What qualities do you look for in a partner? a) Someone who is very courteous and polite
b) Someone who is sweet and gentle
c) Someone who is quiet and a good listener
d) Someone who can make you laugh
What talents would be preferable? a) Someone who is good at writing music
b) Someone who is good at photography (you could save a lot of money on a photographer at the wedding just saying)
c) Someone who is good at playing games and tennis
d) Someone who is good at cooking
What do you expect your partner to be doing when you get home from work? a) They have locked themselves in the bedroom and are refusing to come out until they have written a good song
b) They are lying on the sofa with one eyebrow raised
c) They are staring out the window at the tennis courts, wishing their kit was washed
d) They have cooked you a lovely meal and want to have a candlelit dinner with you
Where would your ideal date take place? a) A high class restaurant b) The local park c) The tennis courts d) At home
How would you like to be proposed to? a) A session of serenading b) Lots of rose petals and candles c) A tennis ball with “will you marry me” written on it with a sharpie d) A cake with “will you marry me” iced on it
What food does your partner have to like? a) Special K b) Donuts c) Pizza d) You don’t mind
What is the worst thing your partner could do? a) Spend all of your bill money on a new red leather jacket for a photoshoot b) Beat you at snooker c) Smack you in the face with a tennis racket d) Steal your hair dye
What hair colour is most attractive to you? a) Blonde b) Red c) Black d) You really can’t be picky with this guy because he’s had it all
It’s raining outside, what do you want to do with your partner? a) Write love poems about each other b) Take cute photos of each other c) Play a game d) Bake a cake
What style are you most likely to go for? a) Blazers and ties b) Zipped sweaters and leather trousers c) Everything needs to black, even the lipstick d) Colour everywhere, even the socks
Which do you prefer? a) Singers b) Drummers c) Synth Players d) Bassists
Where would you like to go on holiday with your partner? a) Japan b) Somewhere close to home c) Italy d) Cyprus
What would “your song” be? a) China Girl by David Bowie b) Love is the Drug by Roxy Music c) Dancing Queen by ABBA d) Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush
What is your partner’s worst habit? a) Staring into space b) Sleep walking c) Not talking d) Playing music too loudly
What do you want to wake up to? a) Your partner sitting in front of the mirror putting their make up on b) Your partner still asleep next to you…awww c) A note that says “gone to play tennis” d) Breakfast in bed
Mostly A: Your boyfriend is David Mostly B: Your boyfriend is Steve Mostly C: Your boyfriend is Richard Mostly D: Your boyfriend is Mick
Chiastic structure is one of my favorite forms of narrative. In this narrative structure, events mirror one another in a symmetrical fashion. The two most “outer” events parallel one another; the second and second-to-last events parallel each other; and so on and so forth. All major events can be mirrored with one another up to a pinnacle point in the center. In essence, the structure is an ABCBA form.
One of the things that has always impressed me about Undertale is its balanced narrative structure. Events occur at the exact time they need to - proportional to the length of the entire story - in order to maintain good, aesthetic narrative flow. I have wanted to crunch some numbers mathematically to see how the proportions of the different events/climaxes occur within Undertale, but alas, I have not done that yet. Still, in the process of thinking about Undertale’s balanced plot structure, I came across an interesting progression of mirrored events. Whether intentional or unintentional, a lot of Undertale’s narrative structure in the Neutral Route can be described chiastically.
There are, of course, events in Undertale that simply progress in an unfolding linear fashion. The mouse and the cheese gets expounded upon with every stop, for one example. But many other events are mirrored in that ABCBA structure - many of the most important events, in fact, are mirrored. This includes the introductions of Flowey and Photoshop Flowey, meeting Toriel and Asgore, traveling through Home and New Home, hanging out with Papyrus and Undyne, and more.
Summary of Undertale’s Chiastic Structure
I outline the main events of the chiastic structure below. Mirrored events are labeled with letters and their prime. For example, A and A’ are mirrored events of one another.
