Post by chexfan2000 on Oct 27, 2006 22:36:18 GMT -5
I haven't been on here in approximately forever, but anyways:
Wow, there was so much symbolism in The End. I just thought I'd point out the obvious so we could talk about it:
The apple tree represents the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil from Genesis. There's information under it about volunteers (good) and the schism (evil). Ishmael either represents God or religious leaders/parents, preventing his "children" from learning the truth to keep them "pure." Ink represents "Satan." Remember, his name is a misnomer, and he is not evil, though he is portrayed as such by Ishmael (religion). When the children are dying, Ink is the one to save them by offering Violet the apple, like Satan offered Eve the fruit. It saves their lives.
What Handler appears to be implying is that the "evil" that religious folk shelter their young 'uns from is not always bad. Going even further, he is saying that God was the villian in the story of the Garden of Eden, and Satan was the hero.
Quite subversive and daring, really, although His Dark Materials quite possibly "paved the way" for children's authors to state their minds in their books. Of course, it's quite likely that nobody will catch the symbolism and several Christians will actually pull CHRISTIAN symbolism out of it somehow. (I am a Christian, but I don't try to find my faith where it isn't.)
(Also, I'm not condemning. In fact, I'm applauding Daniel's openness about his beliefs, even at the cost of possibly causing an almost Harry Potter scale uproar! )
Hear the passing bell, Death and doom are yours In the venomed jaws Of the gates of hell! -The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily
I totally did not get that whole 'The Baudelaires will be tempted by sin' thing. Was that supposed to be the eating of the apple from The Incredibly Deadly Viper, that just SAVED their lives, or was it the whole 'lets gang up on Ishmael and kill him then take over the island' thing the Baudelaires are offered with? I liked the religious linking, but it was difficult to say whose side Lemony supported in the 'original sin' deal, or whether he had a side at all.
Going even further, he is saying that God was the villian in the story of the Garden of Eden, and Satan was the hero.
Very Paradise Lost by Milton.
I'm quite pissed off that The Times seem to have completely ignored The End. This week The End is the top of the Bestseller list and the Indie bookshop list and yet it isn't impoertant enough to review because it isn't sodding Harry Potter or Philip Pullman.
I mention this in the symbolism thread because they are great at pointing out obvious yet deep symbolism.
Post by thedoctororwell on Oct 28, 2006 6:58:04 GMT -5
Well, there sure was a lot of symbolism in The End. Even if the point of this book is not to give any morality, I think that the main meanings of this symbolisms are as follow :
1) If God really exists as he is described in the three monotheist religions, duh, he really is a CREEPY dude. 2) "Evil" and "Good" are comparative terms, and, yeah, you can be an angel inside and do horrible things. 3) Man is basically able of evil : it's inside him, so there's no use trying to hide it using stupid experimentations like religion or Ishmael's community. You have to accept it. 4) the book is an utopic representation which denounces utopia in itself : every new "ideal society" is bound to fail at one moment or another. It's better and more effective trying to improve the original society in which you live in. 5) Life is unfair, and that's it's beautiful : there's no inegality on Ishmael's island, but, dude, living in it is BORING. Life is a struggle against unfairness, and all the fun comes from that. If you cut off evil, you won't be satisfied because your life will be calm and harmless, but uninteresting. 6) The basements of every society are extremely fragile, but there are really less fragile if all the individuals participate to the decisions rather than if one single individual trying to direct them. 7) Religions in general are a good excuse to manipulate people. 8) Therefore, the myth of Eden is not a realistic vision. Without knowledge, without a bit of unfairness wich rocks your boat, you're likely to become a neurasthenic or stupid guy.
That's my interpretation. If you're interested by Handler's work on sociology, go read "The Lord of the Flies" by William Golding, wich seems to be the main inspiration of the book. Try also "Utopia" by Thomas More, "Friday or the wild life" by LeClézio, or "W or the chilhood's memory" by Pérec. All of them try to represent an utopia, and critizice this project, and all of them take place on an isolated island. Even if it's not really a work on sociology (rather on the human comportment), "Battle Royale" by Takami is also extremely interesting, and takes place on an isolated island too.
