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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

PART 1
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 AS THE REPRESENTATIVE OF GOOD
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.

FEMALE CHARACTERS
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
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
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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Old 04-19-2010, 06:33 PM
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PART 2 (FINAL PART)

GRACE AUGUSTINE
Grace has a few moments where she has a significant impact on the progression of the hero.

Grace as motivator/nurturer
At the beginning of the movie, she shows her disdain for Jake. However, she does not prevent him from using his avatar. In consequence, all this does is challenge and motivate the hero to succeed and thus has a positive influence.

Later Grace again demonstrates her nurturing and motherly nature when she ensures Jake is properly fed and gets enough sleep while in his human state.

Grace as Protector
There is one moment where Grace also serves as protector. When Jake is confronted by the Titanothere and later the Thanator in the forest, it is Grace who gives him advice on whether to stand his ground or run. This ultimately helps Jake survive both encounters.

Grace as Goddess of Fate
When Grace finds out that Jake is talking to Quaritch, she moves the Avatar program away from Hells Gate. In this way, she directly affects the environment that Jake is working in to allow him to progress in his quest.

OTHER FEMALE CHARACTERS
Apart from Neytiri, Eywa and Grace, other female characters intervened on behalf of the hero.

Trudy Chacon acts as Jake’s protector twice in the movie. Firstly she helps Jake escape from Hells Gate and secondly, she attacks Quaritch in the final battle to help Jake against Quaritch.

Mo'at also acts as Jake’s protector twice. Firstly by allowing him to live when he first arrives at the Na’vi camp and secondly, by releasing him when he is tied up during the RDA attack on Hometree.

THE AMBIGOUS NATURE OF MASCULININITY
At the beginning of the movie, the forces of masculine evil are relatively low key. Quaritch is like Satan. He flatters and tempts our hero in the hope of turning him to evil.

The second negative influence is Tsu’tey who initially attempts to hinder our hero at every turn, either by discouraging or killing him.

The third negative influence is Jake himself. Jake represents unintentional evil through ignorance. Jake is not intrinsically evil, but he is ignorant and naive. The destruction of Hometree was arguably caused by Jake as he willingly gave information to Quaritch. So Jake commits evil, but more through ignorance than through a desire to cause suffering.

From the fall of Hometree, the malevolent male power comes to realise that he can no longer directly influence or hinder the hero. From then on the relatively minor negative influences from Tsu’Tey and Jake fall away, to be replaced by a vengeful and spiteful superdemon in the form of a hateful Quaritch, hell bent on destroying the Hero and everything he loves.

But the masculine influence is not all bad. Jake ultimately represents the force for good. He has many good qualities such as courage, determination and loyalty. But he can only reach his full potential as force of good with the active contribution of the significant positive feminine influence he receives throughout the story.

As stated previously, Quaritch is not a mirror of Jake. Quaritch and Jake represent separate identities. At the beginning of the movie, he and Quaritch are similar, both having the potential for evil. But as the female influence of good gains its grip on him, Jake transforms into something new, while Quaritch remains the same.

POSSIBLE SYMBOLIZATIONS

What does it all mean? Well each person may have their own ideas.

On a general level, the story may suggest the return of the Mother Goddess of nature.

It could be argued that much of the world has been ravaged by an over aggressive masculine tendencies of the human race. Mother Nature will eventually take back what belongs to her and restore balance to the world, either by transforming some masculine elements to her purpose (representing the hero, Jake) and destroying those that are not compatible (represented principally by Quaritch).

THE HUMAN LEVEL
This is not a feminist story, nor is it anti-male. Masculinity is an active and dynamic force that can be a positive force if harnessed. But if it becomes too dominant it can lead to greed, violence and destruction.

In the past few hundred years, it could be argued that the masculine impulse in the human race (in both men and women) has become too dominant, leading to our contemporary situation. This is not about men vs women, for we are all to blame for the current situation. This is about the attitude of the human race as a whole.

One day Nature will exert its dominance again. When the change comes, will we be nurtured and protected like Jake, or will we be destroyed like Quaritch? What we do now, may decide whether we are the hero or the villain.

