1. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    Symbolism of Facelessness

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Gallowglass, Feb 22, 2012.

    What sort of symbolism would you infer if I told you that a soldier was gradually losing his face to frostbite, and proud of that fact? I was aiming for the loss of identity and personality to war, but I think I may have missed...
     
  2. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sure, why not? Quite potent.
    Pride? That's pretty strong. Is your chap insane?
     
  3. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    Yeah, loss of identity, shedding the husk of humanity/inhumanity in general, "becoming" a living weapon (or, internalizing as much), anonymity, etc. All seems plausible to me. I've played with similar concepts myself. Good luck, sounds interesting.
     
  4. Jowettc
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    I would say loss, isolationism, rejectionism of society in general, insanity, stubborness to prove a point, fear, pride and a touch of self-harm. I would assume that, in general, the guy needs a lot of help and is probably suffering from some sort of mental condition that needs addressing.

    If it is your intention to point out the human disaster that is war - then he would certainly be a casualty.
     
  5. GillySoose
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    GillySoose Member

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    Uhm, maybe it's just me but if he's losing his face to frostbite and feeling proud about it sounds like he's also losing his brain to frostbite and needs some medical attention :D

    But it'd depend on how you write it, I suppose.
     
  6. jamesmanning
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    jamesmanning New Member

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    so he is a soldier in a war proud of losing his face to frostbite. perhaps he is a patriot who believes no sacrifice is to great for his country's cause/protection. or perhaps he in not a blind patriot but simply understands the sacrifice is neccessary for the greater good. also what is the nationality of the character and the enemy? what era? what war? is he a pow forced to fight? a refugee leading a resistence? is it on earth? space?
     
  7. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Faceless man reminds me of Animus archetype but also of a Boogeyman. In fiction, faceless man often represents Death (often via really scary monster).

    Faceless man can also symbolise someone's meeting with their destiny; they are about to do something they were born to do, that kind of thing.
     
  8. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    If he's losing his face, aka in the process of losing it, due to frostbite, I find it hard to believe he doesn't care. Frost bite is painful. Especially once you start to thaw. I highly doubt he would not care to be in excrutiating pain.
     
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  9. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with BFGuru. sounds painful to me.
     
  10. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    I also agree that 'losing his face to frost bite and proud of it' sounds like either insanity, or bullshit bravado, or simply shallow characterisation - is he in danger of being a metaphor for a political statement rather than a character? Make sure you are creating someone real, not just a symbol.
     
  11. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree. The soldier sounds like he came unhinged from too much war. Or he has a reverse sense of vanity. If he was a spy, it might be a convenience of necessity as he could use makeup to create a false nose, ears, and other facial features since his are gone.
     
  12. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    He is insane. He has literally spent years in the insurgency in some bitterly cold winters, and has just accepted that he needs to embrace rather than fight the elements. There's no danger of him becoming a political metaphor, though, as this insurgency took place a thousand years ago.

    Thank you all for your feedback. The 'soldier,' 'weapon-in-human-form,' 'casualty of war' thing was exactly what I was hoping you'd say, and your comments have been invaluable :)
     
  13. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Makes me think of old fascist posters (Franco regime, etc). Soldiers were often faceless, with the helmet casting shadow over the eyes. The soldiers became their rifles and boots and ceased to be human. Definitely a negative image in my mind.
     
  14. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I may be a little off base here, but while I understand you might see losing your face to frostbite as some sort of metaphor for losing your individuality / humanity, the reality is very different.

    First, as several have mentioned, frostbite is extremely painful, even after you've lost bits and pieces. Second, it's not like you actually lose your face and become faceless. Instead you lose bits and pieces of your face, with initially the dead skin turning grey then black and then finally falling off in horrible chunks. You don't become faceless, you become horribly disfigured. Imagine a man with holes instead of a nose, lips gone, cheeks with huge craters in them, and you'll start to get a picture of what this condition can do to a person.

    I sugest googling for some stories of people who have suffered frostbite and what the damage is.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I agree about the pain. We're talking the same order of agony associated with third degree burns. The shock associated with that level of pain kills many burn victims even before infection sets it (which kills a good percentage of those who survive shock).

    Maybe instead it could be some form of self-mutilation. Tattooing, or even injecting materials to make his face lumpy and unrecognizable. There have been cases of people injecting materials other than collagen, out of poverty combined with self-destructive urges.
     
  16. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    'If the area freezes further, deep frostbite occurs. The muscles, tendons, blood vessels, and nerves all freeze. The skin is hard, feels waxy, and use of the area is lost temporarily, and in severe cases, permanently. The deep frostbite results in areas of purplish blisters which turn black and which are generally blood-filled. Nerve damage in the area can result in a loss of feeling. This extreme frostbite may result in fingers and toes being amputated if the area becomes infected with gangrene. If the frostbite has gone on untreated, they may fall off.'

    The initial stages are extremely painful, but when it gets to bits actually falling off, usually that means it is dead tissue with no live nerves, and therefore there is no pain. BUT, as has been said, side effects such as shock and gangrene can cause death with this level of advanced frostbite, so it's not simply a case of saying 'oh well, if I don't get it treated I'll just live with no face'. If he doesn't get it treated, he's probably not got much time left to enjoy his new facelessness.
     
  17. TheWritingWriter
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    TheWritingWriter Senior Member

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    Lose facial features and physical identity, but grows a stronger identity from within, maybe? Does that sound cliche? I like it, though.
     
  18. maxicute012
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    maxicute012 New Member

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    mentally challenged... hehehe just joking, anyway, my idea of facelessness was blind, mute and deaf as a person don't want to sees thing in reality.instead, he/she will make fun of it to escape the reality
     
  19. Islander
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    My first association is pain and suffering, not anonymity.
     

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