Homestuck Personal Arc Discussion - How the Conclusion Failed Its Characters (Pt. 2/?: Jake English)
This series is not meant to belittle or otherwise shit upon the obvious tremendous amount of artistic effort that went into Homestuck’s final updates. I think everyone can agree the conclusion was visually & aurally stunning, and I would even say that what writing that was present was also top notch. This series is purely meant to explore something many people have found fault with: the failure to deliver on arc conclusions for just about every single one of Homestuck’s main characters despite a significant amount of build up and narrative foreshadowing that such conclusions were planned. I won’t be chiming in about the main plot/plot holes/etc, either, this is purely character discussion.
What Is A Character Arc?
Also known as an “inner journey,” a character arc is generally what separates a main protagonist from a secondary, minor or background character. The successful completion of a character arc is often what allows a character to be considered “round” vs “flat” – meaning that by the end of the story they have changed in some fundamental way.
Homestuck is a coming of age story, featuring young characters thrown into impossible situations expressly meant to challenge them and grow them as people. This is actually stated in the narrative several times, but more importantly, shown to us via what actually exists of each major characters’ arc. My argument then is that these arcs were truncated with a narratively lazy conclusion, not that they didn’t exist at all – and this is a large part of why so many people are finding the conclusion unsatisfying.
Pt. 2: Jake English
Possibly the most contentious and chronically misunderstood character in the main cast, Jake English is the first Alpha we ever meet in canon, and also the first character I often see pointed when accusations of having no point, purpose or defining arc start flying around. Personally I think that Jake not only HAD an arc, but was very close to completing it – so much so that I find his conclusion one of the most unsatisfying of all. He is missing key conversations that would have wrapped him up nicely, and while they might not have convinced people who already disliked him that he was a character worthy of a second look, they would have at least let us Jake fans that do exist feel good about always, appropriately, having had faith in a character whose arc is so defined by believing in oneself.
Let’s start with Jake’s primary conflicts. (Or, as I like to call it, Jake’s Shit.)