Eli as seen by other characters

For discussion of John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel Låt den rätte komma in
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lombano
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Eli as seen by other characters

Post by lombano » Sat Jul 18, 2009 9:04 pm

Just about all major characters, and some minor ones, in the novel see Eli upon meeting/seeing him, as something that is partly false (no surprise there) but, far more unexpectedly, there is always s grain of truth in their initial perception, even though it differs massively from one character to the next - Oskar sees him as the new girl he can befriend, though she leads a sad life and is a little strange; Hakan as a beautiful child-prostitute (Eli 'sells' him a few caresses and physical contact, showing himself naked, and the implicit long-term promise of more, in exchange for blood); the hospital receptionist, as a an unhappy, lonely child with a touch of being older; the man arriving to the hospital in a taxi, as the Angel of Death; Lacke as a vampire; even Jocke as a victim of an attack (and not an accident). Sometimes it's wish-fulfillment (Oskar, Hakan), sometimes it's about the character's fears (the man outside the hospital) - but what strikes me is that they always correctly perceive some aspect of Eli. First impressions are often misleading, after all - and most characters have no initial indication of Eli's real nature, but their first impression is never completely wrong. Which is maybe a clever way of pointing out different aspects of what Eli is.
Bli mig lite.

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RaVenBlackehart
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Re: Eli as seen by other characters

Post by RaVenBlackehart » Sun Jul 19, 2009 10:00 pm

The children at the pool saw Eli as an angel with lion's teeth.
Eli is like the elephant in the "Blind Men and the Elephant" story.
Everyone sees something different in her/him.

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Aurora
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Re: Eli as seen by other characters

Post by Aurora » Mon Jul 20, 2009 7:15 am

I agree with what you've said, it also shows how difficult it is to define Eli. It's why simple descriptions like 'she's a murderer' will never be adequate, there's much more to her than that one aspect.
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genie47
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Re: Eli as seen by other characters

Post by genie47 » Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:49 am

Oskar says when he was questioned what is in the box at the end on the train.

"A little of everything."

That is what Eli is a little of everything. Murderer, thief, lover, angel, etc.
Låt den rätte komma in in both its printed and celluloid form is a slow acting poison. You will be poisoned white. White from arsenic and innocence.

To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage. - Lao Tzu

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stormbringer951
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Re: Eli as seen by other characters

Post by stormbringer951 » Tue Jul 21, 2009 1:22 pm

Well, genie47 pretty much put what I was going to say there. A little bit of boy, a bit of girl, murderer, monster, innocent child, lover. I did like the descriptive bit that concluded that "Oskar had been rescued by an angel" and the forensics guy who then appended "obviously not one from heaven" (not quoting verbatim, but can't be bothered to get the book at the moment).

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TΛPETRVE
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Re: Eli as seen by other characters

Post by TΛPETRVE » Tue Jul 21, 2009 1:48 pm

Interestingly enough, vampires are often times compared to fallen angels in christian-based folklore.
Att fly är livet, att dröja döden.

Do not ask why; ask why not.

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cmfireflies
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Re: Eli as seen by other characters

Post by cmfireflies » Tue Jul 21, 2009 4:13 pm

I also liked the way (in the English translation) the pronouns used to refer to Eli change between he/she/it. Especially when Oskar confronts Lacke. Really neat way to illustrate what Eli means to all the characters and how Oskar accepts Eli.

This has also been brought up before but the entire film means different things to different people. I read a review where the reviewer liked the film but viewed Eli as a sexual predator and the horror, he/she said, came from us rooting for the predator. I only bring this up because it was a well-written review and the reviewer mentioned that s/he works as a social worker. Funny thing is, the review's tone was absolutely certain. It wasn't "one interpretation is...." but more like "this movie is about..."
"When is a monster not a monster? Oh, when you love it."

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stormbringer951
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Re: Eli as seen by other characters

Post by stormbringer951 » Tue Jul 21, 2009 10:28 pm

Link please?
Image

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cmfireflies
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Re: Eli as seen by other characters

Post by cmfireflies » Wed Jul 22, 2009 5:02 pm

http://cureofars.blogspot.com/2009/04/r ... ne-in.html

That's the link. Apparently I misremembered, it's not so much a review as it is an analysis of film with the central idea of Eli as a sexual predator. Also, there's some Christian imagery thrown in. I really don't want people to start arguing about the merits of the analysis. I merely brought it up because it illustrates how people have wildly different interpretations of the film.

This review is actually more intelligent than the average "OMG this movie is about homosexual pedophilia because Eli is a boy!" rant. Although the basic points of the arguments are nothing new. I got the feeling that the reviewer actually liked the film and then started to think about the implications of the ending. Unfortunately, he or she didn't give any concluding thoughts.
"When is a monster not a monster? Oh, when you love it."

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lombano
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Re: Eli as seen by other characters

Post by lombano » Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:26 pm

genie47 wrote:Oskar says when he was questioned what is in the box at the end on the train.

"A little of everything."

That is what Eli is a little of everything. Murderer, thief, lover, angel, etc.

Yep, that line sums up Eli perfectly. The epilogue is brilliant, with that line and the final 'Maybe when you're young.'

I love the whole Eli as an angel theme - 'hardly one from Heaven,' yes, but also not truly from Hell - and earthly angel, if that makes sense.
Bli mig lite.

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