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Would it be better for Buffy if Dawn disappeared?

Discussion in 'Season 9' started by Buffy Summers, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. ladydorotea

    ladydorotea Scooby

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    Everybody's life is fraught with pain to some extent. It does not make every life a non-stop torment that should warrant a 'death wish'. Frankly, the series did not leave me with an impression of Buffy's, Nikki's, Kendra's, and Faith's, etc lives being all about hidden torment and pain. Moreover, if you follow this train of logic, then Buffy's decision to empower an entire generation of Potentials in Chosen was a hideous 'crime against humanity', not a triumph of girl-power. I often argue that JW has a tendency in his work to get carried away with 'gift of power via horrible violation' trope ( River or Fred come to mind as examples), yet even he did not carry the BtVS series message as far off field as 'generations of young girls living in horrible pain and torment riddled with death wish as their only exit '. You might, of course, have your personal opinion on the matter, but I certainly find this kind of perspective on the BtVS series as a whole a bit extreme, not to mention weird.

    Buffy wanted to quit as early as S1, cough, cough. Exactly because she did not have a death wish. Loosing one's parent , and alas , sometimes a young sibling is a horrible, horrible circumstance. It has nothing to do, however, with Slayer-specific intrinsically embedded 'death wish' that Spike was specifically trying to push as 'ultimate truth'. Rather it was one of Spike's many strategies ( that included stealing panties, building a sexbot, abduction and chaining in the basement, proclaiming eternal devotion and offering services as voluntary slave among other things) aimed at achieving a goal of 'conquering a Slayer'.

    I specifically tried to focus on Kendra, Nikki , Buffy and Faith. Weight of the world and all, neither of them specifically wanted to die. It was all in certain platinum blonde head's imagination excited with specific need to hunt them.
     
  2. thetopher

    thetopher Member of the Church Of Faith

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    Sineya

    Can't rep you but I agree entirely. The whole death wish thing is something we see very little of. In fact, the whole point of 'Fool For Love' and 'The Gift' is that Spike was wrong about it.
    Buffy chose to sacrifice herself for Dawn not because she was tired of living/wanted it to stop, its a direct contradiction to Spike had being saying.

    This is underlined/confirmed by Spike saying in 'FDL' that he'll be there when it happens, when Buffy gives in, and he'll 'have himself a real good day'- but in fact it pretty much breaks him. There's a sad irony in that.

    Latly, would Buffy really have sacrificed herself if Joyce/Riley had still being around, now that's the interesting question.
     
  3. Xin Rong

    Xin Rong Killed by Dissertation

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    I'm not saying that the 'death-wish' is a constant thing that a slayer has to battle with on a day-to-day basis, but I do think that there is definitely some credence to Spikes comments.

    The thing that makes Buffy different from other slayers is that she has family and friends, ergo a life outside of slaying. I know a lot of people choose to interpret the fact that she's so successful to her friends and family being there to help, and I think there is some truth to that, but similarly I think that they also act as a kind of tether for Buffy- they bind her to her life- she doesn't give up because giving up not only means that she fails her 'job' but the people she cares about also suffer if she fails.

    Buffy needs to be their to protect them, which gives her a strong motivation to continue fighting the good fight, even though it has disastrous consequences on her own life.

    I personally don't see how anyone could live with that kind of responsibility and torment, without at some point having a desire to escape it- even if it's only a momentary thing, and I do think that this kind of thinking would naturally exist in any slayers mind, again, even if its only on a subconscious level.

    Buffy overcomes these doubts/anxieties and becomes a better slayer for it, and I don't think that it makes her actions at the end of season 7 a crime against humanity: the whole point is that girls are now given a choice, to slayer or not to slay, thanks to Buffy her generation of slayers do not have the overwhelming responsibility of being the one and only chosen one.

    I see the death wish thing as part of the existential crisis that Buffy is consistently experiencing, and ultimately there are only a few solutions to these kind of crises: suicide, conviction, etc. Suicide is obviously the bad choice when facing this kind of crisis, but it is one of the options that has been consistently identified throughout philosophy, sociology etc and as such I think it's more than feasible to suggest that a slayer would at least consider the option, even if they don't act on it.
     
  4. thetopher

    thetopher Member of the Church Of Faith

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    Sineya
    Hmn, I see your point. Having people to fight for makes your job easier/more purposeful, how could it not? Few people want to be alone, and especially when your job is as gruelling as Buffys.

