Amber

First, I want to explain the whole ‘stratus thoughts’ thing and what that means to me. I’ve been on tumblr since middle school, and it’s always been cool to have either a super edgy or simplistic user name. All the good simplistic ones were taken, so I went with edgy and came up with ‘stratusthoughts.’ However, I do believe that this phrase has something to do with my personality. I consider myself a writer, even though it’s been years since I’ve actually written something that I take pride in owning. When it comes to writing my thoughts down, I feel as if I can never get it just right. I never believe that what I’ve written is good enough or makes sense – I make up every excuse not to put it out into the world. It’s not that I think that my thoughts are bad. I believe I am a very thoughtful person that has quality ideas that could improve the world around me. However, it’s been a long time since any of those thoughts have been published. Therefore, most of my thoughts kind of float around in my head like clouds. Thus, the birth of stratus thoughts.

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CI Final Project: Axolotl Analysis

Julio Cortazar is a very popular South American author who has the theme of essentialism running through many of his short stories. Not only this, but he frequently comments on the boundary – or lack thereof – between humans and their environment. He does this by having the characters of his stories interact so intimately with animals or other objects that the line between them blurs indefinitely. His short story “Axolotl” is a prime example of all of these traits, and through the analysis of the narrator’s experience with the axolotls, I argue that Cortazar’s purpose for writing this story was to display that existence can’t be labeled simply.

In order for Cortazar to show that existence isn’t simple, he must first add layers of complexity. The first layer he adds is getting the reader to believe that in this world, and possibly their own world, being and consciousness belongs to all things. This is essential to the overall meaning of the story, in that “Cortazar thus retrieves the ancient idea of a fully sentient universe, where consciousness is not limited to man alone but is an essential attribute of the creation…” (Bennett 62) He first does this by having the author describe the axolotls. They’re described as humanlike, and the narrator is obsessed with that fact and the animals themselves. It’s almost as if he sees much of himself in the axolotls. He beings to research them more and learn everything he can about them. Once he has this knowledge and shares that with the reader, he relates them to humanity in a physical, emotional, and historical context. What stands out the most to the reader is how he describes their minds, as this is the most surprising and new aspect of the story for the reader. However, he introduces the idea of the axolotls being conscious slowly. He first starts by just describing them physically, then moves on to deeper and deeper detailed descriptions of their minds and thoughts. Through these observations and his descriptions of the axolotl’s behavior, it seems to the reader as if the axolotls are actually consciously making decisions inside the tank in which they live. This may sound impossible, “but the tale’s power derives from its recognition and subsequent obliteration of absolute distinctions.” (Bennett 58) The reader originally begins reading the story with a firm set of beliefs that he or she may believe to be true indefinitely, such as humans are conscious while everything else is not. However, one of the main goals of the story is to get the reader to second guess these beliefs so that Cortazar has a completely open mind to speak to. He seeks to destroy these firm beliefs in entirety and is actually quite successful. That is the first wall he must break down in order for the meaning of the story to be heard, and he even had a plan B in case the descriptions described above were not convincing enough. Just in case the reader didn’t necessarily believe that the axolotls were conscious beings, Cortazar takes it a step further so that “… consciousness seems clearly located in the axolotl, for the narrator speaks… from the tank, from among other axolotls.” (Wight 62) At this point, there is no denying that the axolotl has consciousness because the narrator has become one and is now narrating the story from the perspective of an axolotl, displaying being in something other than a human.

