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Historical Society Historian
 Post subject: James's clemency (Spoilers).
     
         
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Missing since: 27 Aug 2003
Notes left: 12943
Last seen at: The Wand'ring Wood
9th Nov.: Edited again for shitty spelling and grammar. Ugh.
4th Oct.: Edited once more!

~~~


This is long, this is adamant, and overall it’s just me firing off on why I believe James is merciful and not murderous. I posted this a while ago in a thread where people were verbally dumping over what James did and brought up some outrageous and ridiculous accusations, and I couldn’t help but respond to them. It remains mostly unchanged from my original rant.

I wanted to address that overheard conversation in the hallway of Lakeview Hotel. Mary is in an obviously perturbed frame of mind thanks to her illness, the stress and depression, and after yelling at him for bringing flowers there is silence. We are to assume that James has left the room considering Mary pretty much ordered him out and by Mary’s next choice of words. Mary, realising he is [physically] leaving her, calls out to him and starts crying. Since all of you guys are familiar with the mind-fucks Silent Hill plays, I propose this: Where is it ever proven as concrete fact that James was within earshot of this? Isn't it likewise plausible that he kept on walking out and didn't hear a word Mary was saying? For all we know James's guilt-ridden mind tagged on that part of the conversation to make him feel even worse for what he did to her. One thing James has in abundance is guilt and wanting to punish himself.

I don't think it's the least bit fair to say he's selfish and as for all those "vows he took at the altar" stuff I'd like you to really, truly and heartily, envision what it must be like to sit there and watch the love of your life wither away and wait to die without any known cause or cure. You try living with someone who has a sickness. Someone you love very dearly who you know will not get better and just lays there in a bed waiting to pass away. Watch them slip away day by day and see how you feel about it. "In sickness and in health"... well, I hardly think what is said in wedding vows can be followed verbatim nowadays considering divorce rates, Hollywood couples, and the city of Las Vegas. There are limits to a man’s ability to cope and to endure. Watching your beloved fall ill and have to wait for them to die is quite certainly something that exceeds this limit.

The events James sees and suffers in his adventure to Silent Hill stem from, I believe, self-punishment/guilt. James is suffering internally for what he has done to Mary: he isn't merry and happy and skipping through the tulips because his wife is gone. If anything he's more distraught than ever. If he did kill Mary out of selfish intentions, why would he have even bothered to go to Silent Hill? Why would he even create for himself an artificial hope that she was alive somewhere? If REALLY he got rid of her because he didn't want to deal with her anymore and because she was too much of a burden on him, I highly doubt he'd be so miserable and forlorn. When he asks about Mary to Angela, Maria, Eddie and Laura he seems so desperate, so pain-stricken the conclusion that many come to is that he truly misses this woman. As he himself said, "I'd do anything to be with her again." If he killed her because he got tired of her, why would those words come out of his mouth?

Now it's entirely possible for James to have done this (acting miserable) as a way to punish himself for what he'd done, but let me say here that punishment goes hand in hand with guilt. The two are connected. Especially since all of the punishment manifested against James are created by his own doing—the monsters, for example.

To use an example from a book I'm fond of called The Scarlet Letter, the character Arthur Dimmesdale is so distraught over his inner turmoil for fathering an illegitimate child that he begins to physically harm himself. He lashes his back with a whip, slices open his palms on nails, refuses to eat or sleep, and presses his hand heavily against his heart "as if some great burden were laid upon it." Because of his extreme guilt for what he has done, he is punishing himself in a rather... fanatical way. It's my belief that because James feels so guilty for what he did that he is extracting his own form of revenge on himself over and over again, starting off by merely going to the town that Mary loved so much. The town has so many memories for the couple it must be like a stab in the gut to even think about it, but to actually go there? That takes some sort of dedication to the woman and her memory. He carries around a photograph of Mary and even a "letter" beckoning him to return to Silent Hill, a letter that we now know didn’t even exist [Clarification: Mary did indeed write the letter, James did indeed read it, but the letter you start off with in the game is not real.] He's so desperate to see her again that he hounds a little girl who said her name in hopes that she knows something, and he calls out to Mary much like people call out to God.

A possible, but really not, monkey wrench to my theory: Maria. Some may argue that she was created by James’ perverted sexual desires, and how can a guilty mind come up with that? To those I say GTFO.

