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Old 04-16-2013, 11:10 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2013
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What is going on?

In my search for more information about the game, Iíve read many analyses and raised also several times my eyebrows. Itís a fascinating storyline and the emotional impact is impressive. But overall it seems impossible to understand whatís going on. Iím convinced that there is a transparent storyline, based on a character who suffers a serious mental condition which is a consequence of a traumatic event. So whatís going on in my point of view? (With excuses for the improper use of the English language sometimes, Iím Dutch).

The first person is a dying man. He has lived for quite a period on the island and became one with it. He also made all of the graffiti, the phrases and the diagrams, fitting the scenery into the projection of his troubled mind. The empty paint cans are left behind everywhere. All is because of the parting of his beloved Esther due to a car accident. They crashed into Paulís car, who was drunk at the time. The narrator canít cope with the loss because of the sudden impact, and this traumatic experience is on top of his mind ever since. His mourning and obsession to understand why this has happened to them, brought him to the island in the first place. To get peace and room in his mind. But there was no redemption for him, although he gets convinced that the island does have a purpose for him. His lonely life, the traumatic memories and the deadly infection due to a fall on the island, did put him in a struggle to stay lucid. He made the decision not to go back to the mainland (the infection is not only of the flesh) and transformed the mount to his ultimate destiny in life. Weíre accompanying him on his last walk on the island in order to fulfill what is meant to be.

Jacobsen and Donnelly are his main human contacts linked to the Island. Both are long dead, but Jacobsen left him in a way the bothy and Donnelly a spiritual guide. That is under the circumstances enough for him to make them present. Esther and Paul are also very present and the narrator has reached a point in the relationship with Paul, that his only choice is to forgive him (I met Paul. I made my own little pilgrimage). Drunk or not, the island did make obvious that this all had to happen and forgiving Paul will offer peace. But he fails to do so because of his grief, although he struggles with it till the last moments (Paul was not drunk!). Because of his heavily stressed and lonely life, the narrator does mingle the names and their owners. But this comes in increasing waves and he knows it, still fighting to stay lucid. The caves do offer him an intense traumatic experience. Itís hard to believe that he also painted the walls in there, but they are functionally in transforming the caves into an actual stress disorder. The long dark fall down into the deep water brings up the main harming event, the scene of the carcrash, and he has to experience it again.

But he comes back, hanging to life, and makes it out of the caves into a beautiful and serene world. The experience in the cave was a functional treatment for him and the island brings now some peace of mind. He is determined to make his journey up to the aerial, believing that he has made a clear path to a new beginning. The beauty of the night with the silver moon and the magic candles underlines this feeling in a magical way. On top of the mount, there is no more hesitation, no more struggling. Only the magic of the act itself, because despite of his hanging on to life (come back), he now is convinced that this is the only meaningful way to cope with his situation. Making a new beginning possible.

Iím deeply impressed by this piece of art. The storywriter does know a thing or two about the tricks of the human mind. I quess the game is not really a game, itís a new interactive kind of storytelling with a strong connection to high quality literature.
Zondermorren is offline  
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:29 PM   #2
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My initial interpretation was more or less the same as what you describe.
CKtheFat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2013, 01:12 AM   #3
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That is an amazing writing what you did there. I truly loved this "game". Too bad it didn't last long.
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Old 10-07-2013, 11:56 AM   #4
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Very well summarized. I do think that the confusing points of view - sometimes it sounds like he is the Hermit, sometimes Paul, sometimes Donnelly - are a sign of his degrading mental status and lucidity rather than there actually being multiple narrators. This story still gives me the chills at points ("in time, we will all be worn down into granules, washed into the sea and dispersed") and I find I learn something new every time I've played the game or read the script.. fun fact: all the dates mentioned add up to 21, the date the bible was stolen by a visiting monk (1776), the day he stole the book from the library (1974), etc.

If anyone is as into the story as me, I recommend reading the short story "The Terminal Beach", by J.G. Ballard. Too many similarities to Dear Esther for me to think it's a coincidence.
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