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Salvation at Sea... Now, Voyager Pt 2OK, so not tomorrow....
I was disturbed when I first saw this movie because it seemed to say "deny your family, have illicit affairs and everything will come out right."
But last night an offhanded line that I had always taken to be sort of Freudian blasphemy suddenly struck me as the key to another level of this movie: a level whereby it all weaves together to tell a different story.
Charlotte has a private meeting with Dr Jaquith. She asks to help - or more directly to take over - Tina's care. After that scene, as Charlotte is running off, this little coda takes place:
Jaquith: But you're only on probation. Remember what it says in the Bible, "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.
Charlotte: How does it feel to be the Lord?
Jaquith: Not so very wonderful since the free will bill got passed: too little power!
And therein I hit on a sort of skeleton key that unlocks a whole new corridor of meanings for this movie.
Forget Freud. Jaquith is God. (Jaquith is the family name version of the French Jaques - Jacob. Meaning "God has protected".) Forget mother: Mrs Vale is the evil one, the destroyer of souls. The only time her name is used, she is introduced as "Mrs Henry Windle Vale". Henry means "home ruler" or "home power". Windle means a "winch". Vale... well it's not the kind you wear on your face, yes. But it is, at least phonetically, the same. And the tie-in is made once in the movie too when Tina says it quite clearly. Mother's name could mean "The Home Power which ropes you in, covering your eyes to the world". Or event that "The one who rules the home covers you up and ties you down."
Jerry comes from "Jeremiah" and it means "God has uplifted"
Tina, of course, comes from the name Christina and it has the obvious meaning: Christian, little Christ.
Finally, the telling name is Charlotte: it comes from the Germanic Karl (via the French) and it means, simply, man. Charlotte is Everyman.
Her story is played out quite clearly thus:
In this world, in the hands of destroyer of souls we loose, gradually, our selves. We loose, gradually, our own sanity as we pattern ourself after the Ruler of the Home. So much of our life is spent fighting him (or her) off on our own. We never notice that even in the fighting we only play into his strength. We never note that, without help, we must surely fall.
Help comes from repentance, from metanoia - herein symbolized by confession and admitting the fall.
Confession: the disturbing scene between Charlotte and the Doctor in her bedroom returns one to paradise that is Cascade: a name meaning "fall".
God protects one if one is willing to go through rather than around or away.
God sends one on a journey. The ship is baptism. Charlotte is booked on the ship as "Renee" a name which means "born again". Jerry gives Charlotte, the Born again Everyman, a new name: Camille - which name is the French version (both feminine and masculine) of Camillus, a Latin name meaning "attendant at a religious service". It don't get much easier to read than this Folks, sorry. I had no idea it would ride this far.
On the ship they sail into Rio de Janeiro - the River of Janus, the god who looks both ways and watches over new birth. They ascend to the Christus Statue (eventually).
And then she returns home... where, like John in Pilgrims Regress she must slay the dragon and eventually she does.
Thus, in slaying the dragon she finally claims what is hers by right: she must return to paradise, although now it is really the Church. We don't see so much of Dr Jaquith save to confirm her in her new work: that of raising up a Christian.
In this new work she much build a community - a family of sorts - one that is crafted not on "home rule" but rather on love. She must fend off temptation as she finally does in the last scene. She must learn to love chastely and to use that love to, if I may be forgiven the obvious pun on Jerry's last name, endure to the end so that she may be saved.
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