This leads into that bizarre "James is a sex crazed monster" topic that was being kicked around a while ago. While I don't doubt that because of Mary's sickness James was quite displeased with being deprived sexual enjoyment, how in the name of Zeus's asshole did someone come up with the idea that James was sex-crazed and perverted? Sexual desire is perfectly natural, especially between married couples and most especially in males. This does not make him a pervert. The monsters are feminine and disturbingly carnal, but how is that a sign of James' sexual appetite? If anything it should represent his sexual frustration, thus the monsters take on a female form to tempt him and remind him of what he's been missing out on these years because of Mary's illness. The fact that a bunch of naked women aren't running around town, straddling and grinding against James and that instead we have mannequins sewn together that scream when struck, slender acid-spitting, convulsing creatures, nurses with cleavage, mini skirts and inhuman growls/screams is just another way for James to punish himself for still having a sex drive after his wife's disease. If he didn't feel guilty, then Maria would have held a bigger sway over him. Only you, the player, can allow what kind of hold Maria has over James—your actions determine the ending where he leaves with her. Since he feels guilty, these feminine-derived creatures are distorted and grotesque, hinting that what once was appealing and attractive is now deplorable. Since he wanted something that his wife couldn't give, his mind created the worst possible incarnation of this lust as a way of punishing him and increasing his guilt.

Also... If he was so far gone into lust, why would he act so timid around Maria? She's a stripper for goodness's sake and she's constantly hitting on him or gesturing sexually with her hands (remember when they first met and she ran her hand up and down the rail along the pier?) and yet he doesn't make a single move. He doesn't even want her to go with him, but simply relents.

Another possible monkey-wrench: Pyramid Head is rappin teh manikins!!!!!

Silent Hill is twisted, there's no doubt about that, though I personally don't think that sums up any or all of the weird monsters and Pyramid Head's treatment of them. On the Silent Hill Chronicles website there is a phrase that is commonly tied into Pyramid Head when spoken about. It's"self punishment" (to use the given Japanese terms: Jibatsuishiki/Jibachiishiki. Literally broken down into Ji = self. Batsu = punishment. Ishiki = Consciousness/"sense of". Also I think it was quoted saying that, "Pyramid Head comes from James' 'sense of self punishment' or 'self-punishment mindedness'", which hints that James's guilt made Pyramid Head manifest itself.) So there you go. It isn't Silent Hill that's using Pyramid Head as a means of punishing James for killing Mary. Rather, the manifestation of Pyramid Head is James's way of punishing himself. Also on said site is the literal translation of what James said when confronting the two Pyramid Heads in Lakeview Hotel: "I was weak, that's why I created you." Now, you can either see this as James saying it to Maria or to the PHs but isn't it all the same in the end? Both beings punish him in their own way, both make him suffer and remind himself of his wife one way or another, so I don't think it should matter much who he's talking to in that scene. I think it deserves being said that if you examine the corpses of the PHs after they off themselves, James will say "I don't need this anymore, it's just a corpse." This is just like he tells Maria at their last confrontation, “I don’t need YOU anymore.”

Pyramid Head "raping" and killing the monsters is damned bizarre, I'll give you that. IMHO, it's James's mind purging itself of its guilt for killing Mary. Pyramid Head’s behavior is oppressive, similar to the obvious oppression of holding a pillow to someone’s face and snuffing out her life. He smothered Mary because that's how he figuratively felt after she got sick, what with the constantly changing moods and screams and tears and pleadings for him to kill her. Let us equate the act of smothering with the emotional feeling of one who is emotionally oppressed in order to have what I just said make any sense. (On that note I don't remember Mary saying she wanted to live, only that she was "scared to die.") He was so confused and torn between what to do he did what he thought would be best for her, and after giving her a kiss he takes the pillow and presses it to her face.

Another possible monkey-wrench: James’ dialogue in the endings.

Quote:
In Water
James: No, that’s not the whole truth. You also said that you didn’t want
to die. The truth is... part of me hated you. For taking away my
life...

Mary: You killed me and you’re suffering for it. It’s enough, James.



Quote:
Leave
Mary: I told you that I wanted to die, James. I wanted the pain to end.

James: That’s why I did it, honey. I just couldn’t watch you suffer.
No! That’s not true... You also said that you didn’t want to die.
The truth is I hated you. I wanted you out of the way. I wanted my
life back....

Mary: James... if that were true, then why do you look so sad?



If you know how to read, you can figure this one out (In the other endings, he doesn't have this discussion with Mary).

I know James said he did it because he as angry at her, but how is that a sign of being selfish? That's rage, ire. He wanted to relieve her from the pain, but he wasn't sure if he could go through with it despite her telling him it was what she wanted. It was his anger that gave him the nudge to do it. Because he did what he did out of "blackened thoughts," he was overcome with guilt and sought his punishment. James also admits to not being able to see Mary suffer when they converse in the endings. Also, he wanted Mary to forgive him. How's a selfish person going to think of a thing like that? If James truly was selfish, he would not feel as upset as he did and not be so distraught and beg for Mary to forgive him. He wasn't sure if what he had done was right from the start and because of his turmoil about this he came to the conclusion that he deserved the worst treatment possible. In a sense, he did the right thing—he did what she wanted.

