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[[WMG: James is a burgeoning serial killer, and Silent Hill (2) is a reflection of his psychosis.]] Major unmasked spoilers ahead. The major supposition of this WMG is that the Silent Hill presented in the second game is unrelated to the town in the other games, and is instead a product of James's mind. You can (if you like this theory, which I do) find a lot of evidence and interpretation to support this. First of all, the biggest jumping-off point is the highly sexualized nature of the violence and monsters in the game. A lot of players seem to assume that this is a product of James's repression due to not having had a sexual relationship since Mary's death. I believe, however, that it indicates, instead, a sexually sadistic streak in James--put simply, he's a misogynist who gets off on hurting and killing women. Look at the mannequins, for example: they're composed solely of the lower half of the female body, which can easily be interpreted as a tendency toward objectification of women. The nurses are similar, nurse outfits and sexy female nurses being a common fetish or fantasy. The abstract daddy monsters are symbols of sexual violence and exploitation against a female character, who later simply gives up and dies. In fact, almost all the female characters in this game represent misogynistic ideation. Angela is sexually abused by her father, kills him, and then gives in to her own despair and disappears (we can assume that she dies, or maybe was Dead All Along), which makes her a sort of archetype of the woman as victim. Her mother was an uncaring woman who not only knew about the abuse but told Angela that she deserved it! Woman as villain. Maria represents a number of things in the game, but her overtly and inappropriately sexual behavior can be seen as woman as tempter/seducer and her multiple violent deaths, usually incorporating or shortly following a sexually suggestive theme show James's disdain for women and possibly even a disgust or fear of female sexuality (at least as relates to his interactions with women). This image is taken further during the fight with the 'lustful lips' after Laura locks you into the office in the hospital--the monsters in question are, essentially, female genitalia encased in a bed frame. This suggests a character who feels threatened by female sexuality. Speaking of Laura, she is only female in the game not portrayed in an overtly negative fashion, and even she's shown as annoying and often provokes James to irritation or hampers his progress, interesting since she's also the only female in the game who is even vaguely capable or surviving without his interference or protection. The lack of negativity could be tied into the fact that Laura is not viewed as a sexual object--she's a child, not yet having achieved puberty, and therefore not threatening in the same way that a grown woman would be. However, her relationship with Mary brings to mind the idea that eventually, Laura too will grow up and become just another woman, which makes James react somewhat more negatively to her. Pyramid Head, likewise, is manifestation of James (this is played pretty overtly in the game). James says towards the end of the game that he ''created'' Pyramid Head as a means of punishment. Specifically, Pyramid Head is presumed to be a manifestation of James's guilt over killing Mary, who is now punishing James for his crimes. However, Pyramid Head can also be read as a personification of James's misogyny, because he/it is often shown raping and killing other (female) monsters as well as killing Maria (the sexual temptress) in a VERY sexually suggestive way by "penetrating" her body with his spear. Thus, Pyramid Head punishes females for their perceived sins or weaknesses, just as James, in a sense, punished Mary for her weakness (her illness) which he says took over his life (because he had to take care of her). James being able to later acquire and use Pyramid Head's great knife is also an interesting connection between the two. It's not until James is able to somewhat recognize these tendencies that Pyramid Head is defeated and James can move on to his final confrontation. All well and good, but where do I get "serial killer" out of this, you ask. Well, aside from the fact that violent misogyny is a hallmark of many, many real-life serial killers, there's the fact of James's relationship with and--more importantly--preoccupation with Mary and her death. Many serial killers' first victim is someone close to them, and often that first murder will take place early in life, with subsequent killings happening years later and usually more frequently. Many such killers also follow a pattern of killing victims who have some perceived or symbolic similarity to that first victim. In James's case, killing Mary would be his first murder. His preoccupation with her and her death, combined with the misogynist tendencies discussed above, would lead to the subsequent killings. Maria represents his victim