Angela looking at something in the flaming stairs.

James got a letter. From a dead person. Oh dear.

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Sionnan
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Post by Sionnan »

Burning Man wrote:It looks like neither of you understood my point. I wasn't asking for justification as to why Angela is acting the way she is.

The debate is whether that room is a reflection of Angela's dark emotions, or if it only looks that way because we are seeing it through James' eyes. My point is that Angela never acknowledges her surroundings, so we don't know that Angela is seeing the same room that we are seeing.

The "abstract daddy" monster can be used to weaken your point as Kenji has demonstrated. We are looking at a monster, but Angela herself is calling it "daddy". This brings up the possibility that Angela and James may be seeing two different figures.

The same logic can be applied to the room itself i.e. the image of the pistons that you assume are from Angela's psyche may actually be a fabrication from James' mind. And, we know that James is capable of such.

In other words, just because we can agree that the pistons have sexual theme associated with them does not mean that Angela was sexually abused. That's a leap in reasoning.
Yes, but that disenfranchises Angela as a character. Why even include her in the story at all if they didn't have connotations to her mental state somehow? Why would Angela have to recognize her surroundings? James certainly never did- and we get the clear idea that when we encounter Angela in the labyrinth, the surroundings we see her in are the parts constructed by her mind.

Why? Because he sees and comments on the flames- she does recognize her surroundings, if not in the piston room. She says, "You see/feel it, too, hunh?" For all we know, Angela could have been seeing the monster, but upon seeing a room that looks like what was probably the room she killed her father in, combine that with the attack upon her, and Angela could just be regressing.

Why not? She's certainly damaged enough. Hell, after all, she calls James "mama", and doesn't stop until she touches him. Is she actually seeing her mother? Doubtful. I don't think the town altered James's image to her perception, either.

My point is that Angela's actual identification of people is less than stellar. Her calling the monster "daddy" doesn't mean she sees her father. She, after all, had no trouble recognizing James as himself until the end of the game. As we all know, Angela's mental state had rapidly decreased since then- but it doesn't mean she was literally seeing her mother in place of James.

Back to the original point- there's no discernible reason why James should suddenly be seeing what her world looks like when he's been traipsing in and out of her world in the labyrinth section for a while now.

As further proof, James would have had no knowledge of her father's death- why would there be papers littered throughout the hallway stating the details if they were constructions of James' mind about Angela? There's no reason that a single room in all of her labyrinth section would suddenly bear influence from James's perception when there's evidence that shows that all the other rooms related to her are only things she could have constructed.

Flames ("it's always been been like this," she said- not something James could have given her, then), papers- why not pistons in a flesh like wall?
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Post by RiceDaddy7 »

Whoa. What'd I miss?
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Post by The Adversary »

More importantly, what did Sionnan miss?
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Post by Sionnan »

Hahahah- point taken.

I thought we were debating how Angela's mindset is reflected around her when James approaches her, and some were saying the room could have been taking cues from James rather than Angela. While I think it was pretty much all Angela. That, and I gave proof to show how it reflected her mind rather than James's.

Buuut- I have a feeling I need to stick my foot in my mouth?
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Post by Burning Man »

Sionnan wrote:Why would Angela have to recognize her surroundings? James certainly never did- and we get the clear idea that when we encounter Angela in the labyrinth, the surroundings we see her in are the parts constructed by her mind.
Angela should recognize her surroundings because she is a supporting character. We are not playing the game through her. James doesn't have to acknowledge his surroundings as much because we are playing the game through him.
Why? Because he sees and comments on the flames- she does recognize her surroundings, if not in the piston room.
You need to ponder a bit here.

Angela says exactly:
"You see it too? For me, it's always like this."

Let's assume that Angela is talking about the flames as I'm sure 99.9% of our audience do. Then, according to her, Angela has always been seeing flames in her alternate world. And, since you're saying that the piston room is also a part of her alternate world, then we should be seeing flames there as well.

Well? Where is it?

The flames, which everyone seems to believe are that of Angela's mind, may actually be that of James.
Her calling the monster "daddy" doesn't mean she sees her father.
I'm not so sure about that. Even James sees the corpse around town as himself or someone dressed like himself. We can only go so far in applying the insanity factor to answer our questions every time.
As further proof, James would have had no knowledge of her father's death- why would there be papers littered throughout the hallway stating the details if they were constructions of James' mind about Angela?
Constructions and perceptions are two different things.

