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Charles Baxter is often asked questions about his short story Gryphon In order to help students everywhere better understand his story Charles answered some of the most common questions for this site Question What does the title of the story mean The gryphon doesnt seem very important-- what does the idea of a gryphon bring to the story Baxter Ms Ferenczi mentions the gryphon as an animal shes actually seen in Egypt A gryphon however is an entirely imaginary creature half eagle and half lion In other words a gryphon is made up of parts from the world but these parts are combined in order to create a new imaginary thing that does not exist in the world until someone thinks of it She seems to feel that young people should be exposed to exotic facts and possibility of this sort And of course its possible to read the story with Ms Ferenczi as something of a gryphon herself--half in this world a world of concrete objects and half out-of-this-world Question At one point in the story Ms Ferenczi suggests to the class that they consider the notion that six times eleven equals sixty-eight as a substitute fact Does the idea of the substitute fact have a broader importance in the story Baxter Sometimes substitute facts are simply wrong or incorrect but sometimes they are products of myth or of the imagination Ms Ferenczi likes to expose the members of the class to amazing facts some of which are true some of which are mythic and some of which are simply untrue as a way of expanding their sense of wonder Question Do you think Ms Ferenczi thinks shes lying to her students Baxter There doesnt seem to be any indication in the story that Ms Ferenczi believes that shes lying to the students She seems to live at least part of the time in the world
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