archetype: a woman who is visually reminiscent of Mary, whom he had grown to hate, and who is blatantly and inappropriately seductive. (It's worth noting that James reacts with anger and sometimes disgust to her innuendos, while at the same time trying to sneak a peek down her blouse when her back is turned.) This is particularly evident if you believe that Mary was actually created by Silent Hill as an amalgamation of James's feelings about women. She dresses and acts provocatively, is implied to be a stripper or involved with the strip club (given that she has keys to the locks on the club's door), and is physically fragile and weak, needing James to protect her from monsters and being unable to keep up with him because she tires easily. She's also shown coughing and taking medicine, similar to the way we see Mary in flashbacks, which indicates that illness is also an aspect of James's victim profile. During the cutscene that precedes the final boss fight (which is also with a female entity), the boss can be either Mary or Maria, depending on the player's actions during the game. Mary in that scene represents James's guilt over and preoccupation with his proto-victim, while Maria symbolizes his hatred of women in general. The boss fight is James's struggle to overcome his murderous urges. The various endings indicate the various possible outcomes of that struggle. James can become consumed by his obsession with Mary, neither able to forgive himself (and her) and move on, nor willing to wholly give in to his hatred, leading to the In Water ending where he kills himself to end the conflict. In the Leave ending, James is able to come to terms with his past crimes and the darker side of himself and to move beyond it, with raising Laura as a chance at redemption. In the Maria ending, however, James is unable to overcome his misogyny, feels himself justified in killing Mary, and is likely to repeat the same sequence of events, with Maria representing his future victims. There's also some tangential evidence that suggests that this version of Silent Hill is most a symbolic representation of James's mental landscape, with many of the newspaper clippings and other scraps of paper you encounter dealing with other murderers and mental patients, as well as the odd little detail in which, if/when you return to the area where you killed your first monster, it's surrounded by police tape. Eddie is also clearly well on the way to becoming a sociopath, and he's one of the first characters James encounters, as well as the only fully-human character James actually kills. Overall, this WMG seems to make a lot of sense, especially if you're not too concerned about tying SH2 in with the other games in the series. I think the game works better as a standalone story set in the same universe as the other games but with a plot that's not actually related to them. ** I think you've hit on a lot of good points with the misogyny and fear of sexuality that seems to be present in the game, but I don't think that it's a fear of female sexuality, I think it's a fear of male heterosexuality...specifically, James' fear of his own sexuality. James is wracked with guilt and self-loathing after Mary's death. He can't get past the fact that he is a murderer, he's murdered his beloved wife. He sees himself as a predator, as something loathsome and disgusting. Therefore I think that all of the imagery of violence against women and sexual violence is a manifestation of his self-hatred and guilt being thrown back at him, saying "this is what you are" because he feels that he needs to be punished for what he did, continually reminded that he is a monster. I also think that he is dealing with the sexual frustration of having a recently departed wife. It seemed to me that Mary's illness was quite long, and, I think it was stated in the game, physically debilitating. We can safely assume that in the time that James was taking care of Mary, he wasn't [[IfYouKnowWhatIMean getting any]], and, considering the way that Mary treated him during that time, it isn't that much of a stretch to imagine that he might have entertained the thought of cheating on her. I think that at one point in the game Angela accuses James of wanting to be rid of Mary because he "wanted someone new" or something like that. He may have had these feelings, but would not act on them, and perhaps felt deeply ashamed of them. This I think is part of what Maria represents, as she is both appealing and repulsive to James. He might have, in his guilt and shame, seen his own sexual desire as dirty and a betrayal to Mary, who he also betrayed by killing. In conclusion, I don't think James is a budding serial killer, he just has issues. [[WMG: Is Henry really the killer?]] Yes. Yes he is. Think about it here. Isn't it odd that all the people he meets wind up dying horribly? Isn't it strange that no one else can see these "Holes" he does? My theory goes like this: In Joseph's notes he remarks that he dug up the grave of Walter Sullivan and found