[LMB] Belief: Was What makes a character irredeemable?

Joel Polowin jpolowin at hotmail.com
Sat Aug 3 18:01:56 BST 2019

Eric Oppen <ravenclaweric at gmail.com> wrote:
> Personally, I like to counter arguments for monotheism with a reference to
> James Thurber's lovely short-short story, "The Unicorn in the Garden."  I
> say that if I awoke, as his protagonist does, to find a unicorn in my
> garden (read "back yard," I think) I would not assume that it was unique.

Addressing only this point...  Thurber was American, so I presume
that he was using "garden" in the American sense: a part of that
property devoted to growing plants.  If you want to get all serious
about how the story works logically, one might infer that that garden
was entirely out of view from any of the neighbours, so there were no
other people to interview regarding possibly witnessing said unicorn,
so the wife could spend the rest of her married life in the booby hatch.
And that she didn't have useful legal representation, etc.

That's one of my favourite Thurber stories, enough so that one of my
SCA device submissions was based on it.  ("Vert, a unicorn rampant
and an orle of liles argent", IIRC.  It's one of the three device
submissions that the heralds lost in process, before I gave up entirely
on the system.)  But it does make me uncomfortable about the fate of
the wife, horrid as she is.


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