As for whether James knows about Angela's father's death or not... I wouldn't say for sure that James has absolutely no idea. Her first meeting with James happened in a graveyard where she announced that she was looking for her father and brother there. Coupled with that, she gave James her knife, which on inspection reveals that it has some questionable substance on it. So that in all may have given James enough foresight to see the manifested article.

I don't believe cross-overs into other worlds happen randomly. I think it happens when there's something to share between the two characters. For whatever reason, James is able to enter Angela's world because he shares something with it. This does not mean, however, that they must see exactly the same thing. Perceptions can be different, meaning that the world may share a common theme (in case of the piston room, something about 'sex'), but it does not have to share common appearances.
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Post by dr bones »

MMY wrote:>and for what reasons are the pistons there, doing what they're doing?
The common theory regarding the sexualization of the monsters is because of James' sexual repression. Why must this application be any different?
whenever you encounter her, the environments seem to be implied as far removed from James' own. for example, the room in the apartments where you find her with the knife. the door to the room is white and seems to lead into a room that shouldn't even exist by normal logic, seeing as it is added onto the map, and the normal door leading into that room is boarded up. when we walk in, we see what is probably a room from angela's house, and she is looking at her reflection in the mirror bla bla bla. this, to me, is a sign that what we are seeing in that room is separate from james' own otherworld. i can see obvious metaphors alluding to angela, but the room does not seem to be constructed around james' subconcious.

now, when we find her in the labyrinth, we once again are led into a bizarre room that appears to have some kind of heavy sexual reference (squishy, flesh colored walls and pistons rhythmically pumping in-and-out of circular orifices.... hmm.....), where we witness angela being 'menaced' in some vague way by something she is referring to as her 'father'. after james lays the cretin to waste, she reveals in the following dialog that her dad used to 'force' her to do.... well, something..... as well as physically abuse her.

okayokayokay... the point is, both these rooms, as well as the flaming stairs, all appear to center around angela and her own inner turmoil. that is why a room that contains angela, multiple themes of sexuality and a fucked up bed-frame mutant that angela percieves as her father, coupled with the fact that she vomits and sobs and reveals in the following dialog that he used to beat her and force her into something, seem to all come together and point towards violence and incest.

so far, the one piece of convincing evidence i have heard so far is when it was stated that the japanese script was written differently, and that the english script tacked on the implications. this is the third time i am nicely asking, does anyone have enough of the japanese script to validate this argument? i looked up and down and all over and couldn't even find a copy of it.
Last edited by dr bones on 17 Nov 2008, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Kenji »

The Japanese script is very easy to find. Just turn on the subtitles and switch the language option to Japanese, then play the game.

As for a direct translation, that's trickier...

The original info on the "Ideal Father" came from Burning Man, and I think he reads Japanese, right? So, I guess he's be a potential source for a translation. I'm honestly not sure how many members here read Japanese and, more importantly, how many are willing to go out of their way to get to this point in the game just for the sake of this thread.
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Post by dr bones »

^
i don't speak/read japanese.... i wish i could. the language option was brought up previously in this thread, many pages back. i was talking about a translation that we (as in us on this forum) can read.

one way or the other, incest is implied in the english script -- the word 'force' is key. what i am interested in is how different the japanese script is, and if the difference could enable such a major change in the perception of angela's story.
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Post by Sionnan »

And, since you're saying that the piston room is also a part of her alternate world, then we should be seeing flames there as well.

Well? Where is it?

The flames, which everyone seems to believe are that of Angela's mind, may actually be that of James
.

Again, this is disenfranchising Angela as a character. Why even have her in the game at all if we can't learn anything about her that we can't separate from James?

Another thing to think about is the fact that the further we go in the game, the deeper we get into people's delusions/constructions/what have you. The reason why we don't see Angela's constructions in the piston room is because we're not at the point where they've developed fully. They are developed fully by the time we meet her in the hotel.

I'm not so sure about that. Even James sees the corpse around town as himself or someone dressed like himself. We can only go so far in applying the insanity factor to answer our questions every time.

I'll concede that we can't say that Angela was necessarily insane to have seen her father when James was seeing the monster. After all, at this point James could only see a limited amount of her constructions. I think there's a certain amount of overlap and such going on when each of the characters encounters each other- but the overlap reduces a lot as James gets deeper in the Labyrinth, allowing only the other two's world to be shown.

As for whether James knows about Angela's father's death or not... I wouldn't say for sure that James has absolutely no idea. Her first meeting with James happened in a graveyard where she announced that she was looking for her father and brother there.

