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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Aug 04, 2009 3:53 pm

The book is a bit like the Bible - you don't have to believe every word in it to get the basic message. I see the "map" reference in that way. :)
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Postby poohbcarrot » Tue Aug 04, 2009 10:23 pm

Dotsie wrote:
A. Not all of them.

B. They are lead to believe (by Darktan under Sardines' influence) that they have witnessed something supernatural.

C. And Dangerous Beans says that he hopes there really is a Big Rat, and also refers to the book as a map (even after he knows the truth). And that was talking to Darktan and Peaches, both of whom have no faith in the book at that time.


A. "Not all of them"..........but some of them - they have been given the choice to question or not! None of the stupid rats can question because they are mind-controlled.

B. An example of lying about religion to manipulate people even by the intelligent rats.

C. There is a massive difference between believing 100% in God and hoping there is a God. I hope Darlington FC will win the FA Cup next year, but I don't believe they will.
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Postby swreader » Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:03 am

Pooh, I think your interpretation is interesting--provocative but not literally correct. But I know the feeling. When I first discovered Jingo, during the early years of GW, I felt as though he was satirizing GW with the character of Lord Rust--and that would have also made him quite prescient. But, the book, I think, is more than the semi roman-a-clef your interpretation limits it to.

In an interview about Maurice, Terry talked about writing this book (and all his books) as being something like starting to carve a block of wood--that you think you know what it's going to be. But somewhere in there, the wood takes over and takes you (if you're any good) to somewhere you hadn't planned. I think that this is particularly true of this book.

He says in the interview that he originally thought of it as a whimsical little tale that he could whip out in three weeks--but that boy was he wrong. So, that says to me that he started out with the Pied Piper of Hamlin, and then got Beatrix Potter involved, and the whole question of stories or fantasies. It turned into a much more significant book than he had originally thought. But, it's late tonight, and I'm tired--so I'll write more about what I think he's writing about and the questions he's posing probably tomorrow.
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Postby poohbcarrot » Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:33 am

"semi roman-a-clef" = ? :?

semi = half
roman = old Italian (with parmesan)
a = to (French - maybe :? )
clef = musical notation

swreader wrote:So, that says to me that he started out with the Pied Piper of Hamlin, and then got Beatrix Potter involved, and the whole question of stories or fantasies.


......then he read about PNAC - the Washington based Neo-Con think tank that included Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bolton, Wolfowitz, Libby, Kristol, Kagan, Pearl (8 blind Rat-publicans)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PNAC

wikipedia wrote:Section V of Rebuilding America's Defenses, entitled "Creating Tomorrow's Dominant Force", includes the sentence: "Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event––like a new Pearl Harbor"

(poohbcarrot "and then 9/11 happened")

Post-9/11 call for regime change in Iraq

On September 20, 2001 (nine days after the September 11, 2001 attacks), the PNAC sent a letter to President George W. Bush, advocating "a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq," or regime change:
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Postby Tonyblack » Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:00 am

Roman a clef = a novel in which actual persons and events are disguised as fictional characters. :)
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Postby poohbcarrot » Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:05 am

Ta Tony. When you go out on a date together, do you have to take a dictionary? :lol:
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Postby Tonyblack » Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:12 am

poohbcarrot wrote:Ta Tony. When you go out on a date together, do you have to take a dictionary? :lol:
:lol: No, but if I don't know I ask. Sharlene was an English professor and sometimes forgets that I only took 'O' Level. But I do enjoy learning and we have some really good literary debates. :wink:
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Postby Tonyblack » Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:46 am

The interview with Terry that swreader mentions in her earlier post. :)
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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:44 pm

It seems to me with this book that Terry has given the rats and Maurice intelligence but he's also given them a conscience as well. Things they would have done without thinking before the transformation, they are now reluctant to do. Look at the guilt that Maurice feels about how he got intelligent and look at how the other rats question whether it's morally right to eat their dead friends.

They've come to the conclusion that their life is limited and that when they die there may be something afterwards. They are concerned that when they die their identity will be lost and just the green wobbly bit will be left. :lol:

And they have gained imaginations. The use of candles and matches is both a gift and a curse to them because they illuminate the imaginations as well.

One of the most telling differences between the intelligent rats and the normal rats controlled by the King is that the intelligent ones are now favouring intellect over strength. Mating with a clever rat has become more important than mating with a big aggressive one.

We are sort of looking at early man in microcosm - the rats are experiencing what it is to be human and that is why they see the book as so important - because it seems to show the way forward for rats that think like humans.
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Postby poohbcarrot » Thu Aug 06, 2009 3:03 pm

The best thing that happened to the rats was when they lost that damn book. Nobody should put all their faith in one book. Especially one which is basically a fairy story that seems to show you the way forward. Books can be twisted to mean anything people want them to mean.

For example, my original Rat-publicans V Democ-rats post was entertaining, but a complete load of tosh. I didn't believe one word of it was true, it was all just purely coincidental (but it was fun to write!).
:twisted:

If I did believe that TP had super-natural powers of pre-cognition, then before I knew it I'd start believing it was possible for Jesus to turn water into wine, and there lies a slippery slope I have absolutely no wish to go down.
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Postby poohbcarrot » Thu Aug 06, 2009 3:21 pm

Tonyblack wrote:
We are sort of looking at early man in microcosm - the rats are experiencing what it is to be human and that is why they see the book as so important - because it seems to show the way forward for rats that think like humans.