    And I do think by the end of S5 Buffy was tired of fighting, she was worn down by the loss of a relationship, her Mom, the constant pressures of fighting such a powerful oponnent.
    But if Dawn had been okay and the portal hadn't been opened Buffy would've gotten over it, mostly because of Dawn- a familial tie to the world. She would've gone on to keep on fighting for her friends, sister, herself and of course, the world.

    But, to my mind, that's not a death wish. A deathwish is, on some level, wanting to die.

    Which is different from being so miserable that you having nothing to live- that's suicidal.

    Another question, sligghtly related. If slayers have an ingrained deathwish, then why doesn't Buffy kill herself at the first opertunity in S6- step in front of a bus, allow a vampire to kill her or whatever?
    But there's nothing, no wish to die, to 'stop fighting/slaying'. There's just the wish for her life to stop being so terrible, and in the end its Dawn and her friends that bring her back to herself.
     
  5. Ethan Reigns

    Ethan Reigns Scooby

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    Sineya
    In "The Weight of the World", the episode before "The Gift", Buffy says this:

    They both look back over at the bookshelf. Shot of Buffy #1 putting the book on the shelf yet again.

    WILLOW: What happened here?

    Shot of Buffy #2 watching.

    BUFFY #1: (not turning) This was when I quit, Will.

    Shot of Willow standing beside Buffy #2, both staring at Buffy #1.
    WILLOW: You did?
    BUFFY #2: Just for a second.

    Shot of Willow and Buffy sitting in the darkened bedroom.
    BUFFY VOICEOVER: I remember.

    Cut back to the magic shop.

    BUFFY #1: (facing Willow) I was in the magic shop.
    BUFFY #2: I put a book back for Giles.
    BUFFY #1: Nothing special about it. And then it hit me.
    WILLOW: What hit you?
    BUFFY #2: I can't beat Glory.
    BUFFY #1: Glory's going to win.
    WILLOW: (turns to Buffy #2) You can't know that.
    BUFFY #2: (turns to Willow) I didn't just know it.
    BUFFY #1: (staring at nothing) I felt it. Glory will beat me.
    BUFFY #2: (looks away) And in that second of knowing it, Will...
    BUFFY #1: I wanted it to happen.
    WILLOW: Why?
    BUFFY #1: I wanted it over. This is ... all of this ... it's too much for me.
    BUFFY #2: (staring at nothing) I just wanted it over.
    BUFFY #1: If Glory wins ... then Dawn dies.
    BUFFY #2: And I would grieve. People would feel sorry for me. (looks at Willow) But it would be over. (looks away) And I imagined what a relief it would be.


    We get a pretty clear picture of Buffy's state of mind here. She wants it all to be over. I am not saying the writing here is consistent or not with the rest of what we have seen, but the death wish is pretty clear.
     
    Xin Rong: I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees this :)
  6. thetopher

    thetopher Member of the Church Of Faith

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    Sineya
    The point being...the moment passed.
    She felt overwhelmed and wanted a break, wanted things to stop, but then she moved on. That's not a death-wish, not at all.
    Buffy remembered this moment and felt guilty about it sure, but ultimately she was wrong. She fought and beat Glory and then jumped because she had to do so to save Dawn. She didn't do so because she wanted to die- Joyce dying and Riley leaving made the choice simpler, that's all.
     
  7. Xin Rong

    Xin Rong Killed by Dissertation

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    But this moment happened, and it's likely that something similar happened with other slayers, what if that moment had happened when Buffy was in a fight to the death, that moment of doubt might have been enough for her enemy to get the upper hand, i.e. Spike's argument.

    These type of moments are a rarity for Buffy because, as Spike articulates, she had family and friends, which meant these moments of not wanting to go on, or doubting whether one would want to go on, are sparse, as she has something to live for outside of slaying.
     
    Ethan Reigns: You can't unring the bell. Once that thought had occurred, it was going to be in the back of her mind all the time.
  8. Kanazaka

    Kanazaka Potential

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    It's a bit sad that Dawn exists mostly to help support Buffy's emotional well-being. Dawn is pretty useful in a fight, but is not nearly as good a fighter as Buffy's close friends. As a warrior, Dawn holds Buffy back. As a sister, she holds Buffy up. Those almost cancel each other out. So if Dawn fought better, we probably wouldn't be having this discussion.