I didn’t write about the last couple issues, not because they weren’t great (they were!), but because they didn’t include any quotes that I thought were worth looking at more closely. But this one certainly did.
Early in this issue, Shadow is entering the realm of the dead, after being sacrificed on the World Tree. He meets a cat woman, who seems to be some sort of spirit guide in the underworld. When Shadow inquires about her nature, her response is very intriguing.
Shadow: What are you? Who are you people?
Cat-woman: Think of us as symbols — we’re the dream humanity creates to make sense of the shadows on the cave wall.
This immediately made me think of Plato’s allegory of the cave from The Republic. Everything we perceive in this reality is but a shadow of a form that exists in another plane of existence. And we cannot comprehend the forms in their true essence, so we must approach them through the use of symbolism, which allows our subconscious mind fleeting glimpses of understanding, impressions of what thrives beyond our limited scope of awareness.
I know this is heavy stuff, and Gaiman’s work is very complex. But that said, he is a master storyteller, so he presents heady material within the structure of fun and imaginative tales.
That’s all I have to share for today. Thanks for stopping by.
This issue concludes the “Last Days of Magic” arc, and just like the previous installments, the artwork, story, and symbolism is supreme.
I want to focus this post on pain and how the way we choose to deal with pain affects our physical and mental health. Within this tale, it comes to light that Doctor Strange has been hiding away his suffering, the result is the creation of a monster which is the physical manifestation of his repressed pain. I found this to be an accurate representation of what happens when an individual locks away personal anguish and trauma. That pain grows and festers within the individual until it becomes an internal monster, gnawing away at a person’s physical and mental well-being. For this reason, it is important to share your pain, because pain shared is pain lessened.
And this is what finally happens to Doctor Strange. People who the Doctor helped in the past now make themselves open to sharing and taking on a part of the Doctor’s suffering. When this happens, the monster which Strange created by hiding away his pain begins to weaken and lose its power.
Monster: I can feel them… sharing your suffering. All over the world. All of their own accord. How… how do you inspire such devotion?
When I was growing up, it was common for people to hide their feelings. To show emotion was to show weakness. Thankfully, more and more people these days recognize the importance of sharing your pain with others. It is very therapeutic and leads one to live a more happy and serene life.
This issue is the third installment of the “Last Days of Magic” arc. While the story and the artwork are both great, it was this one panel, this one quote, that really connected with me.
“One book can change the world.” This is so true. In fact, one idea, one thought, or one action can change the world. This is why I read and promote reading to others. Major changes in history have resulted from a spark of inspiration, often from a book, poem, or other work of art. This is why the humanities are so important and should be supported by our educational system.
I really have nothing else to say; this quote sums it all up succinctly. Now, go read something and get inspired to change the world.