Chlamys

Definition

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A mantle. A short sleeveless article of clothing, not unlike a cloak, that drapes over one shoulder, and is clasped to the other. It is depicted in many Classical works of Roman and Greek art, as portrayed in the photo on this web page. The photo, taken at the Capitoline Museum in Rome, is of the Emporer Marcus Aurelius.

Context

On page 53 of the novel, Deus ex Machina: Logos, the word chlamys appears in the midst of a confusing and cacophonic sentence: "… Wraithfully stitched this quiet, as would an oblique chlamys, curtain, or copula …" By this it is clear that the main character, Cecelia, is afraid. She is so afraid that the scenery personifies her inability to speak or express it. She is quiet. Also, the words inside the book, are quiet being stitched shut into the binding of a book. Unlike spoken words, words in a book are rarely verbalized out loud by a reader.

The mixture of concrete imagery and abstractions in the sentence distorts the meaning of it on several levels. By doing so the reader is offered many ways to interpret the scene, or none at all. Note that a chlamys was often worn by soldiers in Rome. By associating a chlamys worn protectively like a cloak by soldiers with the word wraithfully the imagery imbues a sense of something menacing. By further associating the same word 'chlamys' with the word oblique, as in devious or obscure, the imagery imbues a sense of an intentional and mischievous deception. Chlamys is also associated with a curtain - something that conceals a view. The word, chlamys, is also associated with the term copula — the connecting or linking verbs of the sentence. The effect of the sentence, itself, then distorts the setting — a tunnel behind a picture, in an old inn, in a ghost town, in Colorado. The sentence imagery and structure is intentionally confusing, but the adverb "wraithfully" and adjective "oblique" hint that the narrator is not simply attempting to express feelings of fear within the sense of what is not known, but also the narrator is attempting (for whatever reason) to induce the same feelings within the reader.

See Also

Cacophony

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