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“The Wind Also Rises” – A Commentary

I feel like I should say a few things about my short story “The Sun Also Rises” to avoid any misunderstandings of my intentions. The backbone of the story was derived from one of Aesop’s fables–“The Wind And The Sun ” to be precise. If you’re not familiar with the tale, the story goes like this: The sun and the wind sees a man walking in the desert, and the wind wagers that he can make the man take off his coat before the sun can. So the wind blows as hard as he’s able to, but the man only hugs his coat closer. The sun smiles and shines his warm light brighter and brighter. The man begins to perspire, and immediately takes his coat off.

The moral of the story is of course about kindness as the best form of rhetoric–the best way to convince someone to do something (to have the man take off his coat in this case) is with a bit of flattery.

wind also rises comicMy take on this old fable is to represent the wind with the evil lieutenant while the sun is here played by the sympathetic soldier. It was obvious to me in the process of writing this story that I wasn’t simply dealing with two opposing forces. Things get a bit complicated, especially when one is writing bout the holocaust (not a light subject in any form of art–hence for this commentary). What I want to examine was the function of ideology in authority. Here we enter the realm of Hegel (the 19th century German philosopher), particularly his idea of the ‘coincidence of the opposites’. That is to say, the sun and the wind here is two sides of the same coin. The lieutenant functions as the brutally serious official, and the soldier its sentimental otherness. The two characters are not in external opposition to one another. Notice that the soldier never criticizes the lieutenant. This is the inherent split of ideology at its purest. What seems to be the Master is always accompanied by its inverse underside. Slavoj Zizek, a contemporary Lacanian philosopher, has this to say: “…one of the consequences of the fact that Master is always an impostor is the duplication of the Master—the agency of the Master is always perceived as a semblance concealing another, ‘true’ Master” (Zizek 56). The Master is never just what you see in front of you; there’s always another side of him (or her). In the comic the Master (the lieutenant) hides behind the soldier. (more…)