Last edited by neytirifanboy; 04-20-2010 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 04-19-2010, 08:02 PM
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To any of you thinking "Blah, way too long post to read right now...":
READ. It's worth it


Very good arcticle, neytirifanboy. I remember reading this during my first days at AF
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Old 04-19-2010, 08:22 PM
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Thanks for the encouragement Fosus. I think most current members of ToS have probably seen this, if not read it.

I do admit it is long though.
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:58 PM
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I never read it on the AF but I read it now and It is a great article full of details and examples. I see your points and agree with many of them.
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Old 04-19-2010, 11:59 PM
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Omg.. clearly kat needs to be reading more posts and less time visiting, lol. I call my self a goddess worshiper Neytirifanboy, i am humbly put to shame, (in a good way). What a beautiful and insightful post by one her adorers.
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Old 04-25-2010, 10:12 AM
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Sexual revolution incarnate!

*runs away*
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:49 AM
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Interesting.

I can't even begin to write anything that compares to that. Just... wow.
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Old 05-08-2010, 11:21 PM
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You forget that Tsu'tey's taunting and testing spur Jake on. It's a challenge, he has to prove himself worthy of Tsu'tey's respect and brotherhood. You forget that Etukan, as clan leader, has the role of father (albeit, not one we see much). He and Tsu'tey challenge Jake, test and question him, as is proper for a man defending his woman and child to do. Finally there is Toruk, who represents the abstract masculine principle just as Eywa does the female. Only by joining with this godlike force can Jake lead the way out of darkness.

As for the male characters being lesser, I see it as a balance. Just as the sun gives light which Eywa uses to bear life, the Olo'ektan and Tsahik cannot function without each other, they are two halves of one whole. We know now that this is the truth of reproduction; neither can create life without the other.

Interestingly, the coast clans seem to swap the gender roles...
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Old 05-08-2010, 11:41 PM
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In the end male and female fight alike to preserve the balance, to preserve the beauty and danger that is Eywa. You have to tough to survive in untouched wilderness; ironically, the conquest of nature has made us soft. Jake thought he was tough as a Marine, well that was nothing compared to Thanators. Yet the female, nurturing side of nature makes it more than mere survival. And they save each other. It seems to me the male principle isn't so much diminished, as restored to his original glory as protector of the pregnant female.
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Old 05-09-2010, 12:01 AM
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I remember this was the third thread I read when I just joined AF, I read all of it then so I'll just repeat what I said before:

Great analysis! Especially Neytiri with a copious amounts of examples and references to back up your statements. I cant really fault it whatsoever!
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Old 05-09-2010, 01:20 AM
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Hi joeylovesgaia,

Many thanks for reading the article and taking time to give a response.
Before I respond to your points, I just want to say that the analysis was only made from my personal perception of the movie. Others will perceive specific points of the movie in different ways. So how each of us see the movie is neither right or wrong; just different.

So I can understand what you have said. And if you view the movie in a certain way, your argument is justified. I just didn't see the movie in that way and so my view is different.

Now to your points. From my own very personal point of view, I disagree that Tsu-Tey acts as a challenge to Jake, for two main reasons.

1) There are two times when Tsu-tey almost kills Jake in cold blood. In both of these occasions Jake is not in a position to protect himself because he is outnumbered (when he firsts meets Tsu-tey) or is unconscious (when his Avatar is disconnected). In both these occasions he depends on the presence and actions of Neytiri to save him. So, from my point of view, Tsu-tey is a deadly menace and not a challenge. Jake actually depends on the female element to save him from male aggression.

This, in my view, also represents how Tsu-tey sees Jake. He doesn't want to challenge him, he wants to destroy him. In the end, it is the female element that allows Jake to face up and neutralize that threat.

2) Tsu-tey does not constitute a challenge to Jake because Jake does not care less what Tsu-tey thinks. In my perception of the movie, Jake is motivated by the following reasons in the following order 1) To impress and please Neytiri (the female element); 2) To please himself; 3) To please Grace and 4) To please Quaritch. In my view, pleasing Tsu-tey is way down Jake's priority list, if it is on his list at all. So it can't really constitute a challenge

With regards to Etukahn, in my view he never represented a motivational force. He represents the arrogant view of the Na'vi (and ultimately masculine) that the Skypeople are intinsically inferior. It is Mo'at who really acts in the motivational force. Of course, your view that Etukahn is a motivational force is completely justifiable. i just don't accept it.