The second layer of complexity that Cortazar must add is the breaking of the barrier between humans and their surroundings. He first does this by creating a character that has the basic characteristics of a human, but is just slightly more complex. However, the fact that the narrator starts the story off as human is extremely important. However, from the very beginning of the story, the reader can sense that there’s something a bit off about the narrator. All that the audience knows about him is that he comes to this aquarium every single day to stare at these axolotls. The audience can hear his thoughts, as he addresses them directly, but he never really speaks out loud in the story. However, the narrator really only develops as the axolotls develop as well and “ironically, the greater the narrator’s preoccupation with the axolotls, the more he begins to resemble them, spending hours motionless by their tank.” (McNab 21) This is just the beginning of Cortazar trying to parallel the narrator and the axolotls, making them seem as one. As the story goes on, Cortazar uses this connection in order to blur the line between the narrator and the axolotls so much that they eventually merge together literally. This is essential to the meaning of the story in that Cortazar is trying to destroy this feeling of ‘otherness’ that humans often feel when interacting with something that isn’t another human. He is trying to get society to recognize and pay more attention to their surroundings by making the surroundings more important. He gives the surroundings, in this case the axolotls, an essence of being that yearns to be investigated by the narrator. “In other words, essence does not constitute epistemological truth; rather, only through acknowledging the existence of things can their true reality be known.” (Harris 9) This is ultimately one of the goals of this short story, for this ‘true reality’ to be known so that people can recognize their surroundings more accurately. However, what stops people from doing this is that same feeling of ‘otherness’ or separateness from the world. This is why it is so significant that the narrator becomes an axolotl – this instance completely defies the idea of the ‘other,’ and instead creates a feeling of togetherness or of being ‘one.’ He does this by showing “significant being is neither specifically ‘other’ nor restrictively human, but derives from the mutual consciousness formulated between the axolotl’s silent visual awareness and the human narrator’s capacity for language.” (Bennett 62) In this way, the axolotl and the narrator each have essential parts to being, and they work together to become one full conscious. Once the narrator recognized his environment to its full capacity, he was able to be reborn into that environment as something that was more fitting to his essence. Thus, this completes the idea that there really is no ‘other’ and that humans are one with their environment.

Finally, the third layer of complexity is what Cortazar intends for the reader to take away after finishing this story. By establishing that all beings have a sentient, conscious mind and then removing the barrier between humans and their environment, he has allowed for a deeper interpretation and study of societies surroundings. Cortazar is almost asking the reader to take a closer look to the things surrounding them and to treat them with care. The way the audience looks at the story is similar to the way that Cortazar wants us to look at the world. “The important considerations, then, are not what happens but the implications of the process and the result.” (Bennett 58) The result in the narrator’s case was getting so close with his surroundings that he became them. While this wouldn’t happen in real life, Cortazar is dramatizing what it would feel like to be that close and in touch with one’s outer surroundings. The possible implications of this are that people could have a better understanding of what goes on around them, leading to a more peaceful relationship with nature. For example, if all of society were to have a greater understanding of animals and what they feel or think – if they even do – it would most likely be more difficult for people to treat animals, such as house pets, with disrespect. If people start to think of animals and the ‘other’ as our equal, or even just similar to us, it could have numerous beneficial effects for the relationship of humanity and others. However, even if every single person were to read this story and this essay, the intended effect in this general positive direction would be minimal “for though axolotls think like humans, humans refuse to think like axolotls.” (Wight 63)

In my overall opinion, the short story “Axolotl” could be interpreted many different ways. There are many different interpretations already floating around and debates about what certain things in the story mean and where certain aspects came from. However, I believe this interpretation has some merit. While it’s never explicitly said, Cortazar definitely encourages a close relationship with humans and their environment as this is not only a theme in Axolotl but in many of his other short stories as well. The narrator seeks to understand the axolotl as intimately as one can know oneself. The only effects that could possibly come off of this is that the narrator has a greater understanding of the axolotls and thus would know how to treat and interact with them. If this were to be applied to all of society, perhaps global warming could be better understood, animals could stop going extinct, and the overall interaction between human and earth could be more pleasant. If only people would try to think like the axolotls.

Part Three: Personal Narrative

Amber Gateley

There was a time in my life when I thought very little of myself. I subjected myself to toxic relationships, abuse, and a river of tears. Now, that is not me.

At that point in time, my life was pain. I looked around, saw grey, and wondered how I could’ve ended up in such a sad place. The people in my life were lions – self-centered, arrogant, and prideful – and being around people of this caliber destroyed me. Watching my descent, he waited until I was almost completely withered away to approach.

We were friends. We had always been friends, but we went through seasons and had just been in a cold one. He saw that I was weak, vulnerable and jumped at the opportunity to save me. Dressed up as my hero, he offered to take me someplace where I’d be ‘safe,’ ‘happy.’ I went.

Our relationship got very intense very quickly. After two weeks I knew that this was my first, true love. I couldn’t believe that someone so full of goodness could find something of value in someone as dirty as myself. This became my drug, and I became obsessed. I felt like he completed me, as cliché as that is. I felt that I wouldn’t be the same without him. This feeling of need became so strong that I would go through anything to keep him by my side.

Two months after we started dating, he went on a trip to the Dominican Republic with his best friend’s family – including his best friend’s little sister, Alex. He left the day after Christmas and got back shortly after the new year. On New Year’s Eve, we got into a fight over text. This was nothing new, as we fought constantly and I was in the wrong – again, but something was different this time. Instead of beating me down with logic and put downs in order to win, he suggested that we take a break from fighting and let each other cool down and enjoy the rest of our celebratory nights separately. Being at dinner with my best friend who was slightly annoyed that I was glued to my phone the whole time, I happily agreed.

