Alice and Finch – Update 2

Happy too am I!
Where is Lvsa, my love?

Hello. I am Alexandre Dirge.

And I dub Alice and Finch’s life to be an Archetypal Comedy, and therefore eternal.

Now I digress from my memories of their love story to bring you evidence with the help of Northrop Frye.

Elements of Archetypal Comedy

These are the elements that occur in nearly all love stories (and realities) across nearly all cultures. (Sorry barbarians, you are hardly romantic.)

1

Two lovers. Two lovers who are destined for each other, often both secretly of noble blood; prince and princess. No explanation needed here.

(I will add, however, that the connection to royalty is a very Jewish tradition. For more, read,Song of Songs, which may or may not have been written by King Solomon, or contact your local Rabbi.)

2

Flawed Society. The society is flawed; even if the only flaw is that it does not approve of, or actively denies the love of the heroes.

  • Angry Father. The father represents society itself. Thus, often the father directly manifests the society’s disaproval of the heroes love. The father, usually the maiden’s father, but it could be as distant as a grandfather or even another member of the society, becomes a blocking character.

You can see conflict and excitement, and even longing on the horizon by now, surely.

3

Instant Love. There is nothing in between the lovers. It is as if they have known each other forever. They slip into each others’ lives as easily as they slip into each others’ arms. Love at first sight may be something only found in the realm of fantasy, but surely love at his words must be real.

This is, of course, how I fell in love.

I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
(Authorized King James Version, Job. 23.12 2, emphasis mine, italics in original)

4

Separation. How tragic! The lovers mus separate. It is either caused by a chaos or double chaos (brigands are a chaos. Water is a chaos as well, so pirates, thieves of the sea, are a double chaos.) Usually, however, it is the society’s failure in tandem with a chaos that sets it off.

  • Society. The society did not approve of Alice, the little monster, except for the other outcasts such as Finch the bookworm, the Metch priest, Prince Chloe Rhye, and myself. The guard were the final straw, urged by Ilias, and caused by…
  • Chaos. Alice is a chaos, because we don’t know (at least we didn’t know) what she was, what a Plainkind was. Plus, she was coming into puberty at the time, another chaos from within.

(The chaos being internal instead of external is, of course, very intriguing to me.)

5

Struggle to find oneness. Often this process brings out the woman’s beauty and desirably, as she longs for her husband-to-be. In the man, it brings out the same longing, and in some cases, even suicidal thoughts; “If I cannot be with her, I do not want to live!” (Infamously, Chaereas from one of the most ancient novels, Chaereas and Callirhoe, tried to die at least three times.)

  • Longing. Most of the wishes for death and disparity comes from longing. The pair are soul mates, and without each other, the world is but nothing, they are broken.

Fuck it all and fuckin’ no regrets
I hit the lights on these dark steps
Medallion noose, I hang myself
Saint Anger ’round my neck

And I choke… on the cross
As I hang… as I’m hanging
I just wanna die today
I just wanna die
Will tell you why

I’m madly in anger with you
I feel my world shake
Like an earth quake
Hard to see clear
Is it me? Is it fear?

Searching my head
For the words that you said

The light at the end of the tunnel
Was turned off
And something I noticed
Beating you is thrilling me
I’ve got a secret for you

Tears filled my eyes
As we said our last goodbyes
This sad scene replays
Of you walking away

The tides of change pulled us apart
I feel a familiar pain
In my hour of need,
No, you are not there
And though I reached out for you,
Wouldn’t lend a hand
My darkest hour is every hour
You’re not there
When no words are spoken and please are ignored
Your tears go unnoticed, will you say enough?

Did you ever think I get lonely?
Did you ever think that I needed love?
Did you ever think, stop thinking;
You’re the only one that I’m thinking of.
Goodbye 1000 times goodbye
The thought never crossed my mind
That this would be my last goodbye.

My heart, it hurts
‘Cause it never catches its breath
I’m still staying when I should have left
Come to where the waters meet the shore
I’ll be there
And I will stay, leaving you

I am really afraid
But I am her protector
You know?
You’ll be never alone again,
Cause I am your protector.

