Sunday, March 18, 2012

WORD OF THE DAY! 3/18/12.

motherly [muth-er-lee]
1. pertaining to, characteristic of, or befitting a mother; maternal.
2. like a mother
3. protective, empathetic, gentle, loving, affectionate

EX. Today we're discussing the motherly figure of the group, who occasionally falls into the category of damsel-in-distress, Katara.

Katara is a tricky character to tie down to a single archetype, but here goes.


When our story begins, Katara seems like the most sensible member of the group. She is the one who trusts Aang enough to follow him on his quest. The selfish part of this choice is her desire for something more (Disney Princess syndrome) and to master water-bending. It looks like she is the de facto leader, because she is the most commanding. Yet, the role of the "Mother" is thrust upon her because of the tragedy that defines her up until the third season; the death of her mother. Being the female of her household, she has taken up the duties of her mother in her house and, much like Wendy in Peter Pan, the role of mothering the other children is something that comes naturally to her. In line with her natural mother archetype, she is a being ruled by emotion. This is her greatest strength, as she reaches out to help others, but her emotions also lead her to make reckless decisions that endanger her friends. At the best of times, her stubborn nature helps her to do what is right, like in the first season when she convinces a sexist water-bender to help her master the art. But, in the first season alone, her recklessness leads her to steal from pirates and befriend a murderous rebel. The latter character is worth discussing as a mirror of Katara.

Jett is much like Katara. He has lost everything to the Fire Nation. Ironically, he is also a dark turn on the Robin Hood and/or Peter Pan archetypes. An older boy, a talented swordsman and acrobat, and the leader of a group of children rebels. Like Katara he harbors a resentment of the Fire Nation, so much so that his hatred consumes him. Jett is also Katara's first love until, the first time they meet, Katara and Aang are tricked into being part of a scheme that would've killed a small town of people. Ultimately, Jett is destroyed by his own hate when, exposing his rebellion, he is kidnapped, brainwashed, and, after a fight with Aang, dies. Katara has many of the same feelings toward the Fire Nation, who took her mother, and much of her journey is about the healing process.

Speaking of which, Katara is a healer. This also fits into the Mother archetype as being an extension of natural powers. Yet, in the second season, we see the dark side of nature when Katara meets an old woman who teaches her blood-bending. This is also where we see another exposed look at Katara's damaged heart. This wound isn't healed until the third and final season. Another worthy mention is how Toph and Katara butt-heads because of Toph's self-reliant attitude and Katara's stubborn desire to help others (whether they like it or not). By the end of the second season, the two have a mutual respect for each other, but mostly out Toph's respect of Katara's courage and gutsyness. The other major theme of the second season was Katara's relationship with Zuko.

In the second season, when Zuko first considers betraying his father and accepting his destiny to save the Fire Nation and the world from war, there is a connection between Katara and Zuko. They both lost their mother to the Fire Nation and are both wounded figures. Katara feels sympathy for Zuko and reaches out to help him. She literally offers to heal his face. This connection and weak trust is shattered when Zuko double-crosses her to side with Azula. Katara blames herself for trusting Zuko and for Aang getting hurt. It also in this story event that we once again see Katara as the damsel in distress when Aang comes to her aid. Ultimately, Katara and Zuko would reunite and become friends. It is the third season that Katara's story is fully realized.

Zuko wants to regain Katara's trust. He has been hurt by the Fire Nation and understands Katara's thirst for revenge, after all he sought out Aang to redeem himself before his father for years. He tracks down the man who killed Katara's mother and offers her the revenge she has desired for so long. Yet, when Katara sees how pitiful the man who murdered her mother has become and sees the consequences of the cycle of revenge, she let him go and lets go of the pain in her heart. After this, the only thing left for Katara to do is to finally accept the possibility of a relationship with Aang.

An infinitely better love story than Twilight. P.S. Zukara Forever!
Tomorrow, we will talk about "The Fool".

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