As the rest of the night went on, I was constantly checking my phone for an update on his status towards me. Every time my phone buzzed, I jumped at the possibility of reconciliation. It wasn’t until around eleven at night, one in the morning his time, that I got a text reading: ‘Can I FaceTime you?’ To me, this meant that he had something so important to tell me that he would’ve told me in person had he not been miles away. I immediately panicked, thinking, ‘Worst case scenario, he kissed Alex. But it’s never the worst case scenario, and he would never do that – he specifically told me that wouldn’t happen – so it can’t be that bad.’ I excused myself from the living room where I was sitting with my friend, and I called. He finally answered, face slightly red with an extremely worried look. Wasting no time, “I kissed Alex.”

Many people would think our relationship ended there, and originally it was going to. I still had about five days to process the situation before he got back to the states, and on the third day I decided that I was going to end it the second he got back. However, on the fourth day, it was like a storybook heartbreak. I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t eat, and all I did all day was sleep and cry. I had already grown so dependent that imagining a life without him was so painful that it hurt even more than when he told me that he had kissed another girl. I became willing to forgive him in order to still be with him, because it hurt too much to even think about being without him. And I mean, he told me – he didn’t keep it a secret like he very well could have – we were fighting and it was my fault. I made him upset so he drank and made himself vulnerable with her because he was upset with me. It probably wouldn’t have happened had he been sober and had I not caused that stupid fight. When he got back, we rebuilt our relationship just as quickly as we had before, only with slight hiccups here and there about “New Year’s.”

From then on, we had the perfect dynamic. I was even more insecure than before and he was still just as confident, if not more knowing now what he could get away with. I was always unsure and he knew exactly what to say. I always blamed myself and he was never wrong. His abuse fed perfectly into my insecurities. I was broken and he was willing to put up with it because ‘he really loved me for me.’ We lived like this for eight months – in perfect, lovely, destructive harmony, right?

At least that’s what I believed. Slowly but surely, it got worse. I wanted to see him all the time. I never grew tired of his stupid jokes, goofy smile, silly t-shirts, or condescending nature. In fact, I was drawn to everything about him and he knew exactly how I felt. He used this to his advantage, “I think we fight so much because you want us to spend so much time together.” I felt slapped. No no no, I’m sorry I’m so difficult to love – please don’t leave. Thus, deepening my dependence on him. When I did something he didn’t like, “You must not care about me at all. How could you be so sinister?” When I gave him reasons for my actions he didn’t like, “I don’t believe you. That’s not even a thing. Stop making excuses, and stupid ones at that.” When I told him I was feeling insecure, “That is ridiculous and you know it. Stop trying to manipulate me into doing what you want.” When I told him about an interaction with another boy, “I’m not comfortable with you guys talking anymore.” Any time he did something wrong, it was because I had triggered him to do so and he felt so bad and sorry that I had to forgive him. Any time he felt something negative, it was my fault and I did it on purpose because I didn’t care about him.

I spent the majority of our relationship trying to prove these things false, trying to be worthy enough for him, trying to be perfect and agreeable and someone that he could desire and be proud to call his love. This was the cycle until I started college in a different city. The change was almost immediate. His insecurities began to show their ugly heads. “Are you gonna leave me? Why can’t you come home this weekend? I mean for God’s sake you see him every day and he sounds way better than me, I don’t see why don’t you leave me for him. No don’t get mad, I was only joking.” The way he was acting pushed me even farther away. I was making new friends, meeting new people, growing and changing and getting to see what healthy relationships really looked like. And as the distance between us physically turned into distance between us emotionally, I grew strong enough to leave him.

Today, I am a very different girl. I am living free of the constant threat of chaos if I make one ‘wrong’ step, of having to answer to someone after every decision I make, of constantly feeling not good enough for anyone or anything. I began a new relationship in late September, which brings me immense joy while allowing me to be an individual. As a new person, I don’t have to work so hard to prove myself worthy anymore because I know that I am good enough for myself, which empowers me to seek the treatment I deserve and now receive in every area of my life. I have a new strength that brings a meaning to my existence that I never had before, and I have so many people, things, and myself to thank for that.

