We received the most amazing email from reader Lauren, who’s degree in English and Literature led her to some very insightful thinking. I am embarrassed to say I minored in the same and completely failed when it came to the symbolism she saw.
Thank you so much again!!
The picture of the empty wheelchair submerged brings to mind the religious connection of water. Apocalypse is a ‘god’ or a ‘deity’. In multiple religions around the world, water is a way of symbolizing a ‘re-birth’ or a ‘renewal’; washing away the old to bring in the new. Being completely submerged is not an unusual way of going about these religious traditions.*
Typically, water in literature means handling challenges. Oceans in literature symbolize deep obstacles or ‘abysses’, usually a dark side coming to light, or a character falling deeper into their own darkness.**
Two major points in FC take place in and beside an ocean. The first point is when Charles saves Erik from drowning both literally and metaphorically by jumping in after him. He saves Erik from giving in to his defeat (or drowning in it) when Erik is unable to raise the submarine. They emerge from the water ‘cleansed’ leading to a new beginning for both of them. ***
The second point is in Cuba when Erik surrenders to his own darkness. He chooses to let the ocean swallow him down. He gives in to his own ‘abyss’ by deciding to kill Shaw and turning the weapons back on the humans.
Lakes throughout literature are used to symbolize hard decisions or a character looking ‘within’. Alkali Lake would be an example of that. Jeans makes the hard decision by staying behind to save everyone else.
Water is a very fluid symbol, if you’ll forgive the pun. It can be used to show characters handling difficult life scenarios, either emerging free and ‘cleansed’ having overcome the challenge and been ‘re-born’, or, it can show the character giving in, or giving up. The character will ‘drown’ in their adversities, unable to defeat that which is challenging them. Water in literature can clean, or it can claim. ****
The wheelchair in the picture makes me believe the ‘re-born’ option is the one being aimed for since the chair is empty and breaking apart. Out with the old, in with the new.
I would like to know what kind of body of water the wheelchair is in. Could it be an ocean? Where a character is faced with dark choices, a waiting ‘abyss’? If that were the case, since the chair is empty, it could mean the decision is taken away from the character, more than likely by force. The character was facing a dark decision, but someone else made the choice, taking the decision away.
Could it be a lake? A character forced to make a hard decision? Which, if Alkali Lake is our example, the decision could be life or death. Since the chair is empty possibly a supposed ‘death’ just as Jean was ‘dead’ until she wasn’t after Alkali Lake. You have theorized that something will happen to Charles that causes Erik to snap and switch sides, this could be hinting to that theory.
The only body of water left of the ‘big three’ would be a river. Rivers are used throughout literature as a symbol of time or of life going on, as well as a symbol of fertility. Should the empty chair be in a river, it could mean that life has moved on or the ‘ending’ of a situation. (Such as Apocalypse being defeated). Life continuing on is used as a metaphor for Hope throughout literature, a concept Charles Xavier clings to with both hands. The fertility aspect could be seen as a situation, or in this case, what could potentially be an aftermath, that is ripe for regrowth, or renewal. An abundant and fertile aftermath ripe for new beginnings.*****
As I said earlier, I’m thinking they are using the ‘re-birth’ symbolism, out with the old and in with the new. Personally the lake symbolism is my favorite idea, just because it would be dramatic and Charles and Erik are nothing if not dramatic.
*I have a theory coming up about Erik and his religious roots tying into Apocalypse but I just want to point out that in the Jewish tradition, unlike the Christian, people are not baptized as infants, but rather when they are old enough to understand.
**We know Erik is a horseman and gives in to his darkness but could this mean we will get Dark Charles?
***the drowned chair could lead to Erik switching sides and saving Charles.
****this is basically Erik’s internal struggle throughout his entire life and also the conflict keeping him and Charles at odds. Perhaps this is the movie where we get a resolution?
*****Starting to run the school the way it was in the beginning; all of them protecting one another, training side by side like ’62?