it empty. Does that sound like the action of a sane man? This troper's opinion is as follows: Joseph, in fact, became obsessed with Walter Sullivan's crimes and the cult, prompted by Walter's spiritual presence. Joseph then began the killings all over again (You'll notice the killings stop completely until Joseph starts writing about them. In other words the resumption of the killings and Joseph's research on Sullivan started at around the same time) At this point, much of Joseph's writing reads as the work of a deeply unstable mind. He's unaware of what he does when he's "Walter", only seeing the aftermath-- just as Henry does. Finally, he takes his own life in horror, unwilling to keep participating, unaware that he is now a part of the evil that claimed Walter Sullivan. Then Henry moves into the apartment building. Here's where things get complicated. It's possible that he learns of Walter Sullivan and indeed finds the corpse behind the wall BEFORE the events of the game. Henry is clearly mentally unstable. An introverted loner who likes watching his young female neighbor through a hole in the wall? If that's not a sign he's not all there, I don't know what is. We also know he's been to Silent Hill before. He seems to think the trip was uneventful but I believe that his memories are false, just like those of James Sunderland-- A cover to keep him from remembering what really happened. While there, he was touched by the darkness of the town and learned of Walter Sullivan, a rather notorious murderer (the Bundy or Gein of the Silent Hill universe). The Hole doesn't in fact exist. He's not locked in, he's locked the rest of the world out. He clearly doesn't get along with people at all, evidenced by his lack of emotion (he's practically a robot) and so has sealed himself in his appartment with the diary of Joseph. The "Scraps" that are pushed under his door are in fact left there by his own hand. He "Rediscovers" them because his subconscious is trying to force him toward a revelation and show him he's not in control. The places he visits aren't accessed by holes, but on foot. The car that we see in the "Forest World" is in fact the car he drove there in, hence its open door and proximity to him. He's driven all the way to Silent Hill, then blacked out once more. When he blacks out again he drives back there. Then the victims. Cynthia's death is perhaps the most shocking, but it's heavily suggested that Henry has issues with women, given his voyeuristic spying on Eileen. When Cynthia teases him it causes some kind of break in his mind and the "Other" takes control (much like the main character of Lost Highway, a movie Silent Hill has referenced more than once). His brutal assault of Cynthia is motivated by his own sexual frustration (such frustration being a common series theme, see the monsters of Silent Hill 2). Her "Dying words" are all in his head, as she is in fact already dead. Think about it. Her last words are regret she never got to have sex with him? Unlikely. But Henry objectifies women; he's unable to see them as anything but sex objects, hence dressing Eileen in a stereotypical "nurses' outfit". Jasper knows too much and is the only survivor of the Walter Sullivan killings. The "Other" prompts Henry to kill him but knows enough to wait until the time is right. He lures Jasper into the house (We don't see Jasper visibly enter the "Wish House" because the story is told from Henry's normal frame of reference and he won't acknowledge that he was who lured Jasper into the Wish House) When Jasper talks about meeting the "Devil" he's actually referring to Henry, whom he now recognizes as a sociopath. Henry is actually the one who sets him on fire and carves the numbers into his chest, but he externalizes it. It's easier for him to see Jasper commit suicide than admit that he's done such terrible things. Incidentally, Henry can read the childish writing that he finds in the Forest World just fine. His "Other" understands that this is the bloody tale of Walter's early life and how he suffered during it. But Henry won't or can't accept that, and tries to block out all conscious knowledge of Sullivan and his crimes. He's in a psychic fugue state, unable to comprehend the reality of his situation. That's why Eileen can read the writing just fine: unlike Henry, she's not delusional. Desalvo is a scumbag and, with Henry inheriting Joseph's knowledge of the Wish House, he would know all about the cruel, evil stuff Desalvo was involved with. The "Other" will want to murder him, but can't, because he's safely locked in a prison cell. Think about it. Desalvo is perfectly safe while locked away. Nothing has attempted to harm him. But the MINUTE Henry unlocks the door, the "Child Walter" manifests. On how Desalvo can see it if this is all just part of Henry's warped psyche: it's necessary to remember that Silent Hill has a way of manifesting characters' inner thoughts. The "Child Walter" is made manifest because Desalvo is linked to Walter's childhood in Henry's