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Just Passing Through
 Post subject: Complicated grief
     
         
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Missing since: 04 Jan 2010
Notes left: 66
Hello, everyone!

Everytime I play a Silent hill-game, i can`t help but desperately trying to understand everything going on in the psyche of the main characters and how and why it translates into the "fantasy"-things happening in the game.

So for Shattered Memories I thought, it would help to take the definition of the term, which Kaufmann uses to characterize Cheryls mental illness: Complicated grief. Because I think, Cheryls case is more difficult than just "I have Daddy in my head!"

I didn`t want to post the whole wall of text into this thread, so I give you a link:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/compli ... ef/DS01023


So by the definition, I think, Cheryls symptoms and behaviors are pretty reminiscent of complicated grief.
But I`m still wondering, how that exactly works with Cheryl. I mean, as posted by another user in the forums, there`s a difference between accepting death and denying death. And I think Kaufmanns words can be misinterpreted. I think, it`s not that Cheryl really denies Harrys death. She knows, that he`s dead, that he`s not physically there anymore. She knows, that she`s living alone with her mom, that she`s not happy, that she steals and fucks old men, because she misses her daddy. I don`t think, that if someone would say to her "I`m sorry that your dad is dead" she would answer with "No, he`s not!" but with something like "Thank you."

I mean, it`s not like Cheryl is a really deluded person, like James or so. She isn`t happy with her fantasyworld, she knows, that she feels miserable, that she`s got a serious problem( though she can`t really say, what`s her problem, like with all mental illnesses) and that she needs help. That`s why she goes from one psychotherapist to another until she meets Kaufmann.

I think, the dialogs in the game lead to the wrong assumption, that harry is kind of an invisible friend of Cheryl. But it`s more complicated than that.
I think, that`s it more of a "balance"-thing than of a "I miss him"-thing. Because she thinks, she is the one to blame for Harrys death, she tries to repress her guilt by always keeping the memories of her living dad present in her head and by looking for him in the real world (old men).
She thinks, he didn`t deserve to die, and so it`s her "burden" to assure him that his deserved life, that was taken away from him, is continued.

What do you think? Am I trying to read too much into things?


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Just Passing Through
 Post subject:

Missing since: 30 Dec 2009
Notes left: 34
I think she did believe her father to be alive, and searching for her. As per the adventure we experience, we get clues that Harry doesn't really fit, not like he would've if Cheryl was still 8 (7?), now it's been 18 years and the doctor is forcing this story along and reveling to Cheryl that it's all in her head, her dad did die and wasn't the brave knight she's waiting to come find her.

And I think she is happy with her delusions, projecting her behavior onto her mother, and thinking her father, the knight in shining armor, is looking for his little girl.

And I think she does have a problem, easily developed by the other events in her life, like the events at the party and the shack in the woods. And that's probably the source of her acting out as a teenager, which probably got her sent to these therapists in the first place.


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Just Passing Through
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Missing since: 04 Jan 2010
Notes left: 66
Hm, what you said about "forcing along" is interesting, because that`s exactly how I see what`s happening in the game. In my opinion, Harry is Cheryls obsession, controlled by Cheryl, but ordered by Kaufmann. He talks with her about the most important stages of her life after the car crash (her home, the high school, the work etc.). But why does Harry investigate Cheryls life? Because what`s really happening, in a symbolical way, is, that Kaufmann`s confronting Cheryl`s real memories of her past after the crash with her image of a living, loving dad. And he does this every second, without stopping. And like you say, it doesn`t fit. I mean, you can see it right from the beginning. Harry awakes in the car, but Cheryl`s not there, she`s in the lighthouse with a therapist. Why should she be there, if her obsession of a living father is true?

But I don`t think, that that`s necessarily contradicting my previous post.


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Cafe5to2 Waitress
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Missing since: 02 Dec 2008
Notes left: 264
Personally I think you're dead on, Thanatos.

