and QUESTION.......and WONDER.......and in the end decide for ourselves what it means. That is a much more difficult task for an author than to create a concrete ending with no wiggle room at all.


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