I'll concede the point that the newspaper fragment doesn't necessarily have to be a construct of Angela's mind. It could be something that the town provided, in the same way it provided the sirens. I'd argue, given how deep we are in the game, and how we're beginning to have hints of the other characters' otherworld overlapping on James's, that it's more likely that it's something provided by the town, but bears influence from Angela.

I don't believe cross-overs into other worlds happen randomly.

Neither do I. I think they follow a progression that dictates that crossovers happen more as the game goes on. I'll grant that the pistons may not be something manufactured solely from Angela's mind.

I'd say there has to be some rule regarding who sees what how- otherwise, it's incredibly confusing trying to piece out what means what to whom. So 1.) Either all the characters see what we the player sees, just interprets them differently; or 2.) everything is subjective to each character. If the latter is true, then there's no way that, even when we have corresponding testimony, that we'll actually ever have insight into the other character. In that case, why even have other characters? It's too much effort to throw them in there and then divest them of the ability to assert their personalities. It seems unlikely.

If we take the first rule, we have to modify it according to the overlap rule- characters will most likely be seeing the same thing, with some perceptual differences. Example: both James and Eddie see bodies that Eddie shot up in the cafeteria- James sees himself, and while it's possible that Eddie does too (meaning his sanity's frayed to the point where it doesn't freak him out that he just killed a small army of Jameses) or he sees something aside for James.

Let's apply the overlap rule to the first rule: that we're at a point in the game where there is an amount of overlap because the town lends significance to a certain place (the prison) for each of the characters for different reasons. However, each characters have cues from each of their minds, because at this point, neither of the characters has reached the end of the path. By the time we reach Eddie's freezer, and Angela's stairway, these worlds have no cues from James. James has not reached resolution, while the other two have. Each time we see these people, they are at the end of the rope- to my understanding, when we meet them, they are at the equivalent to where James beats the end boss. So this allow for no perceptual differences- James sees what they see. Earlier in the game, like in the cafeteria with Eddie, or the piston room with Angela, it is possible these rooms/world are taking different cues according to the town or character, or are seen differently by each character.

If we take the idea of perception and overlap in each of the problem areas with Angela, we can explain them to some degree. Graveyard scene: she's not actually looking for her father and brother in the graveyard because the town is supplying most of the constructions here; there is little perceptual difference because the neither of the character's mindsets are really influencing the world around them. Here, Angela is mostly sane, and if we understand her to have recently killed her father, there's no reason for her to be sane and looking for her father in a graveyard.

Piston room: here, we are in the middling stages of the labyrinth. Here, each character is beginning to understand themselves and their actions to a deeper degree, but they have not yet actually understood them or decided what to do fully. They can each add elements of their own mind to this place, but the town has influence by choosing how to manifest what. Here, Angela at reacts extremely negatively to James, despite him having saved her. Here we understand that Angela's division between her delusions and the rest of the world is fading.

Fiery stairwell: here Angela is around the bend, so to speak. She fully believes that James is her mother for a few seconds, before recovering. Here, her delusions/constructions manifest fully, the only overlap being stairs, but ones that do not belong in the hotel, and have taken on the appearance of her house. The flames that she feels are also felt by James. We have the least overlap- none from James, little from the town, making this a setting constructed almost solely by Angela. Her resolution is far stronger then James's, and she has made her decision on how to proceed. This manifests in how much of her perception affects James's- he sees what she sees.

That isn't to say that there are no perceptual or constructive overlaps in the beginning of the game- they just seem to be more generic, and don't borrow heavily from the mind of either character. Example- the mirror room with Angela. I really doubt that the Oroscos had a room with a full length mirror in it- I doubt the Sunderlands did either, or the people in the apartment. The relevance to the mirror is taken from a more generic source: reflection. In the beginning of the game, perception seems to be more fluid, given the differences in monsters. By the end, perception overlaps to the point where James can see how the others see things, but construction skews heavily to one character.
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Post by Kenji »

Sionnan wrote:Again, this is disenfranchising Angela as a character. Why even have her in the game at all if we can't learn anything about her that we can't separate from James?
Seriously?

Everything we learn about other people is interpreted through the way we see the world. There's nothing we know about other people that we can truly separate from our own beliefs and preconceived notions.
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Post by Sionnan »

Kenji wrote:
Sionnan wrote:Again, this is disenfranchising Angela as a character. Why even have her in the game at all if we can't learn anything about her that we can't separate from James?
Seriously?

Everything we learn about other people is interpreted through the way we see the world. There's nothing we know about other people that we can truly separate from our own beliefs and preconceived notions.
I'm not arguing that that's the case in real life- I know that as well as you do. It can't work in a game. Creators have to establish objective facts about characters in order to define them. If there's nothing about the character that can't be attributed to simply the perception of that character through another, then there's no way we can ever understand the character. Then there would be no point in presenting the character as ambiguously as Silent Hill 2 has.
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Post by Burning Man »

>Again, this is disenfranchising Angela as a character.