Waves—close your eyes and count slow
In this moment things are getting dangerous.
Oh no.
I can’t find my way.
All these things that left me in their waiting.
—I keep shaking.

But the things that she said sounded peculiar and strange
Like she couldn’t believe the words that were shaping
Her future life

(Plagiarized by Alexandre Jutt, and Daniel T.
Credits in order: Metallica, Two, Logic, Metallica, Megadeth, Falling Up, Daniel Triumph.)

The struggle to return as one pits the protagonists against many trials, mostly internal for the woman, and external for the man.

6

Reunion. Of course, there is a happy ending! The man finds his woman, or in the case of stories like An Ephesian Tale or An Ethiopian Story, the lovers find each other.

Sigh.

7

Wedding! Of course, the lovers need to lock in their commitment and become slaves to each other. How romantic, a choking band around the neck—I mean the finger. You will never be forgotten, Alice, Finch!

The old and corrupt society is inspired and renewed by the lovers’ actions and their fated reunion despite it all. The wedding festival brings happiness not only to the lovers, but to the whole city that celibates with them. Even the villains find their good spirit and join the celebration (if only to be arrested or likewise midway through. However, all are happy for the lovers, even they that opposed them see how wrong it was to do so.)

The marriage is very important, it is the symbol; a promise of a new and bright future. (Ah, love is in the air. Are you as excited for Alice and Finch’s wedding as I? Truly, I must finish these writings soon, for they are calling that I help with the preparations.)

35963625_1778460728867077_5277050098382012416_o

Bye bye, love,
Alexandre Dirge!

…and Daniel Triumph.

Read an essay on the first draft of Alice and Finch Here: Alice and Finch: The Archetypal Recapitulation

You can also check out Alice and Finch – Update 1 here, as it is far short, and less dense.

Finally, the first draft is available on this blog, for free in its entirety. Check it out if you are feeling impatient!

P.S.

Burying all of the evidence
My glamorous words will CATCH HER
Burying all of the evidence,
Some thousands of eyes will HAPPEN

P.P.S.:

STRUCTURALISM IN ART AHHGGGGG NORTHROP FRYE IT IS THE NEW FRONTIER OF SOCIAL SCIENCE AND I LOVE SOMEONE AS WELL WHICH IS VERY IMPORTANT BLEGHH >:3

Alexandre Jutt’s Journal – I, Woman

This is another page from Alexandre Jutt Dirge’s journal. She is a Masters of Chemistry student at the Solune Academy (Officially named the Solune Royal house of Sophia.)

She is known for having a scathing tongue and being extremely judgemental. She is also considered beautiful. Tall, well endowed, and having pale and clear skin. Hated by most, loved by few.

I, Woman.

As a woman, I can confirm that woman are primarily useless.
Even now, as I get my masters degree in Kemia, I have contributed nothing to the world.
There is, of course, a shift that comes in most women’s lives,
When they become the most valuable class of human on the planet.
Women and children.
The time between marriage (when there is no escape) and parenthood,
That is when a woman is truly the most valuable.
However, they are still of little worth.
It is not until a woman has a child that she herself exits childhood.
Suddenly, at the moment she holds her infant,
She becomes masculine. Focused.
As the child grows, and becomes more independent, so does she.
Two children or more is mandatory.
One is a form of slow, dull torture for the entire family unit.
Children must be socialized, as the woman must.
A single child is like a single parent. Useless and damaged.
Do your best, Alexandre, you lone child. Find friends.

After this point, ideally in the late twenties, life begins.
Everything before this moment was in first and second gear,
But you will now coast in third at all times,
Find second in the home,
First in the bedchamber,
And overdrive, is your passions, within and without.

Adult women; mothers and grandmothers, are useful.
That is why brothers, husbands and fathers spend so much time ferrying them to that stage.
The patriarchy is hormonally constructed
To make women perfect.
Sophia. Women become repositories of wisdom.
From Sophia to Paglia, to Wollstonecraft to Asphasia, to Gwenhime to Chloe,
To you and I. Everyone could use a little more wisdom.
So, bachelorettes and girls, what the fuck are you doing?
The world needs its heroes.

