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HOLY SHIT PEOPLE, IT'S NOT BAD ENOUGH WE'RE GETTING AN UTENA EXHIBITION RIGHT NOW

THEY. ARE. MAKING. A. NEW. MUSICAL. NEXT. YEAR. START LOSING YOUR SHIT RIGHT NOW

#1 | Back to Top11-08-2006 02:05:06 PM

bella
Atlantean Singer
Registered: 11-04-2006
Posts: 581

Utena and The Scarlet Letter

I read "The Scarlet Letter" last year for school. Although the language is a bit wordy and descriptive (maybe in not such a good way), I found that at the core, the story was very good. There's a ton of symbolism in this book, and one of the first things seen is roses. They take on a huge symbolic role in the story (changing colors in accordance with events in the story or to foreshadow, among other things), and the whloe time I was reading it, I couldn't help but be reminded of Utena. I'm wondering, if anyone here has read the book, what parallels (if any) do you see between the two works?


Happy Holidays Everyone! :3

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#2 | Back to Top11-08-2006 04:37:21 PM

Dani
IRG Messiah
From: Virginia, USA
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 361

Re: Utena and The Scarlet Letter

I have a lit major friend and she call Anthy "Hester" all the time. Rose Bride=Scarlet Bride. The Rose Bride dress brands Anthy with the color red, just as Hester is branded with the scarlet letter, symbolizing a fall from grace or female perfection. She is the tainted and seducing witch. She is similar to Hester too in that she is not pro-active on her own behalf. She just sorta accepts her life and lives within the parameters of her fate. Sadly there is no Utena in The Scarlet Letter to save Hester since the male protagonist is such a wimp.

Last edited by Dani (11-08-2006 04:38:38 PM)

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#3 | Back to Top11-08-2006 05:14:21 PM

MissMocha
Bettie Page Princess
From: Tallahassee, Fl
Registered: 10-19-2006
Posts: 4632

Re: Utena and The Scarlet Letter

As a rule, I avoid Victorian lit, so I won't be much help in this thread, but don't you think there's an interesting parallel in that our Scarlet Bride is constantly comitting adultry? She may not be "married," but she is engaged to Utena through the majority of the series, and it's implied, to many other duelists before. And yet I doubt her hijinks with Akio are anything recent.


The first time you looked at her curves you were hooked
And the glances you took, took hold of you and demanded that you stay
And sunk in their teeth, bit your heart and released
Such a charge that you need another touch, another taste, another fix

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#4 | Back to Top11-08-2006 06:25:07 PM

Dani
IRG Messiah
From: Virginia, USA
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 361

Re: Utena and The Scarlet Letter

Cool idea. Hmm, I think at the beginning her loyalty is all towards Dios and he's all that matters to her, so Akio is her whole world. She hasn't got anything else. She seems at first to have no feelings but we know that's not true, she just keeps everything bottled up.

Anthy has contempt for the duelists trying to win her. Maybe that's her mechanism for not feeling guilty. After all, the current duelists are so selfish in their own motivations for getting her, and they don't really have an interest in HER personally except for Saionji but his violent nature can make her feel unbeholden to him. We'd have to assume this group is typical of past groups. And I'm thinking that she spends, what would seem to her, a very short amount of time with each of these people in comparison to the decades or more that Anthy has been the Rose Bride. That's being pimped out to an awful lot of people. Her insistence that she is Utena's bride seems more like a strict adherence to the rules and a way for her to brush off the attentions of others.

But then Utena comes along and she IS interested in Anthy for Anthy. Sure, Anthy realizes she's playing a role for Utena in Utena's whole "princeliness" thing but Utena goes much farther than she has too to reach out to Anthy in friendship. And in Ep 23, Anthy shows what I think is the first glimmer from  Anthy that, uh oh, she has feelings for Utena (when Anthy either deliberately or unthinkingly, places her hand over Utena's while she sleeps) or at the least, she needs Utena emtionally in some way now. In Ep 25 when she goes against Akio's wishes and helps Utena win the duel against Saionji without the Sword of Dios, I think she has to admit to herself that she is feeling guilty now about betraying Utena, that she now feels beholden to the trust Utena has put in her. That episode is the first evidence that Anthy is reticent to have sex with Akio as well. She also has to deal with admitting to herself that she has feelings of jealousy over Utena and Akio's sexual relationship. She may be jealous over both of them at the beginning but chooses Utena over Akio later. But I give Anthy's character credit for admitting that she is having these feelings at least to herself.

And Utena still does not see herself as part of an "engaged" couple of course UNTIL she catches Anthy with Akio (or walks in on something Anthy, by this time, wants her to see, IMHO). THEN you see the classic jealous reaction on Utena's part and again during the final duel when she says she "hates this room" (she looks REALLY jealous in that scene). Utena, I think, realizes then that, without her consciously realizing it, she has started to think of her relationship with Anthy as more than friendship, as a commitment that could be betrayed. I think a lot of the meaning behind the "cantarella cookie" conversation is that they are both admitting to each other that they both hurt each other (with the same guy, that Akio) and they are both apologizing and forgiving each other for it.

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#5 | Back to Top11-08-2006 07:17:37 PM

bella
Atlantean Singer
Registered: 11-04-2006
Posts: 581

Re: Utena and The Scarlet Letter

Dani wrote:

I have a lit major friend and she call Anthy "Hester" all the time. Rose Bride=Scarlet Bride. The Rose Bride dress brands Anthy with the color red, just as Hester is branded with the scarlet letter, symbolizing a fall from grace or female perfection. She is the tainted and seducing witch. She is similar to Hester too in that she is not pro-active on her own behalf. She just sorta accepts her life and lives within the parameters of her fate. Sadly there is no Utena in The Scarlet Letter to save Hester since the male protagonist is such a wimp.

That is a very interesting parallel. Anthy and Hester are more similar than I thought, both being branded as fallen females. Nice call. And yes, the male protagonist is such a wimp. I blame him for all of his own unhappiness in the story.

Last edited by belladonna (11-08-2006 07:18:48 PM)


Happy Holidays Everyone! :3

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#6 | Back to Top11-08-2006 08:28:56 PM

Dani
IRG Messiah
From: Virginia, USA
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 361

Re: Utena and The Scarlet Letter

belladonna wrote:

And yes, the male protagonist is such a wimp. I blame him for all of his own unhappiness in the story.

Yeah, I hated that the story is from his point of view because I did not find him interesting at all. If only Hawthorne had tried to write it from Hester's point of view it would have been so much more interesting, maybe like Defoe did for Moll Flanders.

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