Reylo - Anima/Animus - Two Parts, One Whole;
a mini-breakdown (anon ask)
Thanks for the great observation anon! Now, what you’re describing is the shadow, which is - I think - related to Kylo Ren/Ben, but not in the way antis think. The shadow is something that must be faced, defeated, overcome - but also accepted and integrated with - that whole yin and yang thing. Accepting the darkness within you, but also conquering it.
I believe Rey’s shadow is Kylo Ren.
Her Animus is Ben Solo.
And the Animus - for the heroine - is a much different matter than the shadow.
It is the heroine’s soul mate, and Jung has some curious things to say that I’d like to touch on.
(Also, yes, it’s true that Kylo Ren and Ben Solo are the same person - I’m not arguing anything like that. But just as Anakin and Vader are these different personas within the same person, so, too are Kylo Ren and Ben Solo. It is an intentionally done thing in Star Wars to separate these characters by name. There is something to be said of the psychology behind a name, and by naming something - or someone - in two different ways, we can learn to separate those different aspects. This - I think - allows us to seperate Kylo Ren and Ben Solo as both Rey’s shadow and Animus. Maybe I’m wrong - I’m not claiming to be THE Jung expert. I read him as a hobby…. but nonetheless, I think I’m onto something maybe.)
Ok so let’s take a VERY brief look at Anima/Animus and what Carl Jung has to say:
So first, Plato’s Symposium is often used to show what the Anima/Animus actually is:
“After the division the two parts of man, each desiring his other
half, came together, and throwing their arms about one another, entwined
in mutual embraces, longing to grow into one. Each of us when separated
is always looking for his other half… And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called love.”
So the Anima/Animus are looking for the other half from which they have been cleaved in two. It is about becoming whole - finding balance. Coming back to the origins of Man+Woman = One. There are not two, but rather three: Man, Woman, and Whole.
This means that the character needs more than just a good, supportive relationship with their love interest. Their love interest needs to complete them somehow - in a way that no other could.
This is not about a “match made in heaven” - at least - not for women. This is not a “prince charming” dynamic by default. In fact - I’d argue AGAINST the perfect prince charming based on what Jung has to say.
Now, I have always thought - since my first viewing of TFA, that Rey and (Ben Solo) are Beauty and the Beast. This is largely informed not only by my personal interest in and knowledge of the tale (animated, original fairy tale, AND many comparisons in modern media - such as Buffy the Vampire, for example), but also in my personal readings of the Animus/Anima. It is important to note, however, that Jung - unfortunately - limited his perspective to the male perspective, so what exactly makes the Animus distinct in relation to the heroine isn’t entirely as concrete as it is for a hero… But that doesn’t mean it isn’t there at all, or that it can’t be discussed and speculated on.
Right, so let’s look at what Jung has to say:
“[Anima] archetype is a force; it has an autonomy… You see, you have a certain image in yourself
without knowing it of…the woman. Now you see that girl, or at least a
good imitation of your type, and instantly…you’re caught. And afterwards
you may discover that it was a hell of a mistake…[but there was] no
choice at all. [The man] has been captured… That is the archetype…of the
So, unfortunately Carl Jung has - admittedly - noted that his own observations of the Animus in relation to women’s perspectives is limited. He developed his ideas based on a very limited perspective of the male mind. But we can still get some take-aways from his observation of the Animus/Anima. For the Anima/Animus, one could also conclude from the above that:
1) “…You see a good imitation of your type, and instantly… you’re caught.” This is a sort of “love at first sight,” and speaks to what is often surprising and unexpected. I’ve talked of the parallels of Beauty and the Beast, and in both cases Belle and Rey are first (1) shocked and terrified of their beast’s beast or monster form
but (2) upon viewing their beasts TRUE form (for Belle it is the painting of the Beast in the West Wing - for Rey it is the removal of Kylo Ren’s mask), they are surprised, intrigued, and attracted to what they see:
This is the “instantly you’re caught” face. And, although both are a bit in denial of that attraction at first (Belle and Rey BOTH end up running away from their captor into a snowy forest for a confrontation and a moment to test their own compassion for the Beast), Carl Jung next says,
you may discover that it was a hell of a mistake…” So the meeting of the Anima/Animus has a certain tension to it - a push and pull (yin and yang - which as the Anon mentions is very connected to Jungian analysis) - that often leaves both parties reeling. They are certain this person is a “mistake” for them. The tension built here is very important for this dynamic - and in terms of a story builds up drama and romance. It’s really poetic, when you consider it. Both Belle and Rey seemingly suffer for their attraction, and also deny it. They try to run away, and are yet confronted again by the Beast in their effort to do so in the snowy forest. Which brings us to the next point…
3)“…[But there was] no
choice at all.” This is the most important part of the Anima/Animus - it is a fated meeting. It is unavoidable - there was never any getting around it. And how do we know that Rey and Ben Solo are fated to meet? Well… there are A LOT of signs in the movie, and I don’t have the time right now to get into all of them - namely what Maz says and some other various bits and pieces. But there is the most important piece of them all.