A. Flowey B. Meet Toriel C. Home D. Flowey’s Judgment E. Leave Ruins F. Meet Sans G. Papyrus Puzzles and Battle H. Dog Squad I. Papyrus Date J. Undyne Encounter I’. Undyne Date H’. Royal Guards and Muffet G’. Mettaton Puzzles and Battle F’. Dine with Sans E. Enter CORE C’. New Home D’. Sans’ Judgment B’. Meet Asgore A’. Photoshop Flowey
Explanation of the Mirrored Events
A. Flowey A’. Photoshop Flowey
The game begins and ends with an “introduction” of Flowey’s
character - an introduction that involves the flower being more than he first seems, screaming “DIE”, and trying to kill you with pellets. In both instances, Frisk is saved by an outside force: at the start of the game, by Toriel’s interruption; at the end of the game, by the six human SOULs rebelling inside Omega Flowey.
B. Meet Toriel B’. Meet Asgore
Right before/after Flowey is introduced in his latest form,
you meet one of his parents. At the
start of the game, entering the Ruins and the underground, you meet
Toriel. At the end of the game, while
leaving the underground, you meet Asgore.
C. Home C’. New Home
I have already analyzed the similarities between Home and New
Home. Not only are Home and New Home
parallel structures with the same floor plan layout, but Frisk has similar
experiences in each one of them. Frisk
is heading toward the one and only exit at risk of being killed for their
soul; in Home, Frisk wishes to step past the one exit that leads into the
underground, while in New Home, Frisk is preparing to meet Asgore and step
through the barrier, the one and only exit that leads to the surface world. But while Frisk is
traveling through the basement hallway in Home/New home, they are told an impacting
narrative that frames their perspective on monsters. They hear two parallel stories about
unnecessary tragic childhood deaths in the human-monster conflict. Toriel tells Frisk a pro-human narrative
about Asgore killing children souls; the monsters in New Home tell Frisk a
pro-monster narrative about humans killing the souls of the monster kings and
queen’s children. After hearing the accounts, Frisk meets with one of the royal figures, who blocks the exit they
wish to pass. Toriel blocks Frisk from
entering the underground out of fear Asgore will kill them; Asgore then blocks
Frisk from leaving the underground with the intent to kill them. However, neither wish to fight the human.
D. Flowey’s Judgment D’. Sans’ Judgment
I do understand that the Cs and Ds are slightly “out of order”
chronologically, but they are events that mirror one another. The point is that, right after Frisk leaves
Toriel, their actions are assessed by Flowey based upon what they have
done. And right before Frisk meets
Asgore, their actions are again judged, this time by Sans. Both Flowey and Sans look at Frisk’s LV, EXP,
and MDR, making remarks that are dependent upon how merciful the human has
been. Their dialogue will vary depending
upon whether or not you kill their family member (Toriel/Papyrus), and whether
you have killed other monsters of the underground. Technically neither will “do” anything – even
if you have murdered a lot of people – except make a judging comment about it.
E. Leave Ruins E’. Enter CORE
Leaving the Ruins is what gets Frisk’s adventures started “officially” in the underground. It is the first step into the main monster world. Entering the CORE is the first step taken to leave that world, the first “official” move that marks the beginning of the end.
F. Meet Sans F’. Dine with Sans
The adventure in the underground is framed around several meetings
with Sans. Right after leaving the Ruins
and entering the underground, Frisk meets Sans, who introduces himself as a
lazy sentry who has no care to capture the human. Right before entering the
CORE to leave the underground, Frisk again meets with Sans for a dinner at MTT
Resort, who tells him he is rooting for the human. It’s interesting to note that one of these events occurs near the door where Sans made knock-knock jokes with Toriel, while the other event references those old knock-knock jokes and how he made a promise to Toriel about keeping the human safe. These points bookmark the start and end of Sans looking after the human.
If we want, we could also talk about parallels in term of
meeting Sans in Snowdin versus meeting Sans in the judgment hall, but these are
more “out of order” for a chiasmus, so I have elected to make the moments I
listed F and F’.
G. Papyrus Puzzles and Battle G’. Mettaton Puzzles and Battle
The Snowdin and Hotland sections proceed in parallel
manners. First, you have an awkward
meeting with a character – Sans/Alphys – who tells you about a character to
contend with – Papyrus/Mettaton. Then, a
very short moment later, the central character you will be interacting with
gets introduced. Papyrus is seen as
someone who fiercely wishes to capture the human while Mettaton is seen as a
robot who is programmed to fiercely kill a human.