Now, if you want to get into whether it was morally right or wrong that's for a completely different section, but if people want to know if it's right or wrong depending on what Mary wanted than yes, it was the right thing. She didn't want to suffer anymore and she asked James to do it because the doctors didn't give a shit about it and wanted to gain as much knowledge from her suffering for future cases.


Edited for various bits and pieces.

_________________
I'm not dead yet, dammit.


Last edited by Mis Krist. on 04 Oct 2008, edited 4 times in total.

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Just Passing Through
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Missing since: 22 Jun 2005
Notes left: 41
That was one of the most well thought out and intriguing explanations/theories I have ever had the pleasure to read on these forums. :D

And as a huge fan of SH2 especially, a very appreciated and informative 'rant.' You seem to have put random thoughts and questions I have on the subject into one post.

_________________
love walked alone
the rocks cut her tender feet,
and the brambles tore her fair limbs.
there came a companion to her,
but, alas, he was no help,
for his name was heart's pain.


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Historical Society Historian
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Missing since: 27 Aug 2003
Notes left: 12943
Last seen at: The Wand'ring Wood
Why thank you :)! I tried to cover as much ground as I could in the post because I was sure that someone would try to punch holes in it--not that there's anything wrong with that, of course, but still: I wanted to try and fill in as much as I was able to in a single post.

Again, thank you. =)

_________________
I'm not dead yet, dammit.


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Just Passing Through
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Missing since: 22 Jun 2005
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Welcome :)

Ha, I would be surprised if anyone found any holes in that.

_________________
love walked alone
the rocks cut her tender feet,
and the brambles tore her fair limbs.
there came a companion to her,
but, alas, he was no help,
for his name was heart's pain.


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Woodside Apartments Janitor
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Missing since: 16 Dec 2005
Notes left: 1123
Last seen at: Wherever Mother Claudia sends me.
That an incredible well thought out explanation of James. It fits him very well and explains a lot about him. You amaze the hell out of me!

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Just Passing Through
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Missing since: 23 Apr 2005
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^ Wow, some people are great at making other people feel that their work is futile. :roll:

Anyways, I too have always taken that angle as far as James is concerned, that he was punishing himself rather than having the town punish him, but I never took the time to write it down in such an eloquent fashion. Thanks for the interesting read.


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Historical Society Historian
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Missing since: 27 Aug 2003
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I think he was insulting the people the rant was originaly aimed towards, not the rant itself.

I'm relieved that I'm not alone in thinking this--or rather, that the responses to it have been quite positive. And you're quite welcome.

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I'm not dead yet, dammit.


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Historical Society Historian
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Missing since: 15 Apr 2004
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Great post. I agree with most of it, though I think that In Water shows that James has at least a little bit of a selfish streak to him...

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Historical Society Historian
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Missing since: 27 Aug 2003
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Do you mean that Jimmy's choice to commit suicide was a selfish act? Or am I wayyyy off?

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I'm not dead yet, dammit.


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RESPECT
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Missing since: 19 Jul 2003
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Yes, you're on. Another reason neither Alone in the Town or I believe, whatsoever, in the In Water ending: it goes against everything James is in Silent Hill 2. He's not in town for himself, but for Mary; he isn't selfishly there, & he's certainly not there to kill himself--the most selfish act one can commit.

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This post is the property of its author and is not to be used elsewhere without explicit permission from the author.

. . . AND THAT'S THAT.


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Historical Society Historian
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Missing since: 27 Aug 2003
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Ahh, all right, then.

I almost want to say that I'm sorry that there isn't many opposition to this theory--but then I don't want to jinx myself because I suck at arguing..

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I'm not dead yet, dammit.


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RESPECT
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Missing since: 19 Jul 2003
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Well, I could go off on how I don't believe the monsters or the [otherside], for example, are James' doing--but rather Mary's--but it doesn't have any suasion on the discussion-at-hand, really.

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This post is the property of its author and is not to be used elsewhere without explicit permission from the author.

. . . AND THAT'S THAT.


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Historical Society Historian
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Missing since: 15 Apr 2004
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If you want opposition to your theory, or any theory, post it on GameFAQs. Those children will argue about the damnedest things.

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Historical Society Historian
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Which is why I said "almost.." I've heard about those people on there. Sandy vaginas all over the place, and panties in knots so tight they'll pounce on almost anything.

Heh, okay I'm just going to wait for this topic to diiiiiie the slow death.

