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The ending (merged threads) Options
ChrisC
Posted: Wednesday, September 9, 2009 4:44:52 PM
Rank: Fry
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Joined: 9/9/2009
Posts: 5
Location: Germany
Right, just some thoughts here...

I also think that Dr Randle's analysis of Eric is correct - he is so traumatized by Clio's death and somehow feels responsible for it, that his brain just needs to block out the memories related Clio and the accident. However, since you can't completely delete your own memories, they keep resurfacing at certain times. When they do, he tries to get rid of them by encoding them, e.g. the light bulb fragments.
Slowly, Eric is going crazy, and he is building up his own reality to try and deal with everything. I think the postcard he writes in the end is kind of a suicide - farewell note that he sends before he dies/kills himself. Maybe in his mind, he makes peace with himself before he dies, that's why Clio forgives him.

I also think that all the missing negatives kinda tie into this theory, because if someone dies/kills himself in real life, there are always still memories out there in the world which will appear whenever people talk about this person or find something relating to this person.

As for all the conceptual reality stuff - I think it's very well done and makes sense in a way, but I think the story is more real on a certain level and everything that happens to Eric just happens purely in his mind as a way to deal with the pain.
MiaVRO
Posted: Thursday, September 10, 2009 3:36:21 AM

Rank: Bede Shark
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Joined: 1/24/2009
Posts: 311
Location: Canada
ChrisC wrote:
As for all the conceptual reality stuff - I think it's very well done and makes sense in a way, but I think the story is more real on a certain level and everything that happens to Eric just happens purely in his mind as a way to deal with the pain.


I find that kind of a buzz kill when it comes to thinking of the actual premise of the book, but that idea has been shared by quite a few people on the forums, that none of the conceptual ideas actually exist and the whole book either takes place in his head, or as his death. It has proven to be quite a popular theory. But I find the ludovician way too cool to be classified as something only in his mind : )
ChrisC
Posted: Thursday, September 10, 2009 12:41:02 PM
Rank: Fry
Groups: Shoal

Joined: 9/9/2009
Posts: 5
Location: Germany
MiaVRO wrote:
ChrisC wrote:
As for all the conceptual reality stuff - I think it's very well done and makes sense in a way, but I think the story is more real on a certain level and everything that happens to Eric just happens purely in his mind as a way to deal with the pain.


I find that kind of a buzz kill when it comes to thinking of the actual premise of the book, but that idea has been shared by quite a few people on the forums, that none of the conceptual ideas actually exist and the whole book either takes place in his head, or as his death. It has proven to be quite a popular theory. But I find the ludovician way too cool to be classified as something only in his mind : )



I totally agree, the ludovician is very cool, and the whole concept of conceptual fish is brilliant. And the way the book is set up, the whole conceptual world makes a lot of sense in itself. But still a lot of things remain unexplained, i.e. how come Dr. Randle talks about 11 instances of memory loss, but we only ever get to know about the first Eric and the second Eric? Maybe the first 10 instances were only minor ones, and he lost all the memories when he was swallowed by the ludovician?
But that's the beauty of the book, it's open to all kind of interpretations, just like the rorschach tests.
Saskia
Posted: Saturday, November 28, 2009 11:21:11 AM
Rank: Fry
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Joined: 11/28/2009
Posts: 5
Location: Western Australia
Lots of really cool ideas on here!
I love the thing about negatives/parallel worlds - that Clio and Scout are negatives of each other, and the whole idea of "the reflection becoming the picture and the picture becoming the reflection" or whatever it is.

I totally didn't pick up the play on words between "Raw Shark" and Rorshach, but it's obviously significant and I love that idea of the story being ambiguous and therefore functioning more as an indicator of the reader's personality than pinning down any one interpretation of reality.

One thing no one else has mentioned, which I think is really significant: the dream Eric has, where he dives into the water and then wakes up and realises he has succeeded in turning the words into real water. This dream marks a turning point for him where perhaps he enters some sort of alternate/conceptual world. Anyway, Clio gives him a note in this dream which says "what's the point of me coming all the way back there for you if you're just going to show up here without me?" and then it says "something changed. The physical me vanished"

Is this the point where his body dies?

More interestingly (to me) is Clio actually giving him that note for real? i.e. did she "come back" for him in the form of Scout from that conceptual world/afterlife/whatever it is - and then he gets there anyway without her.

Having said this, Scout does go into the conceptual world with him so I dunno.

But I'm pretty sure that note is significant.
DrAkeley
Posted: Tuesday, December 8, 2009 7:16:09 AM
Rank: Fry
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Joined: 12/8/2009
Posts: 1
Location: US
Hello, this is my first post on the forum. I just felt like sharing some of my ideas...sorry if any are repeats of other interpretations.

I think one of the most important parts of this novel was Eric's thought process regarding un-space, specifically the dome of books. He mentions that although the probability of such a structure being built is extremely small, it is there. There is nothing forcing the concept from the realm of reason.

Based on this thought, one could look at the ending and say, "Well this is all impossible and I just wasted my time reading it." Or you could look at it and say, "Why not?" All of what we know is based on our personal experiences and the information we can receive from others based on their personal experiences. To assume that the events of this novel are out of the realm of possibility is technically impossible. Highly unlikely, yes, but not impossible.