I think Cheryl's a troubled, but over-all sane, girl. She's definitely got some complicated issues over Harry, and those issues manifest themselves in some ways that are pretty serious and self-destructive, but I don't think she honestly believes he's still alive or somehow survived the crash. Her problems are more emotional and psychological; she's not insane or demented.

Even the outburst when she threatened a boy by sending Harry after him was more about her unhealthy internal defense mechanisms than it was her perceptions of reality. She felt threatened and naturally resorted to a thought that gave her comfort; it's more complicated than her just being insane and thinking Harry's still alive.


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Just Passing Through
 Post subject:

Missing since: 30 Dec 2009
Notes left: 34
Well, if someone confronted her about her dead dad I don't think she would acknowledge it being truth. I think she would honestly believe that he's out there looking for him.

I don't think she realizes she has a problem, I don't know if she really shows it to others, she could very well say just as you said and pretend for other people, but I don't think she's there because she wants to be.

The game heavily implies she is there, and has been to a string of therapists, because of her behavior, probably as part of her sentence.

I think she really is as deluded as James, just in a different way, though she feels just as responsible.


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Cafe5to2 Waitress
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Missing since: 02 Dec 2008
Notes left: 264
^From the clues Dr K gives, she does understand she has a problem, she just hasn't had much luck fixing it yet. "Just showing up shows your commitment to the process." "The other therapists didn't work out for you."

I could buy her therapy being mandated as part of her punishment for stabbing the mall cop--and it very well may started that way--if Dr K didn't tell us that she's been to more than one. That pretty clearly shows you that at some point, Cheryl started actively seeking help for herself.


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Just Passing Through
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Missing since: 04 Jan 2010
Notes left: 66
Hm...

if she really thinks, that her Dad is still alive, I can`t imagine, how she could have lived an overly "normal", inconspicious life for 18 years, without being sent from one therapist to another or even more likely being thrown into a mental hospital. I could only imagine it, if she`s only started it some time ago, maybe a year or so.


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Just Passing Through
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Missing since: 30 Dec 2009
Notes left: 34
I'm not sure, though the just showing up statement does make it sound like she's doing it out of he own free will. Though honestly I don't see how she and her mother could afford therapy without some help.

Though if she didn't respond well to most therapists she could be searching around for a better one, she could just be looking for a therapist to deem her 'mentally stable' for the court.

But I mean I don't think it would be difficult for her to hide this belief as she got older. As a form of copeing her belief would be discouraged as a young child but probably not cause for seeking mental assistance, and eventually she would just go inward to create this illusion not showing people what she really feels, becoming 'fridged'.


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Cafe5to2 Waitress
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Missing since: 02 Dec 2008
Notes left: 264
^What makes you so certain that she's not looking for help herself, or that she's mentally unstable? I'm asking for clues, because its quite possible I missed them.

I would readily agree that she's emotionally unstable, but I still doubt she's insane or denies that she herself has a problem.


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Just Passing Through
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Missing since: 04 Jan 2010
Notes left: 66
I think, Cheryls main problem is her "unfounded guilt". The repression of this guilt has lead to all her other problems. So to rid Cheryl of her obsession, she has to come to the conclusion, that she`s not to blame for the death of her father. But I don`t quite see yet, how this happens. I know, in the end she does it (in one ending she screams "It wasn`t my fault, someone has to take the blame!"), but how exactly is that accomplished
by Kaufmann? I know, he lets you play a "guilt-game", but I don`t see anything in this. And I don`t know yet, what part of harry`s "adventure" represents the talk and thinking about guilt.


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Just Passing Through
 Post subject:

Missing since: 30 Dec 2009
Notes left: 34
I didn't really find any evidence of the Mall cop being stabbed in my play throughs, but if it's true I would consider that pretty mentally unstable. Possibly even a reaction to him acting sort-of protective of her.