You're a bit too concerned about this 'disenfranchising'.

We're given hints to Angela through her actions, speech and so forth. The surrounding, I believe, is a hint toward Angela's past much like the abstract daddy is, but I don't believe that means she has to be seeing the same thing.

I don't believe Angela and Eddie were meant to be given as equal of a weight as James, so I'm not surprised that her story is not as deep as James'. They are supporting characters, and are game mechanics used to give more insight to James himself. All three of them came to Silent Hill for pretty much the same reason: they couldn't take the mental turmoil that haunted them, and they finally snapped. That's their common ground. Angela is used to gain more insight into James and his character.

This is important to me. Many people try to write a more tragic story for Angela but they are going out their way to do that. They interpret scenes in such a way so that it could be only interpreted one way: that one way being that Angela was raped.

Maybe she was or maybe she wasn't. At least with an interpretation that the piston room is James' perception, I don't rule out one or the other. The room may simply look like a room in her residence and she's just reliving a certain moment.

I believe that the piston room as we see it signifies that James' will to save Maria is not very pure. For whatever reason, when James enters Angela's room, that desire is triggered and manifested. And, Angela is able to take a hint, and rants at James for having ulterior motives.

>2.) everything is subjective to each character.

I would go with this, though I would like to say that the characters can get glimpses to each other's perceptions.

I have a very different interpretation about the fiery stairway, unfortunately, so debating that would be a bit difficult. I don't think the flames are there always for Angela because of what happened to her in the past. I think it's there because of James.
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Post by Droo »

I may be missing something: are you suggesting the flames are James'? Why does Angela say the "you see it too..." line then? Or am I misinterpreting what you're saying?
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Post by Burning Man »

>I may be missing something: are you suggesting the flames are James'? Why does Angela say the "you see it too..." line then?

I'm rather undecided on this as the statement does seem to imply that Angela is referring to the flames, but if I am understanding my guidebook correctly, the flames are a metaphor for James' inability and helplessness to save Angela. The guidebook even suggests that the flames may not be on Angela's side of the world.

At least, throughout the game, only James is ever given any cues to the fire at the hotel: the "Burning Man" painting and "Johnny, one hot guy." And, it's through James' eyes that we see the hotel in its burned down state after he visits Room 312 for his revelation.

So, if the flames are James' creation, we can figure out what it means, why it only appears with Angela in it, and where he got the cue from. If it's Angela's creation, the meaning behind the flames would become guess work. Educated guesses may be made, but Angela is never once associated with fire.

Please understand that I am not trying to tell anyone at this point that their interpretation is incorrect in believing that the flames are from Angela. I am simply stating my opinion on the matter based on what I said above.

But, if we consider the possibility that the flames are from James, then that potentially gives an answer as to why each alternate world still exist despite the demise of Angela and Eddie. The fact that the worlds don't just fade away suggests that James is part of the equation, and perhaps it means that he now holds ownership of that world.

This hopefully answers your question about Eddie as well, crucifix.

The "you see it, too" line is problematic, I admit, but I can suggest that Angela may be asking if James can see her point-of-view; if he understands her motive to end her life, that she's been reaching out, but that no-one would help her. The pain and the anguish; that it's always been like that for her. James has been quite direct regarding the subject of suicide, but it's at that point that his voice kind of trails off. Perhaps Angela understands what James is thinking at that moment, so she asks if he can finally see it, too.
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Post by Droo »

The problem with this interpretation is that James' journey is filled with water-related imagery, not fire. Fire is the direct opposite of his overall "element". It seems odd that there'd be this brief, intense shift from water to fire for this one sequence, only to return to water in the flooded hotel moments later.

Fire makes sense for Angela. She is, in many ways, the opposite of James. Male victim, driven to it out of being physically abused (I'm including sexual abuse under this umbrella) by her victim, and murdered through angry intent. James has a female victim, driven to it out of emotional abuse by the victim and emotional pain of seeing a loved one suffering, and murdered through pity.

If we're going to go with the idea of assigning elements to characters, I would say James is Water, Angela is Fire, Eddie is Ice (through the battle in the meat locker. I'm sure there is some further symbolic reasoning for this, I will try and come up with later), and Laura is Air (she sees nothing my an empty town).
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Dead as far as the mind goes
Fear that comes from my head
Lives in the mirror"
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Post by Burning Man »

>The problem with this interpretation is that James' journey is filled with water-related imagery, not fire.

