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  • Sybolism in Buffy

    Let's discuss symbolism. What do the cats in "Graduation Day" and "Restless" symbolize? How does light metaphors work in Buffy? What meaning can you take from the naming scheme in the show? What does snow symbolize in "Amends"? What role does dualism play in the show? What meaning can we give to the cheese man in "Restless"? There are no wrong questions and no wrong answers? Let's have some fun!!

  • #2
    What do the cats in "Graduation Day" and "Restless" symbolize?
    In "Graduation Day," the cat symbolizes Faith. When Buffy asks what will happen to the cat, she's referring to Faith herself. She is a stray cat. With no home, surviving in whatever situation she's in. In "Restless," Miss Kitty Fantastiko's slow-mo mirrors the First Slayer advancing on Willow. Like the cat, the First Slayer is ready to pounce.

    What does snow symbolize in "Amends"?
    Rejuvenation. Like forest fires or floods, the natural occurrence -- in this case, snow -- is cleansing sins.

    What meaning can we give to the cheese man in "Restless"?
    You think you know what you are. What's to come. You haven't even begun. Like the iconic line, the cheese symbolizes that the characters have yet to age. Or something like that...
    sigpic

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    • #3
      I didn't think the cheese guy meant anything in Restless, that was the point in him, he was just there to show that they were all dreaming because there is usually one thing in your dreams that you can't really explain, but he's there all the same.
      sigpic

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      • #4
        The Body is another episode with strong symbolic undercurrents. What's the meaning of the subject of Dawn's art class ("negative space")? What higher significance is there in the blue shirt that Willow can't find, and in Anya's finding and ignoring it? What about the vampire in the morgue?

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        • #5
          What's the meaning of the subject of Dawn's art class ("negative space")?
          This is the hardest question of all of them, in my opinion and I'd say that in terms of the scene the statue represents Joyce who is now still like a statue and the concept of the negative space represents the people who have been left behind and are having to deal with the loss surrounding the death of the character (negative space).

          What higher significance is there in the blue shirt that Willow can't find, and in Anya's finding and ignoring it?
          This is simple, it shows how everybody reacts differently to things, Willow obsesses about insignificant things, such as her clothing, wherein Anya is more obsessive about how she doesn't understand the concept of humane death. When Anya discards the sweater it shows this even more with Anya finding the one thing Willow is looking for, the one thing that Willow thinks will make something better and Anya just ignores it because to her it doesn't matter, it's just inanimate.

          What about the vampire in the morgue?
          I think this has dual representation, in one case it represents the contrast between the supernatural world and the human world with Joyce just staying dead because of her aneurysm, but the vampire rising again after being dead. It also shows the idea of having to continue your day-to-day life, such as your job, even though you're hurting because somebody's dead, you're not and you need to carry on, which is Buffy killing the vampire.
          sigpic

