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Old 04-19-2010, 06:33 PM
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Default Avatar Analysis - The Female As The Ultimate Force For Good.

I originally posted this on the AF in December 2009. But I thought i'd post it here too. It seemed appropriate, especially since ToS specifically has a section for fan articles

The Goddess has returned, because in Avatar the female rules all.

Avatar is the retelling of the hero transition story told throughout the ages. But, in Avatar, it is astounding how powerful and positive the feminine influence is. Our hero, Jake, could not hope to achieve his quest without the significant feminine elements that guided and protected him along the way. In fact the female element is so strong, that Jake is effectively dominated by the female characters in the movie.

In many stories, the female influence can be weak and ambiguous, taking the form of both good and evil. But in Avatar there is no ambiguity. All female characters are strong and actively operate on the side of good, always aiding our hero in achieving his quest and completing his inevitable transformation throughout the story.

The female influence takes many forms that interact, overlap and even conflict with each other. But that influence is always positive and benign in its ultimate effect, consistently serving to protect, assist, nurture, love or challenge our hero.

At no point in Avatar, does the female influence oppose or hinder Jake. All supposedly negative actions by female characters never discourage our hero, but on the contrary serve to motivate him further. Sometimes they may challenge him to be a more worthy hero, but the female elements in the story never oppose him.

The main evil influence in Avatar comes from the male characters. This appears to be an inverse of the story of original sin in the Old Testament where it is the female character who is blamed for all wrongs. In Avatar, it is the male that is the source of all evil.

Below I will look at the various female characters in the show and how they help the hero and ultimately decide the fate of the story.

Just about all the main female characters in the story make a positive contribution to the Hero’s success in Avatar. Clearly Neytiri is the most significant, but the other character of Grace, Trudy, Neytiri’s mother and even Eywa also make their contributions

Neytiri is by far the most influential of all the female elements in Avatar. She is such a strong character that she effectively eclipses the Hero by her presence.

Neytiri reminds me of the the Greek Goddess of the hunt, Artemis. There is one story in Greek mythology where Artemis blinds a man who happens to see her naked while she is bathing in the woods because he is not worthy, being only a mortal. There may be a parallel when you consider that the principal phrase of affection used between Neytiri and Jake is “I see you”. Jake only uses “I see you” towards the end of the movie when he has gained the right to see his Goddess.

Neytiri the protector
It is astounding how many times that the female characters take action to save the Hero. In all, I can identify at least 15 incidents where female characters directly intervene to save Jake.

It is also astounding that Neytiri saves Jake at least 8 times in the story.
1. She saves Jake from the Viperwolves.
2. She stops Jake from falling off a tree shortly after he meets her.
3-4. She saves Jake at least two times from Tsu’tey
5. She drags Jake out of the way of the RDA Bulldozer
6-8. She saves Jake three times in the final battle, by intervening with the Thanator, killing Quaritch and finally putting on Jake’s air mask.

In addition, Neytiri spares Jake when she firsts sees him by not shooting him with the arrow. Although it is debated whether she actually saves him here. It could be argued that Neytiri's compassion and faith in Eywa protects Jake from her own ruthlessness. So in effect, Neytiri the protector saves Jake from Neytiri the killer.

In other stories, a female can act as a protector, but normally the male is either physically or psychologically weak. But in Avatar, at least in his Na’vi form, Jake is not weak at all. Yet he must be saved multiple times by the female characters to survive, demonstrating the force and superiority of the female influence in the movie.

Neytiri as nurturer/motivator
Neytiri nurtures Jake throughout the story. She is stable force that does not change. Neytiri’s circumstances and feelings change, but fundamentally she remains the same person throughout, giving our hero a firm emotional footing when facing adversity.

The most obvious example of Neytiti’s nurturing is the fact that she trains Jake in the way of the Na’vi.

One specific example during his training is when Jake must tame his Ikran. While the masculine influence of Tsu’tey jeers and discourages Jake, Neytiri gives Jake advice and encouragement, helping him to succeed.