mind. Henry, having been directed by the "Other" to free Desalvo (who likely locked himself in the prison cell to keep himself safe). He then hunts him down and drowns him in the very room in which the other children were tortured. Henry then regains control and comes face to face with Desalvo's corpse. Note that Desalvo has no last words; because Henry had no emotional connection with Desalvo, his subconscious needed not craft a death scene for him. Blacking out again, Henry returns to the apartment, where he sees more of his neighbor, Richard Braintree. More importantly, he sees him with Eileen, the subject of his unhealthy fixation. So the "Other" suggests the perfect thing to do... KILL HIM. Kill Richard, it tells him, and Eileen can be ours. So he kidnaps Richard. All Richard's lines about coming through a "Hole" are purely in Henry's head, which is why Richard abandons him. Again, think about it. Why would Richard leave Henry behind? It's because he has no idea what Henry is talking about. He's saying things that Henry is hearing completely differently, his mind having substituted a different reality. Note that when Richard encounters the "Child Walter", Henry sees the encounter from afar, in a lift. It is in fact Henry himself who Richard is speaking too, or rather "The Other". The Henry in the lift is Henry's normal personality. He views his split personality (the "Other") as Walter in his child form and views the interaction this way because he feels trapped. He's in a lift that looks like a cage, unable to make himself heard or seen. This symbolizes his personality being submerged and imprisoned. He can see what his "other" is doing but cannot stop them or interfere. The lift descending is a sign of Henry's original personality being further and further submerged. Much of what follows is all in his head. When he finally comes to see Richard he's already dying, but Henry only makes a half-hearted attempt to rescue him. Richard stutters about the 11121 man, but he's not talking about a phantom. He's saying Henry IS the 11121 man. The final victim, Eileen, is the most important. Throughout the game we've seen how obsessed Henry is with her. He's clearly a sexually frustrated man, happy to look but unwilling to get near to people. His obvious discomfort when Cynthia offers him a "Special Favour" speaks volumes. The message "Better check on your neighbor soon!" is his subconscious trying to warn him of what his split personality wants to do. He leaves his apartment, something he can suddenly do with ease, and proceeds to confront Cynthia in her apartment. She's horrified by his advances on her, as she barely knows him. In a rage, he brutally assaults her. When his conscious mind takes over he is horrified by what he's seeing and so has to create an external source. The "Child Walter" is his scapegoat. Now here is where it gets even more complicated. Henry is said to be the "Receiver of Wisdom". Some take this to mean learning of Walter Sullivan's crimes but I believe it actually means he's meant to confront what he's become. That is why he's taken to the various sights of his crimes: to be shown the truth. Think about it. In the Hospital he regresses to an inhuman state and rips the heart from a corpse, disgusting himself so much that he once again manifests the "Other" as Walter. However, he's now beginning to lose his grip on his innocence, and so manifests Walter as an adult. Children in Silent Hill have previously been used as a symbol of innocence (e.g. Laura from SH2), and his "Other" now appearing as an adult is his subconscious slowly helping him understand his corruption. The nurses Henry sees in the hospital are, in fact, real people whom he gleefully kills, once again demonstrating his issues with women (as with James). He makes them appear monstrous because he view women as threatening and unequal to himself. Similarly, in one room he encounters a giant version of Eileen's head, making sexual moaning sounds. That's all he sees Eileen as: a pretty face, a sex object. Her personality doesn't matter as he's never bothered to learn anything about her. He's interested only in her looks and sex. When he finds Eileen, the interaction between them is, of course, entirely imagined. In fact, Eileen is his captive from this point on. But he, in his desperate need for companionship, essentially turns her into his sidekick in his mind. Think about it: Would a badly injured woman, barely able to walk, having just suffered a horrendous assault, gladly leave hospital with a man she'd never met to trawl horrific locales? Of course not. The entire "Daring duo on an adventure" scenario is what Henry WANTS his life to be. From here it only gets worse. Eileen's injuries appear worse throughout the game because Henry is repeatedly assaulting her, and possibly doing far worse. The disjointed nonsense she speaks is his own mind beginning to break, his brain buckling under the sheer weight of his delusions and conflicting personalities. Here is where it all begins to come