Longtemps, toujours, ma main dans ta crinière lourde sèmera la perle, le rubis, le saphir, afin qu'à mon désir tu ne sois jamais sourde ! N'est-tu pas l'oasis où je rêve, et la gourde d'où je hûme à longs traits le vin du souvenir ? BAUDELAIRE, "La chevelure" from "Les fleurs du Mal."
Post by thistledown on Oct 28, 2006 10:34:42 GMT -5
Handler is really quite deep. I agree with most of what you said, thedoctororwell. And I enjoyed some of those books you mentioned as well. (Although I've never read anything of LeClézio...must find those books...)
Another book that greatly encompasses Handler's work is A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. It tells of a utopian world gone completely wrong. For example, the 'malchicks' (teenagers) run the crime world and commit all sorts of terrible acts against the public. It is a dark futuristic world.
Post by RockSunner on Oct 28, 2006 13:06:40 GMT -5
Yes, the book plays with symbolism out of the Genesis story, but I wouldn't allegorize it that much, or draw the same dark conclusions from it as "Lord of the Flies." Ishmael was a power-hungry leader. not an allegory of God. And the Baudelaires managed all right on the island when it was just them and the baby. In Handler's world, there are some people who are "noble enough" to do good.
I think that Ishmael symbolised God in some wicked way, like Ink symbolised the Snake. There were some moments when Ishmael really acted like the Christian God - you know, all these "I don't force you" and parental stuff.
Forgive me mistakes - English is not my first language.
I think that Ishmael symbolised God in some wicked way, like Ink symbolised the Snake
I don't even think Ishmael was a wicked or unfair representation of God as depicted in the Bible. In the Old Testament God is a mean dude. He chucks people out of gardens, curses people, splits the land and don't get me started on Job.
Post by Dr Montmorency on Nov 8, 2006 16:59:53 GMT -5
Silly Rabbi, Trix are for kids.
I think Handler tried to blur the distinctions between two reversed beings, the image of evil (Satan) and the image of good (god). Playing with moral ambiguity, he showed that god, in addition to being benevolent, may be capable of evil, or possibly as always been so, and vice versa for Satan.
Maybe he was also saying that good and evil don't exist as absolutes in any world. Olaf is capable of saving Kit's child, the Baudelaires are capable of arson and capable of contemplating murder and Ishmael's belief he knows what is best is patronising, dangerous and stupid.
We use good and evil to disassociate ourselves from people who do things we cannot begin to comprehend such as terrorists, murderers and paedophiles. We can say "they are evil" and reassure ourselves we don't have that in us but everyone has the potential to do evil or good and it is up to the individual how they choose to conduct themselves in the world.
Post by Jacques the Environmentalist on Nov 23, 2006 22:57:11 GMT -5
Ishmael was a power-hungry leader.
God is a power hungry leader and biblically he is not particularly portrayed as a benevolent God so much as a vengeful God.
Do you have any idea what you're talking about?
I agree more with the moral blurring thing than the "HANDLER SUPPORTS SATAN!" thing. And good and evil do exist but they are not always clear cut. And people do use the word evil to demonize others for their own purposes. *shrug*
Oh boy. I went to Catholic School and Church every Sunday for sixteen years.
Also if you had had the courtesy to read my above post you would know that I had never written "Handler supports Satan". Just because someone does not share your view of the world doesn't automatically make them less knowledgeable than you claim to be.
I don't believe in Satan (any more) so I was definitely not advocating the burning of ASoUE on a bonfire or calling Handler evil. Also Milton was a clergy man and he wrote Paradise Lost which can be read as making Satan the hero who dares to challenge God.
I was pointing out that if we held God to the same standards Christians are supposed to hold themselves to then we would probably judge him as morally reprehensible sometimes.