Thanks for listening, ἐφημερίς. No one else listens like you. Usually, they hate me whenever I dare to speak, and so I am silent.

Looking for love,
Alexandre Jutt Dirge.

Alexander Jutt’s Journal – Epinephrine (a different page)

Daniel Triumph.

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An Argument for Symphonia and its theme.

This was a reply to a reddit post that essentially stated that Symphonia was a bad game. The poster argued his point by comparing it to other tales games, instead of judging it on its own terms. I enjoyed the critique, but found it deeply flawed.

This argument contains some spoilers for the first third or so of the story, but nothing game-ruining—I could explain to you the entire plot, and the game still wouldn’t be ruined.

Half-elves, duality, racism, sacrifice, friendship (really?), resources, relationships, right to live? Symphonia, at its core, isn’t about any of these, although it addresses each with reasonable depth and competence. All of those are subthemes that either contribute to the main plot, or flesh out the world. Tales of Symphonia is about systems, and subversion;

Symphonia is about overcoming corruption.

Related image
The tower that reaches up unto the Heavens, The Tower of Salvation.

The crux of the game is introduced at the Tower of Salvation, about one quarter of the way into the game. They find out that the religion of Martel that underlies their journey to regenerate the world is a sham, and that it’s just a tool for a failed system. It’s a corrupted system with a convoluted goal, run by the selfish, in-fighting Cruxis. Most of the latter half of the game is Lloyd (the “gentle idealist”) and company rejecting the dichotomy of, either two worlds vying or one of them dead. Lloyd rejects both and tries to find a way where everything can be decent.

Image result for lloyd gentle idealist
Lloyd’s philosophy is laid out in the open in front of Vice-Chief Tiga. (Of course, there is more than what is quoted here. Lloyd wishes to find a way to end the struggle between the two worlds. He seeks a solution in which both worlds don’t have to live at the expense of one another.)

There’s a harmony between the form and the content too, which (academically anyway) is a meaningful strength in a narrative. If the game is about subverting corrupted systems, then with each of its characters, it presents an RPG archetype (or system), and then subverts it. Lloyd, the “shounen-hero” standard, becomes a thoughtful idealist, and then acts on those ideas throughout the plot. Collette, the sacrificial Mary Sue, struggles with physical and spiritual illnesses throughout, and is constantly taking on loads of responsibility… and doing it well. Genis, the genius child caster, is (unusually, if you know the type) still childish, despite his ability. He’s a bit racist, arrogant, and he whines and cries about things. I could go on, but feel free to try it yourself. You can look at anyone from Sylvarant and see a video game trope, but if you reflect further (especially on their actions after the Tower even) you’ll see that they unravel their own tropes to reveal depth and individuality.

This marriage of content and form isn’t only found the characters; even the game itself starts off as a cliched system. Four seals? An adventure to save the word? Magitechnology that has gone extinct? an “empire” of bad guys? Sounds like every JRPG from the Super Nintendo to PlayStation era. But, after the Tower of Salvation, this is again shed to reveal something further down in the core of the game. Notice that the Tethe’alla party members don’t seem to fall into tropes like the Symphonia crew do (and if they do, it’s often far less overt). Zelos and Sheena are very strong examples of this.

In Tethe’alla, the Desians are no longer the main threat; there’s an underlying layer beneath it. Seals also now have a doubled reason for existing—the releasing summon spirits. And, of course, the entire system of the two worlds that need to be saved, instead of just one, becomes the active problem in the game.

You don’t have to like Symphonia. You don’t even have to like video games. Plus, the idea of dismantling flawed structures and tyrannical systems doesn’t resonate with everyone. (If you think about it, the theme might be the reason why it’s more popular in the United States than it is in the more conservative Japan.) I advise that you judge Tales of Symphonia for what it’s actively attempting to do with its narrative. Everything else, in the grand scheme of things, is secondary.

