View Full Version : Taking the story literally?
02-22-2012, 04:41 PM
Reading this forum I realize that there's some kind of consensus among users that the game's story is either a metaphor, dream or a near-death experience of sort.
This is supported by the overwhelming amount of chemical symbols, formulas and other symbolic stuff found all over the island, which pretty much eliminates the possibility of taking the story literally(that he's in actual island).
I agree with this, but not without wishing it was made more ambiguous with more room for interpretation.
Is anyone feeling the same?
Also, if you have any non-metaphorist(;)) theories about the game's story, share them here.
02-22-2012, 06:08 PM
Well, I don't think it isn't a metaphor, but if you take it literally, I think you just washed up on some random island and your reading letters or a diary from some crazy guy. But of course, that kinda ruins the game. That's why it's a big metaphor.
02-22-2012, 07:56 PM
As you wisely said, it is hard to interpret the story in a literal sense; But I don't see it as a metaphor too.
I mean, we could all argue here about what a "metaphor" means, but I feel that the best interpretation to Dear Esther is that your character is dying.
I don't think the Island is a metaphor or a illusion, the WAY you're seeing it, is. Since you broke your leg and you're "high" on fever+sadness.
Anyway. I know the word "Best interpretation" may sound very uptight, but I really believe that DE fails to deliver a "Open, make your own/interpret as you wish" story. I think the game delivers the storyline in a pretty open way, and the only things we're left to wonder are small things.
-There was a car crash;
-Paul was driving, distracted with his chemical schematics.
-There was a drunk driver, Paul tries to get away but the brakes lock;
-Esther Dies, Paul lives;
-Donnelly *you* arrives on the Scene;
-Esther was cremated;
-Some time later *you* go make a visit to Paul;
-You wrote a book a long time ago, that nobody cared. You steal it from the library and go to the island to isolate yourself;
You talk about Donnely (you) in third person because "he" at the time the book was written, was a different person than you're now.
- You were obviously an explorer, and decide to go back to a familiar place (the island), to stay alone on your last days.
- Far away from the world, you start to write letters to Esther.
- One day, you break your leg and since you're pretty much far away from the world, the wound get infected and you walk around in extreme pain.
- The Pain, Infection and Sadness makes you start having alucinations: Ghosts, Formulas, Car Parts and etc.
- Knowing these are your last days on earth, you make paper boats out of your letters and pour Esther ashes on them, you set them free on the sea.
- You decide to walk to the highest peak (the tower) and throw yourself from it.
- You go met Esther (either her "spirit" in heaven/hell/whatever) or on the same "void" that "she" is now (meaning you die and there is no afterlife)
02-23-2012, 03:15 AM
Donnely lived 300 years ago as clearly stated in multiple monologues. You cannot be him.
02-23-2012, 03:27 AM
I thought there are contradictions in the dialogue, not to mention they are randomized.
Can we get the dialogue files from the game directory or somewhere ?
02-23-2012, 04:50 AM
I took it literally. I believed - and still do - that the narrator has visited the island many times. Either he brought, or found in the wrecks, lots of pans of paint. He has been painting the symbols on the walls. I initially thought that he was painting the neurons, chemical symbols for alcohol, and circuit diagram for the electronic braking system as a means of attempting to make sense of Esther's death, as if he could eventually spot the root cause of the accident. Now I'm not so sure.
It's easy to read too much into the text, which starts off quite florid and when the narrator begins his final ascent from beach to antenna turns wildly metaphysical. I...blame the drugs. He has taken what amounts to an overdose in order to dull the pain of his broken femur, and it's quite addled his mind. The thoughts about the accident and the island and the people are crossing over one another in his mind, and it starts to feel like reading text across the folds in a paper boat (hehe, I'm at it now). So when he refers to Esther Donnelly and Paul Jacobsen I wouldn't read too much into it.
I said that I initially thought the narrator was painting the symbols to make sense of things, but I'm starting to think along other lines. Something that struck me about the story is how it emphasises the lives that have been forgotten. Jacobsen intended to start a family and failed - his body undiscovered for months after his death. Donnelly wrote a book that no one has read for thirty years ("..but who was he? Who remembers him?"). And it seems that the narrator fears that Esther - and possibly himself - will be forgotten by the World. Witness his closing speech: "I will rise from the ocean like an island without bottom, come together like a stone, become an aerial, a beacon that they will not forget you."
So when people next see the island, whoever they may be, they will find the diagrams, the arranged medical paraphernalia, the car keys, the rings, and everything else that tells this story. The narrator has turns the entire island into an epitaph.
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