But the best image of Neytiri as nurturer is when she is with Jake in the cabin after killing Quaritch. The giant affectionate Na’vi Neytiri beside the small crippled human Jake is reminiscent of a loving mother kissing her baby son.

Neytiri as Lover
There is always a moment when the female must show her love for her hero. It is notable that she shows her love at a peaceful moment in the middle of the movie. The act of love is not motivated by fear, tension or other negative factors.

Also, she does not show him her love simply as a reward for succeeding in his quest, as the act only takes place half way through the story. She makes love to him, simply to show him how she feels. Neytiri demonstrates the unconditional love of a Goddess for her still mortal hero. Neytiri is the Goddess Aphrodite where Jake is the mortal Adonis.

Ultimately, this act of love has a purpose as it motivate the hero even more to successfully complete the transformation required by the feminine powers. He knows his Goddess loves him and will do anything to succeed for her.

Neytiri as Damsel in Distress
Some hero stories involve saving a damsel in distress. Jake saves Neytiri directly only once in the whole movie, attacking Quaritch in the final battle while Neytiri is trapped under the Thanator. The only other female character that Jake saves is Eywa, and I address that point below.

This demonstrates the power of the female. Jake saves Neytiri once, while she saves him at least nine times. That is a true demonstration of female supremacy.

Neytiri as the Goddess of Fate
There are moments in the movie where the feminine powers take direct action to alter events in the story to their will without any action from the Hero.

Neytiri’s Goddess of Fate moment is the final battle. In avatar, the Hero does not kill the villain. It is Neytiri who kills the villain, and then proceeds to save the Hero immediately afterwards.

Quaritch is not Jake’s dark self. He is simply a malevolent power who opposes the hero and ultimately the female powers. So there is no requirement for Jake to kill Quaritch for him to complete his transformation. Thus, after Jake carries out his primary function of saving Neytiri (and Eywa previously) and has completed his quest, the Goddess of Fate no longer needs the villain and kills him herself via Neytiri’s bow.

In effect, the final battle ends with the principal female character showing the absolute supremacy of the feminine over the masculine. In killing the principal male villain and saving the principal male hero at the same moment, Neytiri demonstrates that the female ultimately has the power over them both.

Eywa is a critically important female character in the movie. It must be remembered that Jake’s primary objective is effectively to save Eywa.

Neytiri is effectively a representation of Eywa in Na’vi form with whom the hero can interact. But Eywa as a divine being also takes active role to influence Jake. It is just that her influence is more subtle and passive.

Eywa as nurturer
Principally, Eywa acts as a nurturer and motivator by providing the environment and challenges which allow Jake to develop as a hero.

Eywa as protector
Ewya also acts as protector at least twice. The first, when the seed of Ewya lands on Neytiri’s arrow and second when the Pandora wildlife intervene in the final battle, allowing Jake to prevent the destruction off the tree of souls and ultimately defeat the RDA.

Eywa as damsel in distress
The only other female character that Jake saves is Eywa herself when he destroys the RDA bomber. As mentioned before, Ewya is a critically important character. The hero can only succeed in his transformation if he saves Eywa (symbolized by the Tree of souls and to a lesser extent the Na’vi and Neytiri). So whatever else he does, he must save Eywa to succeed. This demonstrates that the male character is bound to and dominated by the female character of Eywa. He basically only exists as a hero to serve and save Eywa, and her Na’vi representative, Neytiri.

Eywa as Goddess of Fate
Ewya is also the Goddess of Fate in that she often changes the environment that the hero finds himself in so that he can proceed with his quest.

When Jake is chased by the Thanator, it could be interpreted as Eywa forcing Jake away from the Skypeople so that he will meet the other major female influence, Neytiri. It could also be interpreted as a test to see if he is worthy of being a hero.

In landing the seed of the tree of souls on Neytiri’s arrow and later on Jake himself, she indicates that she has chosen Jake. This again demonstrates her ultimate power over the Hero. The Hero does not choose to be the hero. The Goddess chooses him.

Last edited by neytirifanboy; 06-06-2010 at 10:34 AM.
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