Annabelle Lee

I know this blog post is supposed to mainly be about 100 Years of Solitude, however The Postman and the poems of Pablo Neruda have so strongly peaked my interest that I must write about them primarily. Plus, they kind of go together, so it’s a bit easier. Personally, I am a big fan of international movies, movies about literature, movies that make you think, psychological movies, and romances (of course) so this movie was pretty much right up my alley hitting about three of those topics. I think one review from Common Sense Media captures the essence of the movie perfectly when it says, “IL POSTINO (The Postman) is one of those rare and passionate movies that make you want to rush out to a bookstore and lose yourself in endless shelves of printed pages.” I was so immersed in the words of Neruda, and not only the words but also the feelings behind them. When Neruda said in the movie, “I can’t explain using words other than the one’s I’ve written,” I could completely understand where he was coming from. Poetry isn’t about what the words mean, it’s about what they make you feel and the movie does a fantastic job of displaying this. Another review written by Peter Stack says, “Like love itself, some movies seem to wear hearts on their sleeves.” This is another beloved metaphor that Neruda talks about and it’s very a very accurate depiction of the movie as well. Like poetry, you can just feel the movie (okay I know I’m getting a bit cheesy and overzealous but this has me very excited). The language of the movie wasn’t particularly high or complex or intricate, it was simple but somehow had the power to make the audience feel so much more. This is one of the things I love about poetry precisely.

Okay enough blabbering about how much I liked the movie, but what this poetry and these metaphors stood for. For me, I felt like the metaphors and poems represented the emotions of the characters in the film. The metaphor of “Your smile spreads like a butterfly,” was almost like a little window into Mario’s heart and his feelings for Beatrice. I believe there’s a reason that she fell for him once he started saying those things to her, and that reason is she looked through that window and saw his love/passion/affection and couldn’t help but reciprocate. While this isn’t the case all the time, I’m glad it worked out for Mario and Beatrice.

Now on to some of Pablo Neruda’s actual work. Out of the poems we were given to read, my personal favorite was Barcarole. I’m a sucker for sad and/or creepy poems (one of my favorite poets being Poe), so this sad one about love really got my attention. It actually reminded me a bit of Annabelle Lee, a poem by Poe that if you haven’t read you should go read right now because it’s another one of my favorites. I think Neruda is using the sea (like in the movie) and the environment around the sea that he’s describing as a metaphor for love. And personally, I think it’s a pretty accurate one too. I know just being nineteen years old it’s hard to believe, but I’m pretty confident in the fact that I’ve been in love. And trust me, love is pain (especially when it’s wrong). It hurts. When Neruda writes, “And the heart sounds like a sour conch; Calls, oh sea, oh lament, oh molten panic,” I was struck with the feeling of love. The beginning of the poem he talks about the sea going in and out and I believe that’s like the process of falling in love, because something so serious and dangerous must be tested first. And then once you have it, it’s the most beautiful feeling that you can’t help but be petrified to lose it. I believe that’s more what this poem is representing, falling in love for the second or even third or fourth time. The reader can tell that Neruda has been in love before, as he seems kind of apprehensive about falling again. However, ultimately he gives in because he knows that love can be as beautiful as the sea, even if it’s terrifying at the same time.

Finally on to 100 Years of Solitude. In the novel, I really didn’t see a lot of ‘love’ that kind of had a tie in the poem and movie, but I guess I shouldn’t really expect it with the word ‘Solitude’ in the title of the novel. In class, we kind of discussed how this translated to loneliness. I get more of a feel of loneliness from the novel, especially at the beginning. I think this is symbolized through the characterization of the characters and the events that plague them (including an actual plague). When it comes to ‘love’ in the novel, I feel like it was always for selfish reasons or reasons that existed outside of the scope of the couple. For example, Rebecca and Crespi did not last long at all as soon as Jose Arcadio came back along. And yet, just a few chapters before Rebecca was madly in love with Crespi. To me, this gives off a tone of falseness and distrust that tends to separate people, making them lonely. The village they live in also seems extremely isolated from the rest of the world. This is shown from the new inventions the gypsies bring in. The gypsies symbolizing the world and worldly knowledge being brought to this tiny village that is self-sufficient. Overall, the feeling of loneliness is very well depicted in the novel and is felt throughout.

I really think the common theme in all three of these works is the metaphor: how one thing can stand for another. In the movie, it was poetry. In the poem, it was the sea. And in the book, it was a multitude of different things. Symbolism is a powerful tool that I believe helps make the meaning more powerful for those that are willing to notice it.

WORKS CITED

Mignola, Scott G. “Il Postino: The Postman – Movie Review.” Il Postino: The Postman Movie Review. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.