My interpretation of the ending is as follows:

When Eric "kills" the Ludovician, he is given a choice between two parallel worlds, the conceptual one (which is just as real as the "real" one) and the world is is used to. In the "real" world, Clio is dead, Scout is dead, and he is alone. In the conceptual world, however, Scout is Clio, and Scout can live because the concept of Scout still exists, therefore there is nothing stopping her from still being alive. The island is of course conceptual, but technically speaking, it is just as real as the "real" world. Eric can still feel, his memory and wits are sharp. In other words, he has his five senses and his brain to interpret his world. The conceptual world is not just a fleeting dream, leaving his body behind, but an alternate reality. After all, what is life really but an interpretation of the world based on our brain's response of our five senses? To a blind man, the world has no shape or color. To a deaf man, the world has no sound. In the "real" world, Eric would lose Scout and in turn everything. He says so himself, "everything is over." Reality is whatever we make it to be, so why not stay in a different one? I could keep going, but this is enough for now.
thethird
Posted: Monday, March 22, 2010 7:41:26 AM
Rank: Fry
Groups: Shoal

Joined: 3/22/2010
Posts: 1
Location: Mission Viejo
Steven has actually given hints at the ending and other loose ends being clear (or at the very least less ambiguous) with the reading of all the 'un-chapters'
sadly, less than half of the un-chapters are solved as far as I've seen.
If you want to maybe get a really plausible theory on what the book/ending might be about, do some research on other theories and compile what you think it might be.
my personal favorite is one that I found on chuckpalahniuk.net forum for TRST:

santonio @ TRST Forum. wrote:
Dichotomy, symmetry and unity appear to be among the strongest themes in TRST. Like the Rorschach inkblots, many of the characters and situations present dual aspects that may be interpreted as two distinct but reflective elements (alternately “the view” and “the reflection” mirrored and organized along a central axis or concept), or alternately (and from a different paradigm), may be interpreted as a single whole.

There has been much discussion about Scout being a shade of Clio (in fact she allegedly was reconceptualized _twice_ by Eric). Trey Fiderous could be a fragmented echo of Eric’s grandfather - brylcreem, changing moods and all. The burr burr burr signaling the approach of the harpooned but relentless Ludovician is the same burr burr burr of phone calls from Clio’s dad that to Eric signals an inevitable onset of guilt, fear and anguish. Even the postcard’s twin stamps are positive-negative versions of each other. Two states of the same thing.

The First and Second Eric Sandersons are, in a way, mirror images of each other. The First Eric is the ‘ghost’ that haunts and pushes the Second forward towards fulfillment of the First’s original mission of saving Clio. Alternately, the disassociated, memory-less Second Eric is also just an artifact, a fragment, a ghost of the First Eric, who relies on information from the First to reassemble his identity. The fact that the First Eric ‘resides’ in the past, yet communicates to the Second from future letters, is another layer of oscillating duality. Ultimately, the two Erics are really just one, in both a physical sense (i.e. they are the same biological entity) and a metaphysical sense (because of this interdependence and alternation). While the novel initially presents an ‘inkblot’ comprising two Erics, as events transpire, the whole Eric formed by these two parts is revealed.

Eric, as the mythical Orpheus, descends to Tartarus (that is, unspace) _twice_ to retrieve Eurydice/Clio from death. In the first instance, he does not succeed, and like Orpheus who is torn to bits by Maenads (another way of saying he went insane), he loses himself to the Ludovician. In the second instance, the outcome is not quite as clear. At novel’s end the Second Eric appears to be in two states/worlds at the same time: alive and happy in Naxos, and failed and dead in Deansgate. The postcard stamps echo this: he either “passed through Ariadne’s arch” on the path to despair and destruction, or he transformed/“reversed” his fate and achieved happiness. It is up to the reader (possibly a _third_ Eric Sanderson to whom this manuscript and artifacts are left??) to decide which version is more applicable (believable, aligned with one’s _convictions_?). Observation, value judgment and personal interpretation are required of the reader, in the same way one would interpret a Rorschach inkblot.

These concepts, in the most rudimentary sense, are intrinsic to the thought experiment “Schrodinger’s Cat”. This quantum physics experiment demonstrates the principle of superposition: any object (in this case a cat in a sealed chamber) is actually in all possible states simultaneously (i.e. both dead AND alive in the chamber), as long as no one checks its status. It is the observation itself that causes the object to have a single state (dead OR alive). Tegmark (!) developed the experiment further, _taking the view of the cat_. Is Ian in fact Schrodinger’s conceptual cat?? As such, Ian symbolizes the possibility of multiple states of being (states of mind?) and permits both fates of Eric (Incidentally, Ian himself has a ‘twin’ in the unseen Gavin.).

Perhaps there are then no right or wrong interpretations of Eric’s fate – both fates are valid until filtered through what is believed to be true to and resonant with the reader/observer. In this sense (i.e. “seeing the inkblot as a whole”), the novel itself is literally “The Rorschach Test”.



its kinda funny too cause Raw Shark and Rorschach is so close in the pronunciation
timlarsson
Posted: Monday, March 22, 2010 3:50:17 PM

Rank: Luxophage
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Joined: 5/7/2009
Posts: 123
Location: Sweden
That was a very interesting text thethird, thanks for sharing!
The "Raw Shark texts"< - > "Rorschach tests" is intended :)
Richard Mayhew
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2010 10:06:59 PM
Rank: Fry
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Joined: 5/3/2010
Posts: 9
Location: London Below
I'm glad that I'm not the only person to think this. I always imagined it to be like the ending for Neverwhere, as in that everything is happening inside of Eric's head, due to the traumatic stress of losing Clio.
bunnymud
Posted: Sunday, June 20, 2010 10:05:21 AM
Rank: Fry
Groups: Shoal

Joined: 6/20/2010
Posts: 2
Location: New Orleans
But isn't the second Sanderson really the 12th???
Parkaboy
Posted: Friday, July 1, 2011 5:56:36 PM
Rank: Fry
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Joined: 1/24/2009
Posts: 5
I think Eric found a unique solution to the thought experiment Schrodinger's Cat.
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