Not only is the vast majority of Rey’s vision of Kylo Ren, but immediately after this vision she runs into him while trying to run away from her destiny.
Her destiny is ultimately unavoidable because her destiny is directly linked to Kylo Ren/Ben Solo. He is her destiny - even when she tries to run away from it.
Everything Maz says, the conversations with Han Solo (which people try to use as evidence they are related - but you are missing the point. No, they are fated to meet - that doesn’t mean related, and fits better into this Anima/Animus romantic dynamic), the vision, her attraction and the repulsion that comes with it, and ultimately the compassion she holds for him… They are all signs that these are two people fated to come across each other and change their respective trajectories forever. They will never be the same now they’ve met, and will change drastically because of it.
The big take away here is balance. As you noted, yin and yang are key and we know from visual and story cues that TFA focused on juxtaposing both the differences and similarities between Rey and Kylo Ren.
They play off of each other - they are almost in a dance with each other. He takes from her feminine nature - finding compassion and a “pull to the Light,” with a certain fascination and tenderness unprecedented in Kylo until he meets our heroine. And she, too, takes from him and his masculine nature - pulling from his rage, anger, and aggressive fighting style when she begins to stalk and snarl and clench her fists in that final showdown. However, like yin and yang, they both already have their opposing elements locked inside them. Kylo Ren has always felt a pull to the Light and compassion - that’s why he let Finn go on Jakku. He is also unpredictable with his emotions and extremely vulnerable. And Rey has a certain fierceness and a closed-off nature, where she is resistant to show her own emotion and affection. She is active, where Kylo Ren/Ben Solo is passive. She is cool-headed and thinks before she acts - where Kylo Ren/Ben is hot-headed and reacts on emotion and passion. These are things both will have to learn to balance - the masculine and feminine - the dark and the light between them both.
And when both Rey and Ben discover this balance in each other, they will become whole.
Or so I think at least, given what we have from TFA and the hints from TLJ.
For now, this is all I have time for. I want to do a bigger post on this, the Anima/Animus and how it applies to Rey and Kylo/Ben. But… Jungian analysis is not a light and easy topic to cover, and if I ever do get around to it it’s going to take A LOT of work and thought.
I’ll leave you with this: on twitter Rian Johnson replied to someone that he has been reading up on Carl Jung and Robert Bly. If we want to understand the direction of The Last Jedi, I would guess it’s best to start there.
Thank you for this GREAT ask Anon! Research and thoughtful analysis is how we Reylos always knock down the naysayers!
I’ve been enjoying doing a couple of character drawings for our Exalted campaign instead of writing that slash fic I’ve been complaining about for roughly three years. Maralia’s a lunar from the West, her spirit shape is a swan. It’s more terrifying than you’d think.
So recently, I found your tumblr and I must say, your art and animations are drowning me in so much awesomeness! No to mention, you're killing me with all of those fabulous shop items, I need every single one of them!! I'm not sure if this was asked before, but what anima software do you use? It's hard to find a good one to animate on... I hope it's not a bother for you to answer this question >^<
Awww qwq Thank you very much omg … Don’t buy every single one!! I don’t want people to starve D: .. you can’t eat prints or charms … well maybe you can .. but still!!! But thank you q0q!!!
Ah I use Clip Studio Paint EX for both art and animation :)!!! And am trying to get around with OpenToonz to make better camera movement, as this is not possible in Clip Studio xox;;; But still i looove this program as I have used it before the animation possibility haha x3
It’s been a fruitful, fascinating year, full of crinkled pages and highlighted quotes, full of tortured books thrown rapidly into a cruel bag and dragged through trains and rain. Let’s use their martyrdom for a book recommendations post.
Those I re-read this year are bolded so I can emphasise typographically how great they are. Consider it a written wail of love.
I. Averno, Louise Glück II. If Not, Winter, Sappho (tr. by Anne Carson) III. The Glass Essay, Anne Carson IV. Ariel, Sylvia Plath V. Nox, Anne Carson VI. The World’s Wife, Carol Ann Duffy VII. War of the Foxes, Richard Siken VIII. Orpheus and Eurydice, Gregory Orr IX. Meadowlands, Louise Glück X. The Captain’s Verses, Pablo Neruda
+Anima is a relatively short manga (10 volumes) about children with animal powers, called +anima. They gain these powers because they’re in a life threatening situation, but are discriminated for them. It specifically follows a kid named Cooro, who’s a crow +anima, and his friends. There isn’t any real big plot, but each of the main characters has an arc, and they have little adventures. It’s very cute, and the art is great, but it also has its serious moments.
headcanon: harry has many songs written scribbled in that stupid journal of his-all that remind him of a very special person- and he’s fine with generously handing songs to talented artists here and there but he will never hand that one song pocketed in his coat pocket just in case he slides a ring on a certain blond’s calloused finger.