Critic, PETER STACK Chronicle Staff. “`Postman’ Delivers Poetic Love Letters / Heartbreaking Melodrama from Italy.” SFGate. N.p., 23 June 1995. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.

Women and Drugs and Terrorism.. Oh My!

One thing that I found particularly interesting about the article on the Guardian, written by Gary Nunn, was that even the greek and latin roots that make up the english words we use today point to the idea that women are crazy. This idea has been present in human society for centuries, and is just now beginning to change. It is movies like Women on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown and novels like The House of the Spirits that are inspiring this change. I actually really enjoyed this movie and agree with movie critic Vincent Canby of the New York Times when he says Almodovar was out to charm and not to shock. I was under the spell of the movie, the goofy twists and turns, the harsh reality, the overreactions, but most of all the way he portrayed the typical ‘hysterical woman.’ In the movie, it’s fairly clear that yes, okay the woman is doing some crazy things. She even admits to this when talking to Carlos saying, “You must think I’m crazy.” However, we, as the audience, get to see what is really causing the crazy. There’s an image of this woman, who has important news to tell her now ex-lover, desperately trying to get into contact with him. He calls her, knowing she wont answer, and leaves a message basically putting all the blame on her for not being home when she’s at work. Being a woman who was once in an abusive relationship, this SUCKS. It’s a way for the abuser to control the victim and remove blame from themselves. I picked up on this right away, as I no longer fall for that deception. However, the woman did also. This shift of blame for the madness of the woman from the woman and onto the man is a very unique idea, present both in this movie and in The House of the Spirits. In THOTS, we see actually very many sane women, and a hysterical man who is the one who triggers all the drama inside the family and household. Ideas and dynamics like these represented in film and literature are what is shaping the idea that hey.. maybe women aren’t actually crazy and there’s a method to the madness.

Now I’m not saying all women are 100% sane (because God knows I’m nowhere near that), and that men are always the cause of the crazy. However, I feel like the general trend between the two – women’s craziness and men’s involvement – leans positively, as is shown through the books we have read so far and the movies we have seen.

Works Cited

Almodóvar, Pedro. “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Mujeres Al Borde De Un Ataque De Nervios).”  (1988). Rotten Tomatoes, 2005. Web. 22 Sept. 2016.

Canby, Vincent. “Review/Film Festival; Concentric Eccentricities in Almodovar Tale.” New York Times. NYTimes, 23 Sept. 1988. Web. 22 Sept. 2016.

Nunn, Gary. “The Feminisation of Madness Is Crazy | Mind Your Language.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 08 Feb. 2012. Web. 22 Sept. 2016.

Excuse Me

Volver was not only meaningful but it was also comical and that’s something that I find very hard to do, so I always am able to appreciate it when an author or director can make these two things come together as though they were never apart. While The House of the Spirits is comical in some parts, it’s nowhere near the extent of Volver. I believe that Diesen said it best when he said, “On the other hand, it is relieving to watch a film so filled with funny observations about things we normally consider too horrible to laugh at.” Ultimately, that’s whats so charming about this movie. However, this isn’t the only thing. It’s pretty hard to ignore the very strong female cast. Penelope Cruz is not only beautiful in every scene – even when she’s cleaning up her husbands blood – she manages to clean up the mess of a corpse, cook for 30 people multiple times, and burry a fridge with the help of only other women. Joe Lozito from Big Picture Big Sound agrees when he says, “Ms. Cruz is able to let loose like we’ve never seen before. She’s positively radiant as Raimunda and she takes control of the screen and the role,” and I think that is why she was chosen for the role. This identity of the strong woman is also seen – many times – in our novel, The House of the Spirits. Whether you talk about Clara, Blanca, Transito, Amanda, Rosa, Nivea, or even the newest character Alba, there are strong characteristics about all of them. Even in death Clara took charge of her fate and died with dignity. Little Alba, just a child, confronts her grandfather about the idea of the tenants getting part of the land that they worked. I think that the theme of the strong women is present in Latin American culture because they typically are very strong women that have had to overcome many injustices. While injustice is present in every race, culture, country for every type of person, I still believe there’s a certain type that affects hispanic women that makes them as strong and (excuse me) bad ASS as they are today.

WORKS CITED

Diesen, Trude. “Volver.” Volver. N.p., 02 Aug. 2006. Web. 09 Sept. 2016.

Lozito Javascript:decode_stars(‘****’);, Joe. “Volver Movie Review.” BigPictureBigSound. N.p., 26 Oct. 2006. Web. 09 Sept. 2016.

