Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Reveries part II

Reveries of a bachelor is a day dream, a man imaging his life in different situations of enjoying or not enjoying a wife. Almost taking us through a pros and cons of why he is not married, or how it would feel to be married. In a way I see him taking on three different avatars throughout the reverie, living in three different realities.

In the first, he takes on the avatar of himself, but himself in a married life with a wife that he does not like. He makes many complaints about her, she reads too much, she doesn't cook well, she does not wait up for him at work, she does not like him. All these relate to one big theme of she doesn't like him more than she likes all these other things and he wants her full devotion. This avatar he does not enjoy particularly  but it gives him the opportunity to imagine this reality and see how different it is from his natural state.

His next avatar he takes on himself as well, but with a companion that he loves, and that loves him. He sees his wife as loving him and only him, completely attentive to him and he is happy for the company. He remarks that it would be nice to have someone to sit beside the fire with and to talk to about his work and his day. He enjoys this avatar immensely, imagining her there at his death caressing his forehead as he dies, and just enjoying not being alone. This avatar allows him to see himself in a scenario where he would enjoy marriage.

His next avatar he again takes on marriage, and he loves his wife, but his whole family is dying! its awful, first his daughter, and then his son and eventually his beloved wife. He is so distraught losing everything he loves in that that moment and being alone again watching his wife die. However since it just an avatar, a daydream, he is able to wake from it and be sitting next to his fire, petting his dog.

I think it is interesting how once again you must return to reality after all, you cannot stay in that dream world. He was able to experience and live through all those different realities but in the end he is going to stay a bachelor living alone in his big house, because that is his reality and that is what he enjoys. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Yesterday I read reveries of a bachelor, it was very interesting, a man sitting in front of his fire contemplating marriage pros and cons. I think it was very interesting the way the man divided the three sections, smoke, fire and ash. I kind of saw the three parts as very separate, but linked all together in how someone might describe the different feelings, or stages of love.

Smoke was first, and it was the man talking about all the horrors of marriage, the annoying kids, the nagging, the fact that his wife probably doesn't even like him and does not want him to come home. He describes her, "Peggy is rich enough, well enough, mild enough, only she doesn't care a fig for you." He also talks of how terrible the food is, "No matter for cold coffee; you should have been none before. What sad, think poorly cooked chops!" it almost seems comical the way he must act that everything is fine but he hates every minute of it. I would call this stage of love, doubt or fear. Fear of rejection, fear that thing won't work out the way you want them too, and doubt that anything could really be as good as people really say it can. Almost denial in a way, the refusal to look at it from a different perspective.

Next came fire, and this is right in the heat of love. There is a honeymoon phase, desire and only good things related to the significant other. He talks of her, "Her face would make a halo. . .Her smile would illumine the blackest of crowding cares." He loves her so much and she him, that he loves the kids. "Those children, rosy, fair-haired; no, they do not disturb you with their prattle now; they are yours!" He loves her cooking, she helps him with work and waits for him to be home and they couldn't be happier. It shows all the good things about love, they way ones heart can leap and hope and see only good in the world because of how they feel about someone else.

Ash is the pain one feels once one has loved and lost. To love someone is great, the relationship is magical but once you have something like that it also means you can lose it. In this section the man loses his daughter and his son and finally his sweet wife that he loves so much. He talks to his daughter, Bessy, "'Dear Bessy' - and your tones tremble. . .can you pluck her back? Can endearments stay her?" At this point he is desperate to do anything to get her back and that feeling of love. With them he even states that he had the whole world, "Keep your money, old misers, and your palaces, old prices,- the world is mine!" Once he loses all of them however he is so sad and living in so much pain and there seems to be nothing left. The fear or loving, the fact that one can lose it. 

The familar

I think it is interesting that throughout life there have been stories that have transcended time, and despite the changing of characters, some slight changes to plot there remains an outline for some stories. Such as the guy and the girl getting together after the he rescues her from some fate, there are a million ways to tell this story, and once you hear a rendition you are able to guess where the rest of the story is going. Another platform for a story is the one where somebody new has some gift or is special in some way, and they are the ones that save a town, a country or a civilization. They are all the same and yet all so different.

