A Cruel Angel’s Thesis

Yoko Takahashi’s, “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis” is one of the most well known songs in Japan and is the theme song of the popular 1995 television series called “Neon Genesis Evangelion”. Evangelion is about a 14 year old boy named Shinji Ikari who is recruited by his father to pilot a giant robot in order to combat the violent angels that are trying to take out humanity. This whole song is about the main character, Shinji and his issues with his self-worth. The creator of this series, Hideaki Anno, commissioned the artist so that the theme song could fit the philosophical themes of Evangelion.

Young boy, like a cruel angel,
Live up to be a legend…

One of the most interesting parts of this song is the way it uses oxymorons. It describes angels as “cruel” even though they are perceived as higher beings that exercise knowledge and love in our society today. This description of the angels shows how the people in the show think about the angels, because they constantly destroy and kill. The legend part refers to the battle that Shinji is fighting against the angels, if he defeats them, he will become a legend, and throughout this show, he enjoys this praise since he has abandonment issues.

Too involved in yearning for
Something to hold on
The innocent eyes still know nothing of fate yet.

This part talks about the innocence Shinji still has, foreshadowing the misery that it is fated to come later on in the show and in his life.

A cruel angel’s thesis
Will someday fly high from the window
If memories are betrayed by
The overflowing, burning pathos (emotions).
Holding the sky in your arms,
Young boy, shine like a legend.

This is the chorus of the song, and it serves as a way to encourage Shinji that even in the darkest times of his life, he is destined for greatness. No matter how miserable your memories may be of your past, you still have a chance to prove yourself to others as worthy. The word “Legend” is also repeated again in a maternal like tone, reassuring that although Shinji feels unworthy, he is still worthy of praise and will become known as a hero.

If there is any meaning
In the fate that pulled us together,
Then I am, yes, the Bible
That teaches you of freedom.

Here fate is mentioned once again, and is mentioned with religious references. Shinji is shown to be in the lowest part of his life mentally during the time in which he is recruited to pilot and figth against the angels. However, there is something that keeps him strong when he is at his lowest, and that being his mother. Fate brought him there and his mother will always be there in his mind in order to guide him to be free of the mental challenges he faces and his issues with self worth. No matter what and no matter how terrible he feels, he is encouraged by this maternal voice that will guide him to self-love.

This show is truly great and deals with Freudianism and reminds me a lot of The Stranger and the topics we have discussed in the past weeks. I wish I could re-watch this amazing show again for the first time.

The World’s Door

Across the world, many people may feel stuck in their lives and unhappy, whether it be someone in an abusive household, someone living in a dangerous country struck by war, or even someone with everything they could want that feels trapped. However, the “Doors” that Hamid mentions throughout the novel represent an opportunity for these people to changes their lives. Much like the case in which Saeed and Nadia got to go through the door, which was immigrating, and they found new opportunity in new land. Virtually anyone can use these doors, only if they are ready for this change. Hamid not only shows this one example of the positive use of these doors, but uses multiple examples of people that could have gone through these doors for a better life, but chose not to.

“The woman who slept, slept alone. He who stood above her, stood alone. The bedroom door was shut. The window was open. He chose the window. He was through it in an instant, dropping silkily to the street below” (8)

On the surface, it may seem like this woman was living a stable life at the beginning of his description of her life. However, she felt stuck, both in the place she lived and in her relationship. Should she choose this door, she could possibly find a better life and start new, however it required for her to pursue this change, which many humans are afraid to do, so instead of grabbing the knob and opening a new possibility of change, she chose to turn away from this door, and live in what she knew as “Stability”. Life would remain dull for her forever, simply because she did not go through the door.

The Significance of the Weather in Regards to Existentialism

Throughout Albert Camus’ story “The Stranger”, Mersault often describes in great detail the weather and Camus goes into great descriptive imagery about the weather throughout the story. As soon as the story starts off, Mersault states, “I caught the two o’clock bus. It was very hot” (1). Often times throughout this story Mersault is effected by this “heat” which leads him to do bad things as the story progresses. Moments before Mersault killed the Arab, he goes into detail about the scorching heat and how it effected him and even compares the heat to be the same as the day when his mother passed. He states, “All I could feeel were the cymbals of sunlight crashing on my forehead..The scorching blade slashed at my eyelashes and stabbed at my stinging eyes…My whole being tensed and I squeezed my hand around the revolver” (59). He then shot and killed the Arab.

In regards to “The Stranger” and Extensionalism, I believe that although Mersault is constantly questioning his humanity and morals, he still has that humanity in him, he still can tell (maybe even through the weather changes and noticing the weather) what is right from wrong. Although his morals are skewed, we may be able to see his humanity in his extensive imagery.

Perspectives in “A Conversation About Bread”

The short story, “A Conversation about Bread” by Nafissa Thompson-Spires, starts off with an interesting story that was being told that seems to be interesting to most readers (including me). However, it is shown in the story that the person reading it, a man named Brian, has a different perspective and opinion on the story. He sees the story as “fetishization” and that he is treating the people in the story as “fragile-like”. The reason Brian thinks this is because of his own personal experiences, he is a disabled man, and his past ex-girlfriend treated him like he was “fragile” as well. Multiple times throughout the story he tells Eldwin that he is “acting just like her [his ex]” (180). However, Brian did not have the intention to have his story “fetishize” the race in any way. He states that, “Didn’t every story provide a narrow representation at best and fetishize someone at worst?” (183). His story never had the intent of doing that.

It is interesting to see how having different personal experiences in life can effect how someone interprets a story. I had found nothing wrong with what Eldwin wrote but as soon as I saw that Brian had a problem with it, I had felt it was wrong to like the story. This can apply to today, any story can seem okay to some, but to others with different experiences, it can feel way differently.

The Morality of Spiderhead

¨Escape From Spiderhead¨ by George Saunders goes into depth about morals and what is morally good or bad. Jeff, although he was a prisoner and was known to do bad things, is arguably a better person than the people in the story who are considered to be ¨good¨. Compared to people like albesti, who is considered to be ¨good¨ but in actuality strays away from basic human emotions and morals. Albesti does not think about the feelings and does not see the prisoners as ¨truly human¨ and disregards their feelings. Jeff on the other hand feels bad when he has to choose who to ¨darkenfloxx¨ because he still considers these people to be human. He states, ¨I just didn´t want to do it to anyone. Even if I did not like the person….¨(56). In this story, morals and morality are shown to be in a grey area when it comes to some people and clear to others considered ¨bad¨ in the story.