Silent Hill Heaven

James is the Only "Real" Person: A Theory (SPOILER
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Author:  SolidAndShade [ 08 Mar 2008 ]
Post subject:  James is the Only "Real" Person: A Theory (SPOILER

This is an awesome forum, I've been a longtime SH fan and it's great to see so much interesting discussion here. Here's my first post with a theory of mine. I also included a poll just for fun.

There have been a few discussions of the possibility that Angela, Eddie and Laura (AE&L) are manifestations of James's mind like Maria and PH, and this theory ties up all the loose ends with that idea in a way that makes sense to me.

--The Premise
James is a real, living person who traveled to Silent Hill, grieving for Mary, and got caught in its alternate reality where inner demons are manifested physically. However, AE&L are not real people, but manifestations of James's mind like Maria and PH.

--Three Roles
Angela embodies James's guilt, despondency and self-destructive impulses. He first encounters her in a graveyard, a place that embodies death and loss, and she spends the game beckoning him to death. Her final scene at the burning staircase is the ultimate physical manifestation of James's suicidal thoughts. "Thanks for saving me, but I wish you hadn't."

Eddie embodies James's anger and self-righteousness. He beckons James to do whatever he wants and damn the consequences. The James lookalikes he kills are a subconscious reminder that uncontrolled anger leads to self-destruction. His final scene leads James to break his moral code and do something he normally wouldn't think himself capable of. "I killed a human being."

Laura is kind of like James's Jiminy Cricket, his conscience. She embodies his sense of right and wrong and the terrible secret he knows deep down but cannot admit to himself. She torments James with the truth, or what James fears to be the truth, every time they meet. "You never loved Mary anyway!" "Liar! A year ago, Mary was already dead!"

--So Why Can't They See Maria?
One thing that leads people to doubt theories like this is that AE&L don't function the way that Maria, PH and James's other manifestations do. Their Otherworlds are different from his, and they don't see monsters or Maria (at least, we can presume that Eddie and Angela wouldn't be able to see Maria).

The reason for this could be that while AE&L are manifestations of James's mind, they don't function at all the way that Maria and the monsters do. All of James's manifestations and the parts of his Otherworld are like tools his mind uses to deal with his guilt and sadness and find the truth, but AE&L and the monsters do this in two different ways. AE&L play an intellectual role, helping James discover the truth by teaching him things about himself that he didn't consciously know. They provide him with embodiments of his suicidal side, his angry side and his conscience so that he can come to terms with them.

Maria, PH and the monsters, on the other hand, help James discover the truth by tormenting him emotionally until he understands his true feelings. They don't teach him anything he can understand logically, and instead they embody his repressed emotions boiling over. You could say that AE&L represent James's self-knowledge while Maria and the monsters represent his self-hatred.

The lessons James learns from Angela, Eddie and Laura are the same in every game, but he can deal with the emotional torment from Maria and Pyramid Head in different ways depending on the ending.

So there you have it. I don't really think this theory is "true" in the Silent Hill universe; I see AE&L as real people like James, but I do think that this theory is interesting and provides a unique way to look at James's character.

Author:  MariaRising [ 08 Mar 2008 ]
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This is a good theory, it makes sense.

Author:  AuraTwilight [ 08 Mar 2008 ]
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While it's a good theory, and it's a fun idea to think about, I just can't agree with it. No way in hell the three of them are manifestations, as there's too much proof that they exist in the real world that couldn't of been falsified, such as Mary knowing Laura in the real world, and since Laura was given a ride to SH by Eddie, both of them must be real. Angela's the best case you can make, here, but then there's newspapers and other such evidence revolving around the murder of her father.

Author:  LanceS133 [ 08 Mar 2008 ]
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Yeah, definitely real people. Very good theory tho.

Author:  Oddish [ 08 Mar 2008 ]
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I agree, it's a wonderful theory, even if I don't quite agree with it. For one thing, there's the evidence that Mary knew Laura and Laura and Eddie were acquainted. Second, there's the fact that Laura's not exactly the embodiment of conscience: she's too much of a little stinker.

Incidentally, I think that it fits well with a previous essay, "Representatives of the denoument". Each character takes a certain path, and James's decisions determine whose path he follows. If he behaves in a self-destructive way, he follows Angela, who is on the path to self-destruction. If he devotes himself to finding Mary, then he is following the same path that Laura does. Each of these paths has a set ending: Eddie dissolves into madness, Angela (presumably) dies by her own hand, and Laura leaves Silent Hill (alone, if not with James). So while they are real people, they also represent real choices.

Author:  SolidAndShade [ 10 Mar 2008 ]
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As I said, I don't truly subscribe to this theory, I just think it's an interesting thought experiment.

However, the newspaper article on Angela, the letter from Mary to Laura, etc., don't really do anything to prove that those people are "real." If James can manifest a huge dungeon below Toluca Lake, he can manifest false histories for his companions. The letter from Mary to Laura mentions James as if Laura knew him, when he apparently hasn't met her until the events of the game.

Also, AE&L may be based on memories James has. While Mary was sick, he may have read the article on the Orosco murder and then read another article about the real Angela that examined her emotional problems. Perhaps he felt a connection to Angela's hostility and self-destruction, and manifested her in Silent Hill as an embodiment of his own suicidal tendencies, whereas the real Angela Orosco never entered Silent Hill.