Which book? There are two books.
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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:54 pm

Mr Bunnsey is the book I mean and I agree - them losing it was the best thing that could happen. Or at least them learning what it really was. It meant they had to start thinking for themselves. :D

:lol: Never would have guessed about the Democ-rats Pooh. :wink: But you're right, the events in Amazing Maurice can be sort of fitted if you twist them around and ignore bits. :lol: A bit like what the rats were trying to do with Mr Bunnsey.

As I think we said in one of these previous discussions - Terry writes about people and you can count on people to keep on doing the same old things. You could just as easily have made a case that the King Rat was like Hitler trying to breed a master race.
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Postby swreader » Fri Aug 07, 2009 1:53 am

Tonyblack wrote:Mr Bunnsey is the book I mean and I agree - them losing it was the best thing that could happen. Or at least them learning what it really was. It meant they had to start thinking for themselves. :D


I have to disagree with the idea that loosing the the Mr. Bunnsey book meant they had to start thinking for themselves. They were thinking for themselves long before they lost Mr. Bunsey and Thoughts. They had already started writing their own book "Thoughts" in Rat well before they lost both of the books. But "The Changelings" are different. (See last sentence of Chapter 3.) [Incidentally, the publishers of this book must have had real fun coming up with a way of printing in Rat; I suppose they did it as they would do a black and white illustration.] The Clan or the Changelings are, then, rats who are not exactly rats.

It's true that Pratchett is anti-organized religions. I'm not at all sure that he is anti-spiritual. The ideas he puts forward through Dangerous Beans primarily are philosophical. They are about right and wrong, and about the dark and the light, about life after death. These ideas are certainly spiritual, and not the sole purview of any organized religion.

Maurice is a fascinating book, incorporating many of the ideas Pratchett has used before (i.e. - stories v. reality). It's not, as you said, Pooh, a roman a clef for Obama. But it's a good deal more than what most people think of when they say "It's a children's book." It's interesting that this book followed The Thief of Time because in some respects the question of what makes one human is a central theme in both books. Only in this book, the central question appears to be "What makes us Changelings?"

The first thing that makes these rats different is that they have become self-aware, and from that they have developed their skills of thinking into the beginnings of a philosophy. They have learned to think, to speak, and to read and this has set them apart from the keekees. Ironically, Maurice has come to the same stage of self-awareness from eating one of the changelings. Thus he is no more an "ordinary cat" than they are "ordinary rats."

It seems to me that what Pratchett has done here is to take several old stories, weave them together, and create something new that because it is entertaining makes us think. And good stories are a way to look at life in a different way, a way that makes the self-aware think about what is right and wrong, and what is real and what is not. That's why the central characters in this book (contrary to the title) are the Educated Rodents. Yes, there are humans and there is a cat and there rats. But most of all, there is The Clan.

Because we are all brought up to think that rats are bad, nasty, and deserve to be disposed of as quickly and completely as possible, when Pratchett makes them the central characters we find ourselves identifying with beings that we have been taught to see in a totally different and negative way. We are used to thinking that killing rats, or using them for sport is not only justified, but the only way to see rats. But by making the Educated Rodents the central characters, Pratchett allows us to explore what binds all of us together and how we can learn to live together without trying to kill each other.

In this way Pratchett is able to explore a great many ideas because he can draw on all kinds of stories and traditions. For example, The Rat King has turned himself in his own perception into a kind of god who thinks for the other rats, but not of the other rats. The other rats that he has always controlled and manipulated do not have the ability to think because they are not self-aware. They are "traditional rats" as Hambone defines them "Teeth, Claws. Tail. Run. Hide. Eat. That's what a rat is." And the best of them survive and grow stronger. But they don't think of the Rat King as a god because they don't think. They just follow the voice in their heads and are used by the Rat King in his attempt to extract vengeance on the humans that made him a Rat King.

Because Pratchett uses the Educated Rodents as central characters, he is able to deal with a good many of the other questions that humans face in the course of the novel. Some are practical (like what makes a good leader) and some are funny - like tap dancing and stage struck rats. But he can also suggest that we, like Maurice, can behave in ways that are totally "uncatlike". We are capable of changing ourselves and becoming beings who are willing to give up our lives for others.

Pratchett has changed the ending of the Pied Piper story, because his book is more than a story. His novel doesn't end with all the rats going away (or for that matter all the children going away). It doesn't even end with "And they all lived happily ever after." It involves drawing up a contract, a very detailed agreement of how rats and humans can live and prosper together. Of course, it's not really just a funny book about rats and cats and humans at all--it's much more than that.

That is Pratchett's talent--"to take us boldly where no man has gone before" and to see things in a totally different way, a way that makes us think and makes us better. That's why the book got the Carnegie Medal. It's officially a children's book, but really it's a humans' book.
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Postby poohbcarrot » Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:37 am

Blimey! I understood every word of that. Thankyou for dumbing it down to my level. :lol: I will read it later properly and do my best to find something to disagree with. :twisted:
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Postby kakaze » Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:55 am

I'm from the Nintendo generation; I can't read posts longer than 3 paragraphs. :cry:

I agree with the idea of the new rats as a microcosim of human evolution, even to the point of having a religion (Mr. Bunnsy) and discarding it when they no longer need it.

When Dangerous Beans said that the book could still be a map, I think he was referring to an idea of how rats and humans could live together in the future, not really instructions about how they should.

Can anyone see a pun involving the name "Dangerous Beans"? It seems to me that there ought to be one, and that I ought to see it, but I can't.

Oh, and my favorite rat was Nurishing. :)
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