letters
to an unknown audience
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Bacon & Identity/  /July 02, 2011

Here's Master and Commander again, with a swing from concrete and adventurous to lofty and philosophical. A tense run ends like this:

"How very glad I am to see you," cried Jack, as Stephen groped his way aboard ... Come and breakfast directly—I have held it back on purpose. How do you find yourself? Tolerably spry, I hope? Tolerably spry?"

"I am very well, I thank you," said Stephen, who indeed looked somewhat less cadaverous, flushed as he was with pleasure at the open friendliness of his welcome. "I will take a look at my sick-bay and then I will share your bacon with the utmost pleasure. ..."

And then, after a moment's break:

"That," he said, a little greasy from bacon, "that was a point that exercised my mind a good deal during your absence. Would my loblolly boy pay the men back in their own coin? Would they return to their persecution of him? How quickly could he come by a new identity?"

"Identity? said Jack, comfortably pouring out more coffee. "Is not identity something you are born with?"

"The identity I am thinking of is something that hovers between a man and the rest of the world: a mid-point between his view of himself and their of him—for each, of course, affects the other continually. ..."

I am sharing this with you.

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