Daniel Triumph.

 

P.S. Here’s the original argument to which this post was a reply to, followed by my original rebuttal.


My original reply, from which this post came:

https://www.reddit.com/r/tales/comments/7xwapl/i_finished_symphonia_spoilers/dud8hio/

Life and Memory: An Overview of Programmatic Introductions and Mnemosyne

– The Most Artistic Detective Anime (That isn’t Really a Detective Fiction)

From a programmatic perspective, the opening scene of this anime is perfect. Both scenes. The only thing I could think to change would be the placement of the opening (put it after the opening scene, not before it! It’s more dramatic that way.)

Before I begin, let me set up the program for this review. I’ll be covering the first part of Mnemosyne: Mnemosyne no Musume-tachi, localized as Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne. Although, more accurately it can be translated simply as: Mnemosyne: Daughters of Mnemosyne. I will cover:

  • The first opening
  • Meeting Maeno
  • The Hotel Scene

So, with that out of the way, let’s begin.

The Opening Scene(s)

With the exception of the very “fast” final episode, Mnemosyne is a very tight, well-managed anime. By that I mean that every scene, almost every action, has its place. There would be something missing if you cut five or ten minutes from this show. Compare this to other anime or even television shows—think of how many scenes are just there for fun and may not add anything to the overall story—and you will quickly see why this is a complement.

The opening scene is a great example. Any good anime, television show, novel, play—any art form with a temporal aspect should tell you what it will be about within the first twenty or so minutes of the experience. The simple explanation is that you need to make sure your audience knows what they’re in for. Some people, certain academics anyway, call this the “program” of a narrative. Like the program you get if you go to a play or performance, the program of an anime tells you what’s going to happen, but skips the juicy details. If you’re in, your mind will ready itself for the payoff of the show. If no,  you can switch away knowing that you won’t be missing anything you wanted to see.

Mnemosyne opens with the intro song, which I might get into later, and then an opening scene. A woman is running up a stairwell from someone, a predator—a mercenary, sent to kill her. The setting is dark and urban, I might even call it noir, but I don’t know enough about the noir genre to correctly categorize anything. Who we presume is our hero makes it to a door, wearing only a button up shirt. It’s locked! Moving fast, she pulls out some steel and picks the lock, locking it behind her. Running up the stairs, she makes it to the rooftop just as the mercenary breaks the door down behind her. The, the mercenary arrives, armed with a shotgun. She spots her target and shots are fired. Rin sprints beneath the night sky and jumps to the other roof. Our hero didn’t make the jump—she’s hanging by one hand. The mercenary smiles, and shoots her. We watch Rin  fall to the ground, dead, followed (rather artistically) by her dismembered arm. The mercenary leaves, but not before crushing Rin’s fallen  glasses beneath her foot.

RIN Daughters of Mnemosyne 01 Cats Don't Laugh.mkv_snapshot_03.48_[2018.06.17_19.56.09].jpg
3:49
So, is this programmatic of the anime? Simply put, yes. There are a few important elements. The first would be the violence. Not just blood, but a full disembodied limb. It’s enough to give it its well-earned R+ rating at the very least. Later, there are at least two scenes of torture, so an audience had better be expecting something along those lines. The touch of nudity is also important, if only because there’s a bit of sexuality and nudity in the anime. Violence an nakedness are ever-present aspects of Mnemosyne, so a viewer should know right away that there’s a potential for their depiction. More important than the violence, however, is Rin’s reaction to it. She is very calm, despite her doom. This is also meaningful. It is a valid expression of the overall tone of the anime. Mnemosyne: Mnemosyne no Musume-tachi is a calm, intelligent deliberation on the value of life and immortality.

After this opening scene, Rin wakes up in her bed. A scene later, she’s in an office, wearing standard professional clothing, complete with a vest and tie. Is this a flashback? We’re left wondering for quite a few more scenes. We find out that Rin’s job is something of a jack-of-all trades type private investigator. Almost a Jessica Jones, without all the edginess. Shortly after, we meet another very important character, the character with the problem for the episode. He’s being hunted by some men in suits, and using swift and deadly combat abilities she saves him and they begin to talk.