However, I do completely accept that Tsu-tey as a male element, becomes a postivive force for good. In fact, in the article, I say that the male element is absolutely essential, but it is probably snowed under the other pro-female stuff.

Without the dynamic male influence of Jake and tsu-tey, the Navi could not hope to win. The male element is absolutely essential. And on that specific point we agree. The point of the article is to say that in the current world, the male element is too dominant, but that does not mean that the male element is intrinsically evil.

And I agree that in the end it is the a balance of male/female power that brings victory against the male dominated RDA. And that is the point.
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Old 05-09-2010, 01:33 AM
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However, for the interest of balance, I will point out another scene that does slightly contradict my article.

In the beginning of the movie, Grace goes to Selfride and complains about Jake. The scene seems to infer that Grace does not want Jake and is trying to prevent him using his avatar. If this is true, then Grace is actually acting as a negative force in the movie, while (ironically) the male influence of Selfride is acting as a positive force.

However, I dismiss this scene for two reasons:

1) The scene is ambiguous. It is not clear if Grace will actually prevent Jake or not from using his Avatar. There is no indication she will prevent Jake from using the Avatar even if Selfridge agrees with her, given that no one else can use it.

2) The scene was not really about Jake at all. It principally demonstrated the political power and conflict between the science faction (represented by Grace) on one hand and the military/business faction (represented) on the other. In the exchange it clearly showed that Selfridge had the upper hand. In other words, the argument was not about whether Jake should use the Avatar or not, but who should decide whether Jake was allowed to use the Avatar. The chances are, even if Grace had got her way, she may well have let Jake use the Avatar eventually, especially since she ultimately decided how the Avatar should be used.

Anyway, all the above is certainly variable depending on the perception of each viewer.
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Old 05-26-2010, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neytirifanboy View Post
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

PART 1
The Goddess has returned, because in Avatar the female rules all.
I enjoyed this article on AF, neytirifanboy, and I'm glad to see it reprised on ToS. This essay, and the comments it has thus far inspired, adds to the richness of the tapestry that is AVATAR. And I applaud your celebration of the feminine principle.

I agree with essentially all that you said. My only addition would be that when people speak of a balance between feminine and masculine principles or forms of expression, implicit in that statement is that a 50-50 split is optimal. However, this is not necessarily so--particularly in the case of AVATAR. The feminine essence is clearly the driving force throughout the movie, and almost all of our favorite characters--from Trudy to Grace to Mo'at, to the leader of the Sea-Ikran clan, to Neytiri, and to Eywa herself--are unique and powerful expressions of the Goddess. But as long as there is a sufficient mix of powerful male energy, a good--though not necessarily equal--balance can be struck.

Even with the strength and power of Jake, and with the evolution of Norm, T'su Tey, and others throughout the movie into powerful masculine characters, the feminine energy still is dominant. You could even argue that much of the growth of the men is due primarily to the influence of the females they are involved with.

I would estimate a 70-30 advantage of the feminine over the masculine in this setting. But all that is important is that the proper balance is struck between these two powerful principles. And isn't it nice to see a movie in which the Feminine is not subjugated and placed in an inferior or condescending role, but is allowed to flourish and blossom into it's full, magnificent expression--an expression which reached it's highest form ever in a movie as that flower of true femininity we know as Neytiri.

Again, well done, neytirifanboy.
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Last edited by Neytiri_Quest; 05-26-2010 at 05:10 PM.
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Old 06-05-2010, 11:56 PM
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YES. I loved how it doesn't fall into that violent superior-male category, "I See you" scene was one of the most beautiful scenes partially thanks to that. I also feel there is too much testosterone on the world these days (I'm a male btw), and I mean the leaders and such, people just don't see through all the "hey this is us, we want this and they want that, let's bring the pain" Every person on the planet is still a human being, sadly lots of people still fight for their race/nation rather than humanity/species. I'm not really good at writing essays in english but I hope you know what I mean. Also do you always write your posts so long? It took me length of one crappy movie to get through this thread lol. And btw, Neytiri doesn't kiss Jake after saving him, just my dicky nitpicking.
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