The rest of the sections in Snowdin and Hotland are going
through obstacles set up by Papyrus/Mettaton. Both characters have a “trap” involving food – Papyrus with his enticing
plate of frozen spaghetti, Mettaton with his cooking show. We even have the parallel recurrence of the
multicolor tile puzzle. At the end of
these encounters, the human faces off against Papyrus/Mettaton in a boss
battle. You are fighting both Papyrus
and Mettaton because they have a desire for popularity: Papyrus because he
wishes to join the Royal Guard, and Mettaton because he wishes to be a popular television
H. Dog Squad H’. Royal Guards and Muffet
At the same time G and G’ are occurring, Frisk also
encounters some secondary bosses. Frisk encounters sentries/guards in both Snowdin and Hotland who
are instructed to apprehend the human.
Frisk even fights a duo in each location: the Dogi in Snowdin, then 01 and 02
I. Papyrus Date I’. Undyne Date
While it is true that the friendship dates can occur at many flexible moments in the game experience, the most natural time to do either of them is where I have
placed them on this timeline. It makes
the most sense to do the Papyrus Date immediately after his boss fight because
he invites you over to his house. It
likewise makes most sense to do the Undyne house call after her encounter
because that is when Papyrus invites you to her house, and where the River
Person conveniently appears to take you back to Waterfall. In each of these friendship dates, you have
an amusing time in which both of the characters attempt to prove they’re something they are not – Papyrus tries to be your BEST-BEST-BEST friend or
significant other, while Undyne tries to force you into being her bestie. In the end, both monsters acknowledge relationships
cannot be forced.
J. Undyne Encounter
The center of the game is Undyne’s encounter. Undyne is the halfway point, where the
chiastic structure reaches its peak. Here, Frisk
must learn to flee Undyne rather than fight her.
Genocide Route Structure
The idea of encountering Undyne as the “center” of the narrative arc is enforced by how the Genocide Route is structured. There are two main boss fights in which Frisk must actually dodge the attacks (as versus kill a monster in one blow). These two boss fights, the “mid-point” and the “climax”, are between Undyne and Sans, respectively.
Impact of the Chiastic Structure
By mirroring events in a chiastic structure, a balanced narrative is easily constructed, but it also builds something emotionally impacting, too.
Frisk’s adventure in the underground is a journey. One can feel exactly how far Frisk has come - by evoking moments resonant of the start. Meeting ASGORE recalls the meeting with TORIEL and evokes an extra level of emotions. The entire scene in New Home would make much less impact without Home to juxtapose it. The same floor plan in New Home immediately yanks at the heart, helps the game player recall the moment Toriel warned them about Asgore taking humans’ souls… and builds a more emotional context by which to explain the reason Asgore is seeking out those souls.
Chiasmus also, interesting enough, gives an idea of circularity and parallelism that is resplendent throughout Undertale. Chiastic structure involves mirroring a number of events over a central point. But the very existence of the Pacifist versus Genocide Routes provides yet another mirroring. The entire adventure can be experienced through a fully merciful or fully killer mentality. Not to mention that the ideas embedded within the story of Undertale involve events recurring in new ways! There is a circularity to a seventh human soul falling to the underground and making a journey - just like the other six human souls - but this time, something slightly different happens. If you go through several Neutral Routes, repeating similar events in different ways keeps happening over and over and over. The chiastic structure works well to glue all these ideas, already occurring, within Undertale, to create an incredibly impacting narrative that resonates with the heart.
Protecting, Calming and Cleansing Jar for Loved Ones
Since I am leaving my homecity and traveling to a different state, I asked my mom if she’d let me make her a protecting, calming and cleansing jar pendant for her. She of course said yes :)
If you have a loved one you wish to protect against negative energies, keep their own energy calm, and help cleanse their aura who is willing to wear this at least every week to keep its effect fresh, here is how you make this simple Jar Spell.
“They don’t understand that by not caring about lives in Paris – or acting as if they didn’t – they help to polarize the world even further. And they don’t understand that their "enlightened” “radical” position is rather childish. One cannot pretend to get people to care about the lives of others by telling them that theirs don’t. And, when we ridicule and shame those who showed support for Paris that is exactly what we are doing.“