together. Some find the repeated revisiting of worlds boring. However, I believe it wasn't a case of filler, but the design team trying to show us something important. What happens when Henry revisits these worlds? The ghosts of the characters killed appear. What do they do? They try to kill him. Now, I cannot claim to know how a ghost thinks, but I find it unlikely they would seek revenge on a perfectly innocent man. The reason all the various spirits assault him is that he is in fact their killer. Remember that the creatures of Silent Hill's "Otherworld" are summoned by the protagonists' subconsciouses. Thus, Henry's subconscious is trying to show him his guilt by summoning these vengeful spirits into the material world. Cynthia is the most telling. The image of a girl in a pale white dress with long black hair is a famous Japanese image (made so Stateside by films like "The Grudge" and "The Ring") and in many stories she's a woman greatly wronged by a man. Which man does Cynthia attack? HENRY. This is a sign that he bears the guilt for what happened. And how does Henry immobilize said spirit if he chooses to? A "Sword of OBEDIENCE". Henry wants control, craves it. He literally pins down his prey-- forces them to stay where he wants them. In the Forest World we again see a sign of Henry's fractured psyche. The entire Wish House has burnt down. The question is: why didn't Henry remember that? He blacked out and awoke in his bed. How did he get from point A to point B? The Other took control and got him there, that's how. We also see how Eileen can read perfectly the writing Henry can't. This is because, as mentioned earlier, Henry is out of touch with reality. The "Walter" that attacks him and Eileen is in fact, HIM. His "Other" takes over at various points, causing him to attack Eileen, and when she tries to defend herself, he rationalizes it as "Walter" also attacking him. The apartment world is also telling of Henry's mental state. He knows, from the notes he gathered, that Walter thought it was his mother. So how does Henry see it? Rotting and corrupt. The Apartment World is Henry's critique of the female gender. It's the "Other" that seizes the umbilical cord from Frank Sunderland, desperate to cling to its identity versus Henry's own. By now, the "Other" and Henry are in a war for control. The Other causes adult Walter to manifest and tell Henry the tale of him meeting a young Eileen and being shown kindness by her, merely to taunt Henry, as if to say "Even this monster was shown more affection by Eileen than you ever were, Henry. You're pathetic". Henry is really starting to fall apart at the seams now. His Other continues to taunt him, moving his shoes around, turning the TV and radio off and on to show Henry that he can take control at any time, that Henry isn't in control of his own actions. The "Ghost Henry" that he sees outside his apartment is symbolic. It's his mind trying to warn him that his original personality is dying, being drowned out by the monster that is the "Other". Eileen escapes from him at this point and he rationalities it as her being "Taken" by the "Other". In a rage he smashes down the wall and re-discovers Walter's body, the body Joseph dug from the ground. Henry has, in fact, known of its existence for some time. The system of wires around it is perhaps the most disgusting part. I believe it was a sign that Henry was "Feeding" the corpse the blood of his victims, as a symbolic way of "Feeding" the "Other" and thus helping it grow in strength. Note that the items on the table are the ones James Sunderland used to resurrect Mary in one possible ending. In fact, James is referenced several times in this game. Even without the other callbacks, it's a blatant hint, tying Henry to another deeply disturbed, delusional individual. The "Always Watching" voice that Henry starts hearing around this time is the voice of the "Other", sharing his body. Indeed, his other personality is always watching Henry, and is taking pleasure in taunting him. Henry recaptures Eileen at this point, having finally been driven mad. The climax of the game is, in my opinion, actually Henry's final confrontation with himself. We see Eileen, or at least his vision of Eileen, stepping down into a huge pool of blood with an orb in the center, while a massive beast looms over her. The "Beast" represents Henry devoid of his original self, fully controlled by the "Other". Personally, I feel this is not Henry wishing to kill Eileen, but in fact his own subconscious warring over his desire to rape her and "Sacrifice" her innocence. Henry clearly objectifies Eileen throughout this scene; the blood and the helpless, powerless woman (muscular, bestial man looming over her) seem to be the ultimate expression of that. The "Walter" Henry sees is his "Other". It's him, trying to tell himself what he cannot bear to know. He even calls Henry the "Receiver of Wisdom" and actually says "It's You, Henry", but Henry refuses to acknowledge the horrible truth. Henry then begins his