Anl: Trauma and Psychosis in Harry Potter

I love the Harry Potter books. From Goblet of Fire onward, I read each book as it was published. Part of the charm of reading relies on revisiting stories from new perspectives. When I started reading the Harry Potter books, I was not diagnosed with my mental illnesses. Teenage me was unaware of disability. I didn’t notice the underlying messages regarding trauma and mental illness in Harry Potter. Here, I will only be focusing on Harry and Ginny for the most part.


Trauma and Harry

Harry is singled out by trauma. The Boy Who Lived. He was literally marked by a visible scar to note his trauma. Living with the Dursleys, an abusive family, he often struggles to find his own worth. For example, he questions Molly for her affection. He rejects his friends’ offers to hep often. And, he doesn’t see much hope for his future.

As the series progresses, Harry loses people repeatedly. From his parents to Cedric. The list grows longer. Hedwig, his companion–the literal connection he had to his friends and the magic world, is axed.

However, it is not simply “loss” that marks Harry.

He is haunted by crippling anxiety as he is pressured into a fight he never chose. Voldemort chose him as his equal, and as such, tries eliminate him. Moreover, the pressure of being the Chosen One is rather debilitating. Harry doesn’t perform well in school. He doesn’t make a lot of friends. By Half-Blood Prince, he doesn’t have much ambition for his future. It takes Professor McGonagall to remind him that he can still become an auror by taking Slughorn’s class.


Mental Control (Lack thereof)

Another aspect of trauma is control. I think this is the scariest idea presented in the text. Harry has very little control over his own mind (literally). For example, Voldemort and Harry’s minds are linked. They can tap into each others’ visions. Harry loses Sirius through Voldemort’s manipulation of his mind.

This idea of losing touch with one’s reality reminds me of psychosis. As someone who experiences psychotic episodes and schizophrenia, this bit of representation matters to me. I always connected to Professor Trelawney, the Divination instructor. The prophecy comes through her. She is a bit of an outcast, but still. The story would not exist without Sybil Trelawney.

What about Ginny? She loses her ability to reason in Chamber of Secrets as Tom Riddle controls her body. Terrified, she runs, but it is too late. She is trapped in a dark place because of her mind.

Again, the fact that Rowling gives these psychosis-based experiences is hopeful.

Finally, Neville’s parents are traumatized by torturous spells so much that they are in a hospital. It is shown that they have no recollection of their family. This is some sort of representation. But, the question is, does Rowling do much with it?


Reflection on Trauma and Psychosis

In a way, Rowling reflects on trauma through Harry Potter. No one chooses to be mentally ill. Harry never chose to be against Voldemort. He never chose to be prey for Death Eaters and dementors.  And, this is a positive idea to choose. However, it is not just about mentioning ideas. It is about what you do with them as an author.

It is not just Harry dealing with trauma that is interesting. I think of Cho Chang’s example often. Faced with the death of a boyfriend or classmate (Cedric), she is left into a state of depression. She cries a lot. She cries when Harry kisses her, in fact.

And, Harry, fellow trauma-survivor, doesn’t seem to sympathize. What truly hurt is that Rowling could have used Cho as a character who has depression resulting from trauma. Would it not be neat to see Cho be a central character? Instead, she is dismissed and replaced with Ginny.

Now, granted, Ginny survived the abuse of being in touch with Tom Riddle. It sounds like psychosis a bit. She doesn’t know her own reality or her own strength. But, she is literally rescued by Harry. And Harry in turn is helped by a phoenix. Rowling never revisits this trauma again for Ginny.

By the end of the stories, “all is well” and Harry’s scar doesn’t hurt anymore. None of this aligned with my own experiences as a person with PTSD. Ginny is somehow presented as a “cool” person. She is a Quidditch star, wife, mother. The world is all possible as she thinks  “Everything is possible if you have the nerve.” But, she is never faced with her trauma anymore. It just disappears.

That’s not good representation. It’s two dimensional and diminishes the complexity of mental illness and trauma.

Your Turn:

What are your thoughts on Harry Potter and the representation of mental illness? Share your thoughts in comments to get the discussion going. Don’t forget to check out posts by the rest of the Disability Diaries crew.

For More:


Potter and PTSD 


What Harry Potter Taught Me About Trauma 



When watching Poldark, most people feel passionate about Ross and his story, but I am
I knew I would love Swiss Army Man from the moment I saw the trailer. Granted, I
I read Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close a few years ago and it moved me tremendously. So,

Introduction Disability Diaries

Welcome to my first Disability Diaries entry for 2017. Over the next week, I will be dedicating my blog to discussions regarding disability (more than usual)). I am joining awesome hosts: Ely (who created this whole thing!), Angel, Cee Arr, Lara Liz, and Jolien.



I was always a crier. Frequently suffering from intense mood swings and daily dose of manic episodes. Unable to maintain friendships, I relied on stories to find acceptance. And, unfortunately, it was very hard to find my place in a grander narrative. So, I existed with the pressure of trying to mask all the “weirdness.”