When I watched Avatar it was exciting because it was supposed to be this new world, this groundbreaking work where everything was new. Yet as I sit here and watch it the parts of the plot are easy to pick out and the story goes the way you are pretty much expecting it too, there are no surprises, except that for once an indigenous tribe wins their fight for freedom. Jake Sully, in the form of his avatar comes to these indigenous people. Right away he is picked out by their deity and for reasons they don't understand and he definitely doesn't, they cannot kill him.

So he is taken under their wing and learns their ways and in the end he ends up being their savior. He is the one that is able to bring all the other tribes together and create a war strategy that gives the indigenous people an advantage. This 'savior' character has been seen before, and it wasn't hard to see that even though Jake is not one of their kind and does not even hold the same body that he can save them. It is also clear from the beginning when he ends up with the 'princess' of these people, she is the one who teaches him, she is at his side the whole time and ultimately it becomes clear that they will end up together.

I just find it fascinating that even though this movie is groundbreaking and it introduces this new planet and takes the meaning of Avatar to a new level it is a story that we have seen many times before. It is interesting that even though we have seen it before we still find emotional attachment to the story and find it easier to follow since we know how the story goes. 


Game is a really hard word to define, most people have an idea of what a game is, and many different examples come to mind. However if they had to explain a game to someone who had no prior knowledge or preconceptions about a game it would become a little more difficult. For the most part however games seem to have rules, a narrative or story-line of some sort and players that are working towards a certain goal. When I think of games I usually think of games that I played as a child, mostly make believe, with intricate plot lines about one thing or another.

While reading the story telling animal it was so interesting to see the connection between our need for stories, and narratives aligned with games.  As a kid imaginations run rampant and create all sorts of stories within games, save the princess, playing house, wars against boys and girls. As adults this outlet is exercised as well in the form of video games, and things like dungeons and dragons and Live Action Role Playing (Larping).

I believe that a child's work is play, it is something they need to do to learn their way around the world, and to have the honor of being a kid. I think it is interesting the story telling element, and how important that can be to their play. And even more interesting that humans display this as well, when we play we love telling each stories, and sharing gossip as well as creating our own game of make believe. Video games I think have been so successful because of their narrative. The story draws people in making them forget everything else becoming completely immersed.

I see immersion in my everyday life, the way when I do sports I get caught up in the game and forget what is going on around me. How I can become lost in a game while babysitting, or working with kids. or how when reading a book I become completely lost and will not be able to function until the book is over. If only adults could have play as work as well.

This week I started playing a video game, Harry Potter actually, the beginning of the 7th book. I know how this story goes since I have grown up with the books and have watched all the movies. But now I am taking the adventure as being part of the adventure, playing the game and getting to be the characters and battle their battles. It will be the same story but a whole new adventure. 


Avatar is a new word in today's society, new to me in many ways because I have not participated in many video games, or time online. However Avatar as I have learned recently can have many different meanings, it can have a religious context, the form of a God coming to earth, or really take on any representation of oneself. Such as the picture I have posted on this blog that represents me in some way, that is an avatar. Avatars are interesting, they give one a way to get away from ones self and create any image that they want to display, however some might say that an avatar could also be one's true self.

Watching the movie Avatar I think it is easier to see this dichotomy between a real world, or ones reality, and then the possibility of another reality. Jake Sully gets the chance in one reality to walk, run, and learn about these indigenous people, and their forest and way of life. However in another reality he cannot walk and is wheel chair bound, and is working to not have the indigenous people murdered for the acquirement of some new element.

The fact that Jake ends up becoming a 'hero' or 'savior' for these people and ultimately ends up becoming his avatar in the end and staying on this new world speak to the idea of an avatar being better than his other reality. The world of pandora itself is amazing, beautiful and full of colors and different sounds, while earth as Jake claims has killed its mother. I think it offers little help for true reality, claiming that that reality is only killing and destroying what is in its path while the indigenous people are bringing life and the option for a new start. There is also the idea that this world is better since the people are displayed stronger, fitter, and Jake is able to walk in this world, the other reality in comparison is very weak.

I think this can relate to many people in society today, sometimes it is easier, better, to be someone else when life can be a struggle. It is easier to go online become somebody that is respected and liked, while forgetting about another reality that is so much harder or worse. I can see how people become lost in video games where they can be a hero, or a heroine and not worry about the trivial things in some other reality. Avatars give us the chance to experience something new and usually give us the chance to do something we wouldn't normally be able to do.