The “C” Word

Overall, I have very much enjoyed this novel. It has been the first novel I have actually read for school since my sophomore year of high school. One thing that I particularly like about it is the cast of strong female characters, regardless of the fact that the story is told from a male’s point of view. However, I find that the male’s point of view serves as a commentary as to how difficult and crazy men can actually be. Before anyone takes offense, let me elaborate.

In today’s society, it is very common for a woman to be labeled as ‘crazy.’ In fact, lots of men typically like to use this word to describe an ex-girlfriend, ex-wife, or otherwise problematic female (ex: my father). This typically is a word that will ‘put women in their place’ and has in fact worked on me in the past. It has worked so much so that I often will not express myself to a significant other when a situation makes me upset to avoid looking like I’m being ‘crazy,’ even though what is bothering me may be completely rational and backed by solid feelings. Instead, I live with the discomfort of the situation which is ultimately completely unfair to both parties. I’ve had friends come to me asking whether or not their valid emotions are ‘crazy’ and whether or not they have a right to be upset. Now logical me says, “Of course you can be upset! One cannot control whether something has caused them to be upset or not.” However, actual me has yet to put this into practice…

Okay that got slightly off topic, but bringing it back to this really good book. While we have a cast of strong, independent, eccentric females, I can’t help but think that Esteban is the crazy one. All the way from the beginning, he pretty much stalked Rosa, felt entitled to her, has crazy tantrums and fits of rage, was a serial rapist for a period of time, somehow has an affinity for becoming obsessed with women who show indifference towards him, and just happens to really go ultimately bonkers by the end of chapter four. He’s hung up on this idea that Clara owes him love and affection and attention but he’s really done not much to earn it. I mean, what does he really even like about Clara? He finds her psychic abilities a nuisance and worries about what the neighbors would say, he thinks she’s ungrateful for all that he’s done for her, he doesn’t like her meetings with her clairvoyant friends, and he hates that she’s indifferent.  Ultimately, I think Esteban is in love with the idea of chasing love, and that his life would be pretty empty without it. In his mind, Clara is dismissed as the problem for not being attentive enough to his fragile ego, which is sometimes a common theme in relationships today, as seen above.

 

A Creepy but Powerful Film

After reading a couple criticisms about Pan’s Labyrinth, I did not want to wait another minute before watching the film. It sounded like a movie that was made specifically for people like me. It had the kind of creepy, creative element of monsters and mythical creatures. It contained commentary about government and justice. It also blurred the line between reality and imaginary and the significance of each. I also am a big fan of literature and films from different countries, so I knew this movie was going to be good from the get go.

However, upon watching this movie, the way it portrayed these themes was a bit cliché. The evil step parent – in this case a step father – was harsh and unforgiving. He was also the leader of the fascist regime, symbolizing that the fascist regime in this movie was just as harsh and unforgiving. While this message is still important and crucial to the film, I find it a bit simplistic.

What was most interesting to me was the way the Mexican director, Guillermo del Torro, blurred the line between real and imaginary. Throughout the film. the watcher is wondering “Is all this fantasy stuff real or is it just the little girl’s imagination?” There are many moments that make us question. For example, when the bug turned into a fairy, when she opens the book the faun gave her and the pages are blank at first, and lastly when she’s running away from her step father and he doesn’t see the faun like the little girl does. On the flip side, all of the little girls interactions with the faun and other mythical creatures seem very realistic. The lack of clarity on this issue is key to the film’s meaning.

Another thing I liked about the film was how realistic it was. It didn’t necessarily have a happy ending and everything played out as it most likely would have in real life. In American movies, this isn’t always the case. For example, the little girl wasn’t able to defeat her much larger and armed step father. *Spoiler Alert* She died, which was most likely going to happen as after her mother died, the step father sees no more responsibility for her. The mother also died in childbirth which was likely due to the fact of such an uncomfortable and problematic pregnancy. I actually really liked the ending of the film and how everything played out because it really shows the audience how tragic reality can be sometimes.

Lastly, the meaning of the film had a big impact on me as well. Thought it displayed multiple different themes, I thought the film as a whole was about innocence and goodness. The audience finds this out at the very end when the faun asks the little girl for her baby brother as a sacrifice, but she refuses, sacrificing herself instead. I mean this little baby was the reason her mother is dead, and she still vows to protect him because she knows it’s the right thing to do. In the end, it earns her entrance into the kingdom the faun has been telling her about. Symbolizing that this innocence and goodness is the way to riches in the world.