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 Themes of Identity, Memory, & Karma

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RedEyedGhost

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PostSubject: Themes of Identity, Memory, & Karma   Wed May 25, 2011 9:55 pm

My deepest resonance with Pandora Hearts comes from its theme of memory retrieval. How do people deal with the idea that there's more to them than the life they know, or that they're essentially more than one person? What if everybody around them expects them to be somebody else (Oz=>Jack)? How does this shape their perception of identity?

I love how the characters have powerful karmic ties to each other across lifetimes. This could be literally in the case of physical reincarnation like Oz and Elliot, or psychological reincarnation in the case of amnesia. For example, even though Gilbert didn't remember his past, he still had the karmic draw to Oz in a subconscious attempt to redeem his relationship with Jack. Or what if the past completely changed? Such as in the case of Break, who was put back into a world where the event that drove him to become an illegal contractor and shaped his subsequent personality never even happened? Your psychology has to adjust to such things. And what do you do when you remember too much? Such as in the case of Vincent.

PH also goes into how memory (or, rather, our experiences) factors into identity formation. The same person, be it Alice or Gil, can turn out different under different circumstances even though the core essence is the same. For example, raised in an overprotected tower, Alice turns into a sweet, innocent girl. Raised in the chaos of the Abyss she becomes more hardened and aggressive. But it's still essentially the same girl. Then we have Gil, who's currently having an identity crisis, and fears that remembering his past will change who he is now, affect his relationship with Oz, etc, although I think he's starting to accept that his memories won't change him as much as help him understand why he is the way he is.

I like how PH addresses the fact that partial memory is a very dangerous thing. The characters get their memories back gradually, and in very fragmented form. They don't know the whole story, and their assumptions about what happened and about who they are given the limited information they have affects self-image, personality, and actions, even if the assumption they made isn't true. Gilbert let Vincent manipulate him into thinking that Gilbert killed Alice, and we still don't know that (I personally think it was Vincent), yet this potentially exaggerated memory affected Gil's actions. And then there's Alice herself, whose snippets of memories made her believe she needed to know more, when in actuality she blocked off her memories by her own free will, and her attempts to reclaim them unwittingly forced her to fight against her dearest feline friend.

So yeah, sorry for the long-windedness. I think PH addresses the themes of memory better than any other story I read. What do y'all think?
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Precious Hair - San

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PostSubject: Re: Themes of Identity, Memory, & Karma   Sat May 28, 2011 7:09 pm

I couldn’t agree more (except on that little detail of Vincent being Alice’s murderer, but that is not news for you Very Happy )! And I certainly would never be able to express such a well structured opinion about this either. emo

One thing I’m sure: there is not another anime/manga that exposes those themes the same way Pandora Hearts does. (At least, not as far as I’ve searched…) I think it is a unique story, filled with unique characters that carry unique pasts and unique personalities. That’s why I love it!
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Isla Yura

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PostSubject: Re: Themes of Identity, Memory, & Karma   Sat Jul 09, 2011 12:23 am

You are just so deep... I'm jealous, Smile
omg.
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Elliot Nightray

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PostSubject: Re: Themes of Identity, Memory, & Karma   Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:56 pm

Ahhh~ Nice observation~! You've broughten up many good points! Have you taken Psychology by any chance? hahahah. Anyway, I havent read any other series that goes to such depth like this, but....hmm.....I just thought of this, but in terms of personality.....through out pandora hearts, did they ever mention dreams? This is just a random thought, so, what if this is Oz's dream? and every character is just a fragment of Oz's personality? I-its odd, but following Freud's theory about dreams.....It might make sense? xD
Either way, the past seems to be repeating itself for sure. Perhaps this repetition could be a memory in itself? That being said, who's memory is it? The Wills?
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RedEyedGhost

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PostSubject: Re: Themes of Identity, Memory, & Karma   Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:53 am

I don't think it's a dream, so not sure what to say about that. ^_^;; I think the past is "repeating" (sorta) because everyone has karmic ties to each other from unfinished business in the past - Glen being interrupted and everything going to hell and all.
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Elliot Nightray

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PostSubject: Re: Themes of Identity, Memory, & Karma   Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:20 am

Hmmm. yeah, thats what it seems like for sure. people are either from 100 years ago, or theyy have someone from 100 years ago in them xD;;;
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