How does Adam change?
Today’s Carrion contemplation has me pondering the question; how does Adam change? In a previous post I noted that Adam shares the totalitarian mindset of prohibition; he acts in self-righteous manner towards Christine. In another I laid out a new inciting event that forces him into direct conflict with Reiner; he refuses to kill Christine at his initiation ceremony. But this event doesn’t suddenly change him, he’s still the prohibitionist policeman, it simply forces him to take the first step towards something else. The stepping stones of his eventual transformation are the subsequent conflicts of the story. Adam and Reiner go at it as each tries to win the goal, they fight over the kind of world will they live in; will it be a world of security or one of freedom? But their punch counter-punch confrontation is essentially a repetition of the same position played out with increasing intensity. Nothing wrong with that? But it doesn’t explain how Adam learns the right way to live in the world. It doesn’t explain how a foreclosed identity such as his, formed around the prohibitionist cause, is transformed into an identity personal to him, an identity willing to choose freedom. (1) That insight comes, I think, from the conflicts he has with other characters. Each character/conflict forces him to deal with things in a different way. Think of it like this. If Reiner is the motor of Adam’s change, the other characters steer him. Each character deals with the problem of the story in a different way. For example Michiko, the disgraced doctor, is compassionate towards Christine. Sexton, the radical drug dealer, refuses to submit to prohibition. Each encounter forces Adam to learn something new, understand himself and the world differently. So at the end, when he battles prohibition, he knows how he wants to live in the world and what he must do. He knows how to show Christine true compassion, even if that compassion means helping her to kill herself. He knows how to deal with Reiner, even if that means throwing him to the insects. And he knows how to deal with prohibition, even if that means picking up a gun a fighting it. One final thought. Something I think I learned while writing this. We don’t change. Other people change us.