I consider her actually mentally-ill since she did create this very complex delusion of her father, as proven by the final yelling sequence of the Kaufman, and how she actually responds to her father entering the room and speaking with him. While this could just be a metaphor for her realization, I think that room is the representation of everything Cheryl really sees, the doc, the table-top analysis, and her father.


And that sequence near the end which is either Harry not freezing, Harry saying Forget me, or Harry saying I'll always be with you are do to how complete you finish the game, impacted by mementos and echoes and probably phone calls as well. Kaufman drives the delusion of Harry to finally find Cheryl, when she faces him she either can't let him go, or he says you have to let me go, or he says that he'll always be with her in her heart. This is a representation of her coming to realize that he is in fact dead.


Last edited by unoimalltht on 05 Jan 2010, edited 1 time in total.

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Historical Society Historian
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Missing since: 27 Jul 2009
Notes left: 3531
^ About the mall cop being stabbed, there's a bloody knife in an evidence locker somewhere in the mall.


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Just Passing Through
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Missing since: 04 Jan 2010
Notes left: 66
It`s exactly the last scene, which I see metaphorically, lik many other things in the game. That`s the beauty with Silent Hill, you can never know for sure! :D


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Just Passing Through
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Missing since: 04 Jan 2010
Notes left: 66
@unoimalltht:

Maybe stupid question, but could you elaborate, what you mean with "Kaufmann driving Harry to find Cheryl"? Maybe I`m just to tired, but I don`t understand that. Why should there be a need for bringing Cheryl and Heather together? I mean, he`s there all the time, he`s an obsession of Cheryl, she can see him whenever she wants.
I haven`t quite understood yet, what`s the purpose of that "Harry is searching for Cheryl"-structure.


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Cafe5to2 Waitress
 Post subject:

Missing since: 02 Dec 2008
Notes left: 264
unoimalltht wrote:
I didn't really find any evidence of the Mall cop being stabbed in my play throughs, but if it's true I would consider that pretty mentally unstable. Possibly even a reaction to him acting sort-of protective of her.

I consider her actually mentally-ill since she did create this very complex delusion of her father, as proven by the final yelling sequence of the Kaufman, and how she actually responds to her father entering the room and speaking with him. While this could just be a metaphor for her realization, I think that room is the representation of everything Cheryl really sees, the doc, the table-top analysis, and her father.


And that sequence near the end which is either Harry not freezing, Harry saying Forget me, or Harry saying I'll always be with you are do to how complete you finish the game, impacted by mementos and echoes and probably phone calls as well. Kaufman drives the delusion of Harry to finally find Cheryl, when she faces him she either can't let him go, or he says you have to let me go, or he says that he'll always be with her in her heart. This is a representation of her coming to realize that he is in fact dead.



To me, whether or not Harry freezes and shatters and Cheryl's reaction to him represents how well she's overcome her emotional problems that stemmed from Harry's death. To me the whole game was metaphorical--"Delusion Harry" was simply a fragment of Cheryl that was exploring her subconscious as it processed the events that Cheryl and Dr. K were discussing in the therapy session.

That's my interpretation, so its not law or anything, but I still don't see any reason to believe Cheryl is delusional to the degree that James was.


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Just Passing Through
 Post subject:

Missing since: 30 Dec 2009
Notes left: 34
Well there's a lot which you can know for sure if you pay close enough attention, which I sadly do not.

But since the knife is obviously related to Cheryl, and you assume that since she only interacts with the Loss Prevention Agent than she must've stabbed him. In which case she went to jail for that, and was assigned to a therapist for at least part of the sentence. The terms of her ending therapy would probably be dependent on the therapist deeming her mentally healthy, and she obviously didn't make progress with the others and was eventually given to Kaufman.

From that you can derive that she is mentally unstable, stabbing someone, there because of her crime, probably not believing this therapist will do any better than the last, and Kaufman is probably feeding her bull when he says "Just showing up shows your commitment to the process." It is pretty out of character to be honest in this statement since he tends to act like he's dragging her along the whole time.


