Diagramming Babel (Part 10)

(Originally Posted Thursday, October 25, 2007)


(I’ve been posting these every Wednesday for the last couple of months, but yesterday Blogger had trouble uploading the scan for some reason, so I added a different post. Now we’re back to normal again.)

Diagram 10. At the top of the diagram are the headings “Ch. 4” and “Across Faerie Minor” –In the novel, Faerie Minor became Fäerie Minor. The umlaut in Fäerie was Susanna Clarke’s invention, used in Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, among other works. At this point, I very much wanted to use her device, but very carefully didn’t, because I hadn’t obtained her permission yet.

From left to right, beneath the two headings:

Could there be so many cars in a [single] train? There could in a dream.

3 Witches

materialized in the last car

MOTION/STILLNESS

Dragon trail (looks away)

Will, dreaming

A hair-like fracture in the sky [arrow] Vision of Babel

Jack-of-Many-Names

Babel End of chapter

Annotations:

Weirdly enough “Crossing Fäerie Minor” (as the chapter ended up being remonickered) was actually chapter 6, not 4. How could I have not known that at such a late date?

“The witches materialized in the last car.” After which they head forward, looking for Will. The plot is pretty much in control at this point. Will is caught in the simplest and straightest maze of them all and has to find a way to evade his pursuers. Since I know how that will be accomplished, the rest of the diagram is simply to assure that I get the central images in the right places.

The “hair-like fracture in the sky” is the only glimpse that Will ever gets of Babel whole. The train is heading toward Babel, so the only time he has a chance of seeing anything is on long curves. The next he’ll see of the city is a wall that fills his vision as the train plunges into the mouth of a tunnel.

Jack-of-Many-Names is of course Nat Whilk. Though he never goes by that name in the novel.

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