_________________
I'm not dead yet, dammit.


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Just Passing Through
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Waiiit....

wait...





There it is ----------> Dead Topic :)

_________________
love walked alone
the rocks cut her tender feet,
and the brambles tore her fair limbs.
there came a companion to her,
but, alas, he was no help,
for his name was heart's pain.


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Historical Society Historian
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Missing since: 09 Mar 2004
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Great post duckie.
But there is still one thing that I consider to be important. Yes, Mary was suffering a lot and I too think that James was just trying to put an end to her misery. But Mary was incoherent. Some times she would just say that she was better off dead, other times she mentions that she doesn't want to die at all.

Taking this into consideration I raise the usual question: Who was James to decide that she was better off dead? Mary wasn't sure if she wanted to die or not.
That is why I also agree with Adversary when he said that some of the monsters are Mary's creation. To me, she was trying to make James remember about everything that happened.

Sorry if I am already touching some points you wrote... I read everything, but by the time I got to write this post I just forgot some points.... (me being totally brainless)!


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 Post subject:

i just know got reading this its like the best thing on the hole freaking forum!!!!!!!!!!!! what was matilica manic talking about i like it he might have known this before but it was a exellent post


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Just Passing Through
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OK, I'll be the devil's advocate (but not entirely so).

I don't think it comes down to something as simple as whether James did it out of mercy or out of selfishness. So many things factor in to highly emotional situations that both of these can be true simultaneously.

I honestly believe that James hated Mary during her illness. I also believe that he loved her dearly as well (strong emotions are bred by strong emotions). People always want some source to blame for misfortune (whether it be a person or god), and when there is no real blame to be placed, it is often misplaced onto someone or something else. Obviously, it was not logical for him to blame Mary for her illness, but who else was there for him to blame? The doctors could have been a possibility, since they were unable to cure her. The thing is, Mary lashed out at James because of her fear and sickness, and actions such as that can make it hard to see someone as a victim. Plus, it would likely have been easy to think back at times when Mary possibly did not quite care for herself as she should have and use that as an excuse to blame her, regardless of how ridiculous this may sound when considered with a clear head (an angry, frustrated mind can be quite creative).

James did love Mary up until the day he killed her—I don't question that in the least. It wasn't the only emotion that drove him though. I think his frustration with the situation along with Mary's bitter words towards him bred and anger that disrupted his thought processes. As human beings, we often have conflicting thoughts and desires, and the inability to reconcile these desires often causes mental distress (and even mental illness). We want to believe that people can be labeled as a "good" person or a "bad" person, when, in fact, we all have desires that inhibit us from fitting neatly into either category.

I think that everyone can relate to situations in which emotions are high and how we often do not use our best judgment when placed in them. For example, I recently have had some bouts with insomnia, and I find myself being less patient with people and quick to, for lack of a better term, get snippy. Thinking about all that James and Mary were dealing with, I think it's very reasonable to think that things escalated far beyond what they ever would have otherwise.

So, did James kill Mary out of selfishness? Yes, to a degree, but it was also with the intention of being merciful and freeing her (actually both of them) from the torment of her illness. And I think it was the fact that he did truly love her caused confusion and made him mentally unstable, and his experience in Silent Hill is finally considering what he has done and how he can move on.

The In Water ending has always seemed the most likely to me, since I do believe that his love for Mary was so great that he cannot conceive of a life without her. Leave bothers me because it was Mary who had the relationship to Laura, and considering their interactions during the game, I can't her wanting to be with him. The Maria ending is out, unless you want to believe the worst of James. I've read the Adversary's theory about the Rebirth ending, but it just doesn't work for me, as I don't see the possibility of James and Mary living together after he killed her. Even if she did not remember what happened, he would, and I think knowing he was capable of such an act would continue to haunt him.

Anyway, that's my take on it. Like I said, I'm not entirely being a devil's advocate here, but I do think that both interpretations of why James killed Mary are true, but only when considered together.


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Historical Society Historian
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Missing since: 27 Aug 2003
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Oh man, I didn't know this would ever get bumped back up.. I'm not really going to try and argue with you, leo, since I understand what you're saying and your position on it, and since the topic is left mostly (if not entirely) up to a person to decide whether it's selfish or selfless act it'll just go around in circles if an argument is started.. So, yes. An interesting post and perspective; thank you for sharing both. :)

_________________
I'm not dead yet, dammit.


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Just Passing Through
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Missing since: 27 Jun 2004
Notes left: 119
Yeah, my intention isn't really to argue (I think we all see enough of that around here). This is just how I see the game. It's what makes the most sense to me.


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