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Just Passing Through
 Post subject:

Missing since: 30 Dec 2009
Notes left: 34
Thanatos wrote:
@unoimalltht:

Maybe stupid question, but could you elaborate, what you mean with "Kaufmann driving Harry to find Cheryl"? Maybe I`m just to tired, but I don`t understand that. Why should there be a need for bringing Cheryl and Heather together? I mean, he`s there all the time, he`s an obsession of Cheryl, she can see him whenever she wants.
I haven`t quite understood yet, what`s the purpose of that "Harry is searching for Cheryl"-structure.


Harry's search is part of Cheryl's delusion. As long as Harry is searching for Cheryl he is her knight, and still alive. When Kaufman pushes Cheryl to face her delusion, something she tries so hard to prevent (The nightmare sequences). In the end Harry enters the room and Cheryl either tells him not to go, or he tells her that he must go and leaves her to live her life.


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Historical Society Historian
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Missing since: 01 Aug 2006
Notes left: 11284
Last seen at: I'm here, and waiting for you
In the red car you find after the woods nightmare, one of the messages the ghost in it gives has Cheryl telling her boyfriend to "Stop! Stop, or I'll tell my dad!"

She believes he's alive on some level.

_________________
BlackFire2 wrote:
I thought he meant the special powers of her vagina.


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Cafe5to2 Waitress
 Post subject:

Missing since: 02 Dec 2008
Notes left: 264
AuraTwilight wrote:
In the red car you find after the woods nightmare, one of the messages the ghost in it gives has Cheryl telling her boyfriend to "Stop! Stop, or I'll tell my dad!"

She believes he's alive on some level.


I mentioned this on my post earlier in this thread:

pj wrote:
Even the outburst when she threatened a boy by sending Harry after him was more about her unhealthy internal defense mechanisms than it was her perceptions of reality.


For what its worth, that's my $.02 on the matter.


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Just Passing Through
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Missing since: 04 Jan 2010
Notes left: 66
I think, it`s important to adress, if you interpret the game as a Maria-like story(Harry ia a living seperate being brought to life by Cheryls mind and the power of the town, who`s interacting with real people of the town) or as a complete mind-based story( it`s just all in Cheryls head). If you prefer the first approach, it`s a lot easier just to say "oh, he`s just an imaginary friend". But if you take the second approach, which I and pj do, then there are alot more questions to adress, f.e. what`s the meaning of the "Harry-story", what kinds of things going on in Cheryls head is it metaphorically representing?

Again, the term "Complicating grief" doesn`t really include the denying of the death of someone, but rather the inability to go on with your life. And that`s a big difference.

I can`t really buy the "Maria-Daddy`s alive"-interpretation, because it raises a lot of difficult questions, f.e.

1)The theory implies, that Cheryl is happy, because, well, her dad is with her the whole time. But do you ever see her happy in the game, in her life? No, just always terror, screaming, crying, alcohol, violence.... I mean, she`s trying to hook up old men. Would she do that, if she thinks, her dad would be alive and be with her? You never see one photo (besides the ones before harry`s death) in her whole life (high school, work...) where she smiles or looks happy. No, she`s always looking, as if she`s destroyed.

2) Why is Harry "born" just that one time(in the game)? Does Kaufmann have magical powers or something, or why isn`t "Maria-Harry" around for the whole 18 years, if Cheryl`s powerful mind, which is obviously able to summon him, thinks all the time he`s alive?

3) I can`t see the purpose of having this plot-structure of "Harry`s searching for his daughter - finding her means, that he`s not really alive". I can`t see the logic in that. And if that`s really Cheryl`s realization (because Harry finds her, for whatever reason), why is he coming through the door? Wouldn`t it be more correct, that the door doesn`t open? Or that the door opens and no one`s behind it? I think, that`s quite misleading by Climax. Not to mention, that Kaufmann doesn`t seem to recognize Harry, but whatever. I think the developers put more effort into making the last scene visually appealing and shocking than into making it consistent with the rest of the story.


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