The man, named Maeno, says he doesn’t know who he is. The scene is rather therapeutic, with him sitting on a red chair, facing perpendicular. “Amnesia?!” Shouts Rin. “No, I have my memory. I also know my address and phone number.” He explains. Maeno has a far worse problem, one a little more original. I won’t give it away, this episode is well worth the forty-five minutes. Right now though, neither party knows what’s wrong with him, although it is revealed by the end of the episode.

RIN Daughters of Mnemosyne 01 Cats Don't Laugh.mkv_snapshot_11.35_[2018.06.17_20.19.14]
11:35
There are some beautiful scenes in this anime, held back only by its budget. This image is the scene on which I’ll end my analysis of the introduction. Rin is on the phone. We don’t know with whom, and we won’t know until well past halfway through the series. This is important for the program though, as it alludes to something going on behind the scenes. (As does Rin’s references to the name “Apos,” and the appearance of the partially-incorporeal figure at the end of the hotel scene later.)

I have a lot more to say about this terrific and oft-missed anime, but I will end it here for today. But first, I’ll reveal whether or not the second scene is a flashback. Or rather, I’ll let the mercenary reveal it for you.

RIN Daughters of Mnemosyne 05 Holy Nights Dont Shine Brightly.mkv_snapshot_41.38_[2018.04.29_25.29.00].jpg
20:32 (The Hotel Scene)
Rin is immortal, she survived the fall, and regrew her arm.

Mnemosyne: Mnemosyne no Musume-tachi is a brilliant, bloody and artistic series. It’s loaded with symbolism and detail that even after analysing, I don’t think I’ve completely come to understand. It is not perfect. I believe that it needed on more episode, as the final one was a little too rush-paced. But that aside, if you’re looking for something truly unique, and with the ethos of an “anime was produced to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the AT-X network,” then Mnemosyne is not an anime to be passed on.

Daniel Triumph.

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Charlotte’s Web: Good Mother

Daniel Triumph

[…]

English 26-205

31 March 2018

The Good Mother

When I started reading Charlotte’s Web, my first reaction to Charlotte’s treatment of Wilbur was one of concern. She started with little things, “ ‘Let Wilbur alone! … He has a perfect right to smell considering his surroundings’ ” (White 61), but then Charlotte began to solve Wilbur’s problems for him, “ ‘Oh, I’ll work [the web] out alone,’ said Charlotte” (64), and following his orders to please him, “ ‘Tell me a story!’ So Charlotte, although she, too, was tired, did what Wilbur wanted” (102).

Œdipal Considerations

The psychoanalytic portion of my mind began to think in Freudian terms. Would Wilbur become overprotected and incapable of living on his own in the future? Freud states that the Œdipal complex is innate (Armstrong); perhaps that is what was happening here. Was Charlotte a devouring mother type character?

Further reflection proves this idea to be false. There is a point up to which it is okay to do things for your child; specifically when they cannot do it themselves. Peterson believes that you should not “do anything for your children that they can do for themselves” (“Strengthen the Individual” 00:20:36 – 00:20:39). Wilbur has a problem that is beyond his control, but is within the ability of Charlotte, his maternal figure. The Œdipal issue does not come into relevance unless a mother is taking power away from her child; so if Wilbur never had the power in the first place, then Charlotte’s actions are not Œdipal. In this context, the relationship is more like that of a mother to her toddler. What got me confused was likely his difficult to determine age.