I know. The fire only applies to James where Angela is concerned, but you also have to consider that James' world is also filled with rust and decay.

You're also missing the fact that there are no flames when James meets up with Angela in the piston room. Logically, the flames should be there, but it isn't. You still haven't explained this part. You may be tempted to say that James hasn't reached the level to see the flames yet, but that would just prove my point: that worlds look different depending on perception.

Anyway, I offer everyone to look at this image:

http://z-o-g.org/gallery2/silenthill/sh ... 5.jpg.html

The thing that Angela sees in the flaming stairs is definitely not "figure on top" removed. If anything, it's "figure under" that's removed.

You have a problem on your hands. I know most people believe that Angela is the figure under, but the one with the "bloody vagina" is the figure on top.
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Post by Sionnan »

It doesn't have to do with how much James was sure in his projections/knowledge of the truth/whatever in order to see the flames. It's Angela that is finally sure.

James didn't see them because Angela wasn't sure enough in her knowledge to project her constructions to the point where James was seeing them. When we meet her in the piston room, both James and Angela are contributing to the construction of the room. There's no flames in the piston room, because Angela isn't sure of everything yet.

When we meet her on the stairs, it's all Angela. Why? Because she has reached resolution, and James hasn't. There is no differing perspective- James sees what she does.

"Abstract daddy" probably took the form of the doorman for James, because it's the figure most directly linked to oppression by one person to another. The female figure is slung across the male figure's back- the male figure is carrying it like a burden. The figure probably looks different to Angela, depending on the dynamics between herself and her father.

After looking at the stairs scene again, I noticed that it looks like the face of the figure on the wall belongs to a man, not a woman. You can see it most clearly when she's telling James, "Or maybe, you thought you could save me."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvnoMPode6E

We've thought that Angela sees herself as a victim- but what if she now sees herself as the aggressor, and her father as the victim? That, even while her killing of him was out of defense, she still thinks she shouldn't have killed him. That, while he was wrong, she was wronger.

She's accepted that- it may not be right, but she doesn't feel as if she has any recourse. We see the flames on the stairs because she's the one who's finally secure in her knowledge and what she needs to do.
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Post by The Follower »

We've thought that Angela sees herself as a victim- but what if she now sees herself as the aggressor, and her father as the victim? That, even while her killing of him was out of defense, she still thinks she shouldn't have killed him. That, while he was wrong, she was wronger.

She's accepted that- it may not be right, but she doesn't feel as if she has any recourse. We see the flames on the stairs because she's the one who's finally secure in her knowledge and what she needs to do.
Or what she thinks she needs to do.

I think she's always felt like this. After all, this particular story of Silent Hill deals with the guilt inside of one's heart. James, Angela, and Eddie are all given a chance to embrace the gulit and wallow in self misery, or forgive themselves for their percieved sins and continue in life. By the end of the story, Angela has fallen so far into guilt and shame over her father's murder that she doesn't view it as a form of self-defense. In her mind, her only route is to commit suicide, since she feels she deserves it. Eddie follows the same path, he probably believes he's beyond redemption so he embraces his homicidal nature.

If you take "Leave" as the canon ending, then James is the only person who accepts his past actions, forgives himself, and moves on with his life.
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Post by Burning Man »

>It's Angela that is finally sure.

I explained a few posts back why I'm not so sure about this.

>There's no flames in the piston room, because Angela isn't sure of everything yet.

Then, Angela should not have said that "it's always like this" for her in the burning stairway. The two statements work together. If she's talking about the flames when she says, "You see it, too?", it also has to mean that flames have always been around her and that she was always aware of its existence. It's possible to say that she didn't know the meaning of the flames because she wasn't sure of everything, but her statement means that flames have always been there for her to see.

If we are to agree that the flames are Angela's, then Droo's suggestion makes sense.
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Post by Sionnan »

Huinh? I didn't mean to imply that the flames weren't always there for Angela. They are.

Her understanding of her deeds doesn't impact when she sees what- it impacts when James can see what she sees. The more resolute she is about what she did, the more she understands her actions and the course of action she thinks she needs to take, and therefore the more her mind affects the construction of the world.

When we find her on the stairs, she is no longer running and frightened. She is resigned and weary. She understands her actions and what they meant for her and her family, and what she thinks she should do. We find more tokens of her beliefs the more she understands herself through her own eyes. Her manner is certain on the stairs. The world around her is manifest of what she beliefs of herself and her actions.
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