fight with himself, a mental battle played out as a physical one. Once again we see Henry's sexual frustration. To defeat the beast he must violently and repeatedly PENETRATE it with phallic spears. In my opinion, the real ending is the most bleak one. Henry believes he has defeated the Beast but in giving in to rage he has simply strengthened the "Other". Henry collapses to the ground, clutching his head in pain and perhaps, finally realizing what he truly is, as "Walter" laughs triumphantly. Henry rapes and murders Eileen before returning to his apartment. There, he finally finds the spirit of Walter, still a child. Walter as such may have never even been guilty of any of the crimes. He was compelled to commit the original ones in Silent Hill by the "Red Devil" mentioned in the Silent Hill 2 news report. The later crimes were committed by Joseph and Henry himself. That is why the final scene is of the child Walter lying in the room and the adult Walter dead. Henry has seen his guilt and realized what he truly is. The adult Walter is Henry, a representation of how he sees himself. The child Walter is the spirit of Walter Sullivan, finally at peace, no longer controlled by the town and no longer forced to share an apartment with those similarly affected. Another clue: At one point, in his apartment, Henry opens his fridge to find "Slabs of flesh" that later disappear. He's been storing pieces of his victims in his home. It's notable that Henry doesn't have any great reaction to this discovery, almost as if he won't let himself be shocked by it. Their subsequent disappearance is his "Other" taking over and disposing of them. Then there's the blood all over his shower, not from a supernatural source but from him washing himself off after a slaying. The "Hole" in his cupboard is actually a place he is keeping Eileen, which is why the sound of a woman sobbing is always heard whenever he goes near it. It's also the reason for all the blood around the room at various points. * I thought Joseph was the one who poked the hole in the wall? (Of course, Henry uses it inappropriately, but still.) ** Joseph is just one more facet of Henry's mania. The ghosts are brought into being by his warped mind (Because in and around Silent Hill thought and reality are more or less one) that's why their twisted versions of their true selfs. It's all part of Henry's Sullivan obsession that, like Joseph before him, lead him to commit copycat crimes. * The endings, since they are based on how much damage has been done to Eileen and how many hauntings remain in Henry's apartment, are a clue to the real endings. In ''Escape'', Eileen escapes, and Henry (his insanity suppressed along with the hauntings) doesn't go after her. In ''Mother'', she still escapes but Henry tracks her down at the hospital due to still being significantly influenced by "Walter". In ''Eileen's Death'', Henry kills Eileen but triumphs over the Walter persona by suppressing the hauntings, and in ''21 Sacraments'', Henry kills Eileen and gives in to his insanity. ** I doubt the Other wins out if Eileen is saved. I would suggest that if Eileen doesn't die, then Henry wins out over the Other no matter what, whereas if Eileen is killed, then Henry regains control of himself only after the Other is already finished with its bloody work, and thus is no longer really fighting for control. The hauntings would represent Henry's mad desire to see the twenty-one sacraments completed. Thus in Escape, Eileen doesn't escape, Henry ''lets her go'', because he has completely defeated the Other and abandoned his desire to see the twenty-one sacraments completed. In Mother, Henry doesn't kill her and, presumably, triumphs over the Other, but he continues to obsess over and dominate (or at least stalk) Eileen, even if he isn't physically hurting her anymore, which is represented by Eileen moving back to the haunted apartment shown in the Mother ending. Henry still wants to complete the twenty-one sacraments, but has achieved enough control that he's no longer willing to kill for it. In Eileen's Death, Henry frees himself of the desire to complete the 21 sacraments, but only after the Other has already slaughtered Eileen. Henry himself is the only sacrifice who escapes, the Other leaving only after it's already finished killing everyone other than itself/Henry. In '21 Sacraments,' the Other wins out completely, killing first Eileen, then Henry through suicide. *** Right, for the Mother ending, I didn't mean to imply that he killed her at or after the hospital, just that the suppressed (or gone but still influential) Other was still causing his obsession. If he makes sure to keep Eileen safe but doesn't remove all of the hauntings, it implies that Henry's protection of Eileen would be strong enough to keep him from harming her despite the Other still having a degree of influence.
[[index]] * Analysis/SilentHill2 * Analysis/SilentHill4 [[/index]] ----
This list shows the last 2 events of 2.
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