Nearing the Archetype

By the end of the story, Charlotte’s positive virtue comes to be beyond question. She takes on the symbolic role of an ideal parent to Wilbur. She gives a sacrifice and by dying she, in a manner of speaking, sacrifices Wilbur to the dangers of the world. To me, this is deeply reminiscent of Abraham’s symbolic sacrifice of Isaac to God (or to the “transcendent”) in Genesis (King James Bible, Gen. 22). The ideal parent, by this definition, is the one that is willing to sacrifice their child, and their relationship to them as “strictly parent,” to the independence of that child’s adulthood. In Charlotte’s Web, Wilbur’s independence is put upon him in a very literal sense. First by his separation from Fern: “Mr. Zuckerman did not allow her to get into the pigpen. But he told Fern that she could sit on the stool and watch Wilbur” (15-16). The second because of Charlotte’s death. Afterwards, Wilbur has no option but to grow up and become autonomous. A weak connection can be drawn between the Biblically archetypal nature of this story and Locke’s wishes for a more optimal and interesting way of introducing the Bible to children (Locke 260-261). The Biblical ideas of growth, independence, selflessness, and sacrifice are valuable and likely intriguing to a child, even if they are presented in alternate, and perhaps more appealing stories.

Growing Children

Wilbur’s ascension, his growing from childhood to adulthood, is shown in three distinct stages. The infancy stage is when Wilbur’s parent is Fern, and she does nothing but care for and love Wilbur (White 8), an appropriate thing to do with an infant. As a baby piglet, Wilbur lives in “a large wooden box full of straw” (9); a small room. The second stage is something similar to childhood. Wilbur outgrows his infantile life and moves into Zuckerman’s farm (12) where he meets other animals that are different from him (15-17), like a child in kindergarten. This is the reflective of two to four year old humans, who are ready to socialize with other kids, “your job as a parent is to make your kids socially desirable by the age of four” (Peterson, “Biology and Traits: Agreeableness” 30:55-31:00). The first thing Wilbur does is to listen to the barn goose and escape. He then quickly realizes that he would rather not upset his new owner (18), and that he would much rather be safe in Zuckerman’s farm where there is food, than to be free (23). This is somewhat interesting; perhaps safety is more important than freedom… Although I would say that statement functions specifically for a child, in reference to their guardian.

The Sacrifice of the Parent

The final stage is at the end of the story, after the death of Charlotte. Wilbur is something of an adolescent now, and he becomes another symbolic parent for the book; a parent to Charlotte’s children. This is made explicit in a couple places. First is when he protects the egg sac (170), and the second when he re-lives Charlotte and Fern’s experience of letting their children go. “This is our moment for setting forth” (179), one of the baby spiders informs the distraught Wilbur. Luckily for the pig, three spiders stay behind and, able to fend for themselves (and therefore technically adults), they remain with Wilbur and become his friend. Wilbur is rewarded with an ideal Lockien parenthood, one of a parent’s friendship with their adult children (Locke 145).

 

The conclusion is quite unique. Usually a story ends with an allusion the beginning. Charlotte’s Web does something similar, but it goes a step beyond, giving Wilbur, as God gave Abraham, many nations. He not only re-lived the story of the book, but he also re-lived parenthood repeatedly across the short lifecycles of a spider, and became not just a parent, but a grandparent and a symbolic ancestor.


Works cited

Armstrong, Richard. “Oedipus as Evidence: The Theatrical Background to Freud’s Oedipus Complex”. PSYART: A Hyperlink Journal for the Psychological Study of the Arts, 1 Jan 1999, http://www.psyartjournal.com/article/show/armstrong-oedipus_as_evidence_the_theatrical_backg.

Locke, John. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. ed. Roger Woolhouse. London: Penguin, 1997.

Peterson, Jordan. “2017/03/11: Strengthen the Individual: Q & A Parts I & II.” YouTube, YouTube, 16 Mar. 2017, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UL-SdOhwek.

Peterson, Jordan. “2017 Personality 17: Biology and Traits: Agreeableness.” YouTube, YouTube, 29 Mar. 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1eHJ9DdoEA.

King James Holy Bible. King James Version, 2004, http://www.gpbc.ca/kjvbible.pdf.

White, E. B., Charlotte’s Web. Harper, 1980.

© Daniel Triumph 2018.

This is an essay I wrote for my Children’s Literature course. I’m far more proud of the connection of the unlikely ideas than the essay itself. Charlotte’s Web is a wonderful work of fiction.

Formatting is MLA, limited only by WordPress’s blog formatting.