The previous chapter of my Backstreet Boys fanfic elicited some comment from the fans. (If you’ll recall, it was based on the plays of the VT shooter.)
A summary of my responses is provided below:
I feel I must defend my work here.
In short, this chapter is a postmodern retelling of the US gun culture mythos through the lens of popular entertainment. Beyond that, however, we see the seeds of AJ’s character arc at this point in the story.
Earlier, I mentioned Nick’s “alchemical, transformational journey.” There are three major stages in alchemy:
1) Nigredo (i.e. blackening)
2) Albedo (i.e. whitening)
3) Rubedo (i.e. reddening)
The first stage, the blackening, is ultimately a confrontation with one’s Jungian Shadow. In chapters 1 and 2, we saw Nick’s psychic devolution, and now, in Chapter 3, we are witnessing the same in AJ.
One might even argue that the character of Mr. Brownstool is the physical manifestation of AJ’s shadow. More importantly, the text itself is devolving as a kind of self-referential nod to our collective devolution as a wider society (cf. the events of the last few days).
“Are we not men?” would be my question to you.
As Joseph Campbell used to say, you’re focusing on denotation and missing the connotation. From Wikipedia:
“Carl Jung saw alchemy as a Western proto-psychology dedicated to the achievement of individuation; in his interpretation, alchemy was the vessel by which Gnosticism survived its various purges into the Renaissance. In this sense, Jung viewed alchemy as comparable to a Yoga of the West. Jung also interpreted Chinese alchemical texts in terms of his analytical psychology as means to individuation.”
To quote Hamlet, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
Like I said, the first stage of the journey involves confrontation with the shadow. I don’t think it’s at all a reach to suggest that, for a man who identifies himself as “straight”, this might lead to an exploration of latent homosexual desires.
And now I present Chapter 4 in this riveting saga…
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