The symbolism of Eddie taking Laura to Silent Hill is also interesting. James's conscience is nagging at him because he let his angry, murderous side get out of control.

Author:  The Adversary [ 10 Mar 2008 ]
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>he may have read the article on the Orosco murder
The article has "today's date," so he couldn't have read it before--seeing as he's been in town.

Author:  Oddish [ 10 Mar 2008 ]
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Silent Hill is a place where reality tends to break down, and products of one's subconscious mind take physical form. James might have read the article when he was doing a current events project in seventh grade, and then transposed it into the present. I don't believe that to be true (just as I believe that AE&L are as real as James is), but neither do I believe that anyone could deliver a newspaper to a labyrinth hundreds of feet underground that may or may not even exist.

Author:  The Adversary [ 10 Mar 2008 ]
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It doesn't need to be "delivered," it just has to exist. How it gets there is irrelevant, it's still based on fact.

Author:  Oddish [ 10 Mar 2008 ]
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My point is that since the newspaper was not delivered there, it had to have been generated by the town. So there is no reason to assume that it has to be true. However, based on empirical evidence, I think it probably is.

Author:  AuraTwilight [ 10 Mar 2008 ]
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But then if we do that and start disregarding sources of information we're supposed to use to figure out the story as "lol James made it up", then we can't really figure anything out and the storyline degrades into solipsist bullshit.

Occam's Razor > This theory.

Author:  alessas angel [ 10 Mar 2008 ]
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I am sure they are real people, all three of them.

Author:  Oddish [ 11 Mar 2008 ]
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I must say I like that term, Aura. Very descriptive.

Author:  ulcain [ 11 Mar 2008 ]
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I understand the theory, and I agree that it is possible, but it doesn't really matter because I think the In Water ending is the true ending (at least I do for now) so if they aren't real, then it makes even more sense in a way, they all are tormentors that lead him to the horrible truth of his being. Laura and Eddy are his accusers and Angela models the way for him to respond to his guilt.

A little pat for them to be real people, neh?

Author:  game_over [ 11 Mar 2008 ]
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I voted for No.

Author:  AuraTwilight [ 11 Mar 2008 ]
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Um...mind explaining WHY or anything? If you're going to come out and say what you voted for.

Author:  Oddish [ 11 Mar 2008 ]
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I suppose it is kind of interesting that each of them is kind of symbolic of a path that James can ultimately take (Laura = moving on, Angela = suicide, Eddie = insanity), but that isn't enough to make be believe them to be delusions James made up.

Author:  Isa [ 13 Mar 2008 ]
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I don't believe they're delusions, but I wouldn't downright say you're wrong. Angela, Eddie, and Laura do pretty much serve the purposes you discussed, and we must remember that James is the main character. Everything that occurs in the game will contribute to his story, even if it's supposed to be someone else's tale. As true as your points are, they don't equal the trio being fake people.

My biggest reason for disagreeing with this theory is the Abstract Daddy. Why does an imaginary person need a monster to remind her all that happened in her imaginary past? In fact, the simple fact that Angela and Eddie seem to be suffering in their own versions of Silent Hill is proof enough for me. If they were simply illusions, they would be able to function in James' version just like Maria.

Concerning the newspaper that deals with the Orosco murder, I think it could have been conjured up from James' memory. (I know it's a cheap excuse, but we can't really trust this man's word, can we? He's insane!) James walked into the burnt out shell of Lakeview Hotel and somehow managed to picture it the way he left it three years before. I think he could do the same with a news article. I'm not saying I believe it, just saying it's possible. Especially considering the fact that the labyrinth as a whole likely is not real.

Author:  ulcain [ 13 Mar 2008 ]
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I see your point Isa, but Abstract Daddy could be considered an extension of what happened to Mary...

Thinking about it, why would James see similar monsters in the hotel with Angela not around, if they were specific to her?

Author:  Piaga [ 13 Mar 2008 ]
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>Thinking about it, why would James see similar monsters in the hotel with Angela not around, if they were specific to her?

The Abstract Daddy and the Ideal Daddies are indeed similar, but we must remember the underlying themes in this game, as well. James, as I'm sure everyone agrees, harbors a LOT of sexual tension which is manifested in the things he sees and how he sees them. The Abstract Daddy is a manifestation of Angela's own experiences in that particular field (seeing as Idea Daddies seem to have only one figure merged into their structure while the Abstract Daddy seemed to have two). It doesn't mean that Angela is a product of James' mind. In any event, it seems to point to the idea that certain types of monsters represent different problems in the character's pasts, which as I have read -but am not for sure on- is also an accepted idea in the entire series.

As I see it, I think those three characters are real. If only, as Isa said, they seem to be affected by Silent Hill in the ways a real person might and don't usually act the way a delusion might. Sure, they're creepy... but they're also pretty normal in the linear cause and effect psychological aspect, which Maria definitely isn't.. What she didn't mention that I know she's talked about before is also that Laura and Eddie were interacting with one another. Maria never did that. I'm not sure if Delusions usually see and speak with one another and not their creator... but yeah.

This is slightly off topic... but I was speculating about how perhaps they, like James, had found their own newspaper clippings and such to allow them to know so much about him if in fact they were real. Seeing as James seems to have a knack for finding information on other people in his wanderings by either the town's will or his own imagination. But that's for another venture if I ever figure out what exactly I was going to do with it.

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