More than just “Video Games”

Video Games” is a song by Lana Del Rey in her album “Born to Die.” In this song, Lana Del Rey writes about her experience in a relationship. She talks about what the reality of her relationship was in her verses, and in the chorus, she sings of what she wishes it was. Del Rey’s relationship with this person caused her to lose her career ambitions. It was a fun and laid back relationship, but she wanted more. Lana Del Rey explained that she was desperate for this person, even if the love was not returned. The meaning of the song is to reveal how love, even if non reciprocated, is powerful enough to make someone devoted to another. In her first verse, Lana Del Rey reflects over the reality of her laidback/fun relationship:

Whistlin’ my name
Open up a beer and you say, “Get over here”
And play a video game

The word “whistlin’” creates audible imagery and strengthens the fun aspect of her summer relationship. Additionally, the dialogue “Get over here” allows the listener to imagine their setting and their flirty relationship. Finally, “play a video game,” which is the title of the song, creates another vivid setting and ties together the meaning of the song because she allows her boyfriend to just play video games selflessly. She watches him play video games, and she loves him, though he does not think of her as seriously. Even though her love is not reciprocated, she would do anything for this person.
Additionally, Lana Del Rey uses a metaphor in the chorus of her song in the line:

Heaven is a place on Earth with you

The chorus of her song is meant to set a scene for what she desires in her relationship. With this person, “Heaven is a place on Earth.” Her “heaven” means that everything is perfect with this person in her life.
The concluding lines of the chorus are:

They say that the world was built for two
Only worth living if somebody
Is loving you
And baby, now, you do”

These lines end her chorus or her “perfect reality.” She includes the metaphor, “the world was built for two,” to reveal that her world won’t be whole without this person. She finds life meaningless if she does not have this person. The last line, “And baby, now, you do,” is what she ultimately hopes for in this relationship. She wants this person to love her back in order to make her world whole, though it will never happen.

Doors to Connections

When thinking back over the novel, I noticed the power of connection. Connection, in various different forms, influences every character and their actions. Throughout the novel, as the characters mature, it seems the connections grow more dense and complex with them. 

Travel:

The more literal form of connection in Exit West is the connection of countries through the doors. The big presence of migration in this book reveals the global complexity of connections in this novel. As Nadia and Saeed pass through more doors, entering new places, the narrator develops an increasing omnipotent tone, more complex with every door. Through this travel, the characters are able to connect to more cultures, environments, customs, and even job experiences. “We are all migrants through time.” (209). 

Love:

Possibly one of the most prevalent forms of connection that appeared in the novel was love. Without the drive of love in the novel, Saeed and Nadia would not have lived the adventure they did together. Their initial connection gave them the confidence to begin their travel. “She took his hand in hers and held them tight, and then, releasing them, and without a word, she stepped through.” (104). 

An addition of love for their futures inspired them to find a better life for themselves. Even if Saeed and Nadia’s love was not romantic in the end, their relationship and genuine care for another allowed them to develop their identities and find themselves. Through connections with others in different communities, both Saeed and Nadia were able to learn more about themselves. These encounters with others and Saeed and Nadia’s growth through them caused the two of them to drift apart. However, this space was for the best. Nadia was able to find her own love with the cook and Saeed with the preacher’s daughter. Multiple connections of love led the two to find what they most value in life. This love opened doors in their own lives for more connections and freedom in their own identities. 

Home:

The final main connection I noted was Nadia and Saeed’s connection to their home. Even with the various places they visited, they kept their connection to their home and they kept Saeed’s father in their minds. I believe when Nadia and Saeed both their home, fifty years into the future, the theme of connections is completed. Even after all these years apart from each other, Saeed and Nadia still connect. “It was familiar but also unfamiliar, and as she wandered about slowly, exploring, she was informed of the proximity of Saeed, and after standing motionless for a considerable moment she communicated with him, and they agreed to meet.” (229).

Are We All Socially Constructed?

A few weeks ago, my family had a movie night. We decided to watch the new Netflix movie, Social Dilemma. I had already been familiar with how addicting and damaging social media is, but many parts of the movie surprised me. I was scared to learn that everything we do is recorded in order to make social media more addicting to each individual. How long you look at every post or website is recorded, and then your feed is increasingly tailored towards your interests. In this movie, they also shared how much our personalities are influenced by what we view everyday on social media. I started to ponder how much every person I know is actually genuine. Or is everyone becoming more and more like a machine?
In our Wednesday class, when we started discussing existentialism, this movie popped into my head right away. More specifically, when we talked about each of our lives and the social expectations at each stage of our lives. It seemed that our class was pretty divided when certain questions like, “Is love real?” were introduced. Like my thoughts during the movie, I wondered, is the feeling of “love” real, or is it socially constructed and we only feel “love” because we are so pressured into feeling it? And is this “love” the meaning we all search for in life?

Are We All Fools?

A few weekends ago, my family had a movie night, and we decided to watch the thriller, “Primal Fear.” The movie follows a suspect in a murder trial. Everyone believes that this man is guilty, as he is seen running in blood from the crime scene. One lawyer who is taking a leave from his profession sees this chase on TV and immediately sees innocence in this man. The lawyer decides to come back to work to defend the suspect for free. 

Throughout the movie, we see memory loss and an overly apologetic tone in the suspect. Then the suspect, when angered, turns into another hostile personality. By the end of the trial, the lawyer is able to prove the suspect innocent because of his apparent multiple personality disorder. The lawyer believed that it was not the suspect’s fault and that this disorder does not define who he really is. However, after the trial successfully ended, the suspect turns to the lawyer and explains, “You are so stupid,” and “Did you really think I was that cute innocent boy?” This plot twist reminded me of the ending of “Good Country People.” 

Towards the end of Hulga’s date with the salesman, the true character of the salesman is revealed. When Hulga begs for her leg back, and the salesman refuses, we find that he was fooling her the entire time. He collects rare items such as that prosthetic leg or a woman’s glass eye. Once Hulga asks why he would do this because he is a Christian, the salesman exclaims, “I hope you don’t think,…that I believe in that crap!”(9). This exact line reminded me of “Primal Fear” because both the salesman and the suspect were able to play such innocent characters so well. The salesman, who once admired Hulga for everything about her and how brave she is, tells Hulga, “you ain’t so smart…”(9). I think it is significant to note that Hulga was the one who was proved a fool, though she has never been interested in anything ever. The one person who sees the “real” and the non sugar coated version of life, unlike her mother, is the one who is lied to. This twisted end makes you wonder: are we all fools?

“Escape From Spiderhead”

I think mutual recognition appears at the end of the story and does not really show up while Jeff is still in the Spiderhead. One section that really stood out to me is when Jeff refuses to agree to Rachel receiving Darkenfloxx. On page 75, Absenti asks, “Verlaine, what’s the name of that one? The one where I give him an order and he obeys it?” This reveals the authority binary in this dystopian future. This binary is kept until Jeff sacrifices himself. I believe this is when he experiences mutual recognition and individuality as Benjamin explains because on page 81, Jeff describes his encounter with birds, “I joined them, flew among them, they did not recognize me as something apart from them…” Jeff and the birds recognize each other as equals part of the same community yet being their own individuals.