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Matt View Post
            What's the meaning of the subject of Dawn's art class ("negative space")?
            This is the hardest question of all of them, in my opinion and I'd say that in terms of the scene the statue represents Joyce who is now still like a statue and the concept of the negative space represents the people who have been left behind and are having to deal with the loss surrounding the death of the character (negative space).
            Beautifully put, that makes perfect sense. I love how the visual symbolism is mirrored in the scene's audio: We don't get to hear Dawn's breakdown, but by "drawing the edges", the scene allows us to fill in the silence for ourselves and we know precisely what it is that we don't hear.
            What higher significance is there in the blue shirt that Willow can't find, and in Anya's finding and ignoring it?
            This is simple, it shows how everybody reacts differently to things, Willow obsesses about insignificant things, such as her clothing
            I think there's more to it than that. That point is certainly present in the scene, but there is no need for a missing shirt to make it; merely showing her discarding the ones that she can find one after the other carries it perfectly.
            My take is this: She's searching for the shirt in the same way that she's searching for inner strength ("Strong like an Amazon"). I just checked the Color symbolism wikipedia article ("Purple means royalty"), and blue stands for calmness and strength, so that matches nicely. Eventually, she finds that strength, because Xander's childishness forces her to concentrate on the people around her rather than on herself, maybe? At that point, the shirt becomes unimportant.
            What about the vampire in the morgue?
            I think this has dual representation, in one case it represents the contrast between the supernatural world and the human world with Joyce just staying dead because of her aneurysm, but the vampire rising again after being dead. It also shows the idea of having to continue your day-to-day life, such as your job, even though you're hurting because somebody's dead, you're not and you need to carry on, which is Buffy killing the vampire.
            Yeah, those make sense to me. The external struggle could also be meant to symbolize an internal struggle, but I can't quite make that match up yet...
            kassyopeia
            Cutting Room Florist
            Last edited by kassyopeia; 02-08-08, 06:26 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Weredog View Post
              What do the cats in "Graduation Day" and "Restless" symbolize?
              In "Graduation Day," the cat symbolizes Faith. When Buffy asks what will happen to the cat, she's referring to Faith herself. She is a stray cat. With no home, surviving in whatever situation she's in. In "Restless," Miss Kitty Fantastiko's slow-mo mirrors the First Slayer advancing on Willow. Like the cat, the First Slayer is ready to pounce.
              The cat can also represent the true "name" of the slayer, the slayer's purpose, her future. In the case of faith, "faith feels this dilema should be able to take care of itself," While in Restless they are searching for the name, forshadowing how buffy will soon be searching for what it means to be a slayer, searching for it's "true name".

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              • #8
                I find it fascinating that the writers have the ability to incorporate the symolic undertones on a television show with vampires and demons. I find it even more fascinating that people have the ability to detect and examine the symbolism in which each seemingly simplistic character or event or object.
                ...except for bunnies

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                • #9
                  I just looked up the flower from Willow's first scene in "Lessons", and it seems to have a bunch of symbolic connotations. Thoughts?
                  Code:
                  ANGLE: A FLOWER
                  
                  Which she is causing to (CGI time-lapse) grow in front of her.
                  
                  Giles comes to Willow and her flower, which is finished.
                  
                  GILES
                  That doesn't belong there.
                  
                  She doesn't look back at him. Just quietly agrees:
                  
                  WILLOW
                  No, it doesn't.
                  
                  GILES
                  Passiflora caerulea, native to
                  Paraguay, if my botany serves.

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                  • #10
                    Well, for one, it serves to show that no, Giles's botany does not, in fact, serve. :P

                    Maybe it serves as a symbol for Willow seeking redemption for her mistakes (since Jesus died for the sins of mankind). Giles also tries to teach Willow a lesson about everything being connected, what with different parts of the flower representing different things which unite in one concept. And then there's the presence of cyanide in the leaves of the plant, symbolizing the duality of things - Willow, usually gentle and non-confrontational, can become dangerous depending on the circumstances. Which then goes back to her quest for redemption, also symbolized by the flower. And there's the fact that the flower comes from the ground, and is a part of nature - "from beneath you, it devours". It symbolizes the ascent of the First, who albeit evil (poisonous), can disguise itself in many ways and cannot really ever be exterminated because it's an integral part of existence.

                    Maybe.

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                    • #11
                      I like to think that the cheese man in Restless has no symbolism. Or rather, he is a symbol of our need to find meaning in everything. I truly believe Joss Whedon put the Cheese Man there to make every single viewer rack their minds trying to come up with a meaning for the Cheese man. He is there to simply make us go "huh". He means nothing.

                      Willow's changing of the shirts and not being able to find a certain shirt is a scene on how we deal with grief. Xander puts his fist through a wall, Anya can't understand it, and Willow changes her shirt. It is a show of nerves...she is stressed, grieving and very upset...trying to find the right shirt is like an outlet for the emotion. (or that thought could just be me...i like to babble).

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                      • #12
                        I like to think the Cheese Man simply embodies cheese and how awesome it is. He is there to remind us that cheese is frickin' great and is useful not only in everyday life, but in our dreams. 'I wear the cheese, it does not wear me', I see as a reminder to wear a little cheese, but to not let it take over your entire wardrobe, as you could get eaten alive by mice. To conclude, it's a pretty hefty symbol.

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                        • #13
                          I think it's a foreshadowing of the "keeping stinky yak cheese in my bra" line in "Wrecked", personally.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by miscjj06 View Post
                            What meaning can we give to the cheese man in "Restless"?
                            "I wear the cheese, it does not wear me."

                            That pretty much sums it up, I think.
                            Cordially,
                            Amuk

                            I didn't jump. I took a tiny step, and there conclusions were.
                            Addicted to Buffy

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by kassyopeia View Post
                              I think it's a foreshadowing of the "keeping stinky yak cheese in my bra" line in "Wrecked", personally.
                              Willow wears the cheese, it does not wear her...oh, that's deep, about her control of the magicks vs its control of her. Why did I never see this before?


                              -- Robofrakkinawesome BANNER BY FRANCY --

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore View Post
                                Willow wears the cheese, it does not wear her...oh, that's deep, about her control of the magicks vs its control of her. Why did I never see this before?
                                See, we can find symbolism in something that Joss never meant to have meaning. It is unintended meaning, often the best kind. It allows us to be creative.

                                I think the flower not only represents Willows search for redemption but also her search for salvation, for that was the point of christ dying on the cross.

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by miscjj06 View Post
                                  See, we can find symbolism in something that Joss never meant to have meaning. It is unintended meaning, often the best kind. It allows us to be creative.
                                  Exactly! So much of the Jossverse is about unintended meanings, after all ("That came out x-er than I intended" type lines or "that ended up in a different place than it started").

                                  I think the flower not only represents Willows search for redemption but also her search for salvation, for that was the point of christ dying on the cross.
                                  Oh, and the cookies metaphor extends the Christ imagery that attaches to Buffy, with her sacrifice/rebirth/saviour of the human race/hangs out with people with dark pasts/God (well, Oz and Buffy are kinda friends...).

                                  Like Buffy, when Christ is done baking/dying for our sins, we eat him. We enjoy warm, delicious this-is-my-body Christ


                                  -- Robofrakkinawesome BANNER BY FRANCY --

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore View Post
                                    Oh, and the cookies metaphor extends the Christ imagery that attaches to Buffy, with her sacrifice/rebirth/saviour of the human race/hangs out with people with dark pasts/God (well, Oz and Buffy are kinda friends...).

                                    Like Buffy, when Christ is done baking/dying for our sins, we eat him. We enjoy warm, delicious this-is-my-body Christ
                                    *flaps hands excitedly* Ohhh, that works on so many levels, since the flower happens to be actually edible. Mix that with the concepts of manna and cannibalism we can have a lovely religious war right here!

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by kassyopeia View Post
                                      *flaps hands excitedly* Ohhh, that works on so many levels, since the flower happens to be actually edible. Mix that with the concepts of manna and cannibalism we can have a lovely religious war right here!
                                      Oh what a lovely war!

                                      (I'm sure that's a play.)

                                      Also, someone (Gnarl) literally tried to eat Willow. But, as pennance for her own sins (in Same Time, Same Place, she was atoney) instead of as a sin-redemption proxy server


                                      -- Robofrakkinawesome BANNER BY FRANCY --

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                                      • #20
                                        What does everyone think about the symbolism of outfit colors? For example, in suprise buffy is wearing white pretty much exclusively and even angel is wearing white during the morning bedroom scene. However, after they do it, they both switch to a darker color scheme. The same can be said of willow in bargining. In the begining of the episoid, especially when summoning the deer, she is wearing white, but in the scences after killing the deer she is wearing red as though she was wearing the deer's blood. And then when doing the spell her robes are mostly black, intensifying the dark magics involved in doing the spell. Does anyone want to come up with any other examples of costume symbolism?

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