Never did I think that there were others like me. As educated as I thought I was, I was never aware of my family’s history with mental illness.

But, by January of 2012, I was crying all the time. Constantly. Things were going “well,” too. I had a steady job and two college degrees under my belt. There were very few reasons for my sadness. I felt so guilty for being unwell. Days would go by and I would be unable to get out of bed.

Even though I had just gotten a car, I was also starting to see things that confused me on the road. I would hear whispers about how much I sucked at driving. My heart was always beating too fast and loud for me to breathe properly.


One day, my mom sat me down and encouraged me to look into therapy. So I did. I remember my second appointment being on Valentine’s Day. Then, by June, I was writing about my journey angrily on my blog.  You may be wondering why you can’t see posts from my early days on the blog-o-sphere. Well, I was very angry and frustrated. When I shared my experiences, I was quick to delete them out of fear and shame.


While I am trying to gear this blog toward books and more tangible things, I am also hoping for representation of disabled people like myself. It is hard to find good examples of people who are disabled in literature, I find. And, if the portrayal is accurate or convincing, sometimes the illness takes over the narrative. This is one of the reasons why even five years into treatment, I still struggle to be my own hero in my life.

My hope is to get a dialogue going to help other disabled people voice their experiences too. In doing so, we can challenge the idea of us being “abnormal” or objects to be controlled and manipulated. Part of it is confronting the shaming and overall erasure of our existence and, by extension, our value.

Hope you’re ready for Disability Diaries. I look forward to check out your posts and get the dialogue going!

    I figured a change of pace would be a good idea for the
I spend a lot of time online. Perhaps I'm not alone in this, but it
          Welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday. This week, the

BT: The Sandwich Tag

I am sleepless and excited, so I thought I’d participate in a tag. Ely, from Tea and Titles, shared her responses in a video. Introducing the Sandwich Tag!

Alright, so the Sandwich Tag has a few questions regarding books in relation to sandwiches.


1. Peanut Butter & Jelly- A work that serves as a great introduction to a particular topic.

I am going rogue here and saying The Hobbit by Tolkien. It introduced a whole genre for me, because up until this book, I had not encountered fantasy in literature. I assumed that people have to read the classics and that anything else doesn’t exist.

2. Ham & Cheese- A working class work.

White Cat and the rest of the trilogy by Holly Black. Most of the novels I have are about people who are within the working class, I think, but I reckon this is different. This is about being in the outskirts of society. It is about crime and power. I love it. I read these books while in the hospital. So, they’re extra close.

3. Grilled Cheese- A great experimental writer.

I was a huge fan of T.S Eliot. Haven’t read his work since college, but I was rather attached to his The Waste Land. As a gesture, I passed it on to my younger sister when she graduated from high school.

4. Italian- A bestseller you feel people need to check out.

Princess Bride. I read the book before ever seeing the movie. It’s really good.


5. Turkey- A writer you cannot go wrong with.

Tahereh Mafi is probably my favorite writer. I love her and John Green the most.

6. Steak- A work that is subject to intense arguments.

English majors argue over all works. I remember my first paper being on Pride and Prejudice. So, I will go with that one.

7. Chicken Parm- The most fascinating topic you saw turn into a book.

Paradise Lost was probably my favorite retelling of a story I grew up with. The Sun is Also a Star was another really neat story about love, identity, and illegal immigration.

8. Tuna- A work you had low expectations about, but turned out being impressed by.

The Raven Boys. I am working my way through the series and I am just in awe. It is fantastically written. I resisted the Harry Potter series in high school and judged it intensely. I ended up writing my graduate thesis, a whole book on it.

9. BLT- A morning read.

Morning, what’s that? Seriously, though, probably Paper Towns or An Abundance of Katherines by John Green would make really good morning reads.

10. S’mores- A work you would read while camping.

I’d worry about the book getting dirty, to be honest.

11. Hero- An anthology filled with all-star writers.

I had some anthologies for college. But,  I was torn between dark romanticism and transcendentalism.

12. Dagwood- The largest, most intimidating book you read.

Moby Dick was a book I had to read over a couple of weeks. It was such a daunting experience and yet it became one of my favorites. I am not sure where my copy went, but I was so enamored with Ahab and the crew. I don’t even like ships. I get seasick.

13. Favorite- What’s your favorite sandwich?

I like veggie burritos. Does that count? I also like avocado sandwiches. Peanut butter and jelly. I am not an amazing cook, so I like simple things.

14. Platter- Who do you tag?

Annemieke, Shannon, and Cee Arr.  And, anyone who wants to do this, obviously!

    Ali from the Hardback Hoarder channel recorded a video where she answered the
    I was watching Aly from Hardback Hoarder's video on this tag, and I
    While watching Ally's video on this tag, I decided to follow suit. In

DA Readathon TBR

HAPPY NEW YEAR! (Okay, in 15 minutes, it’ll be a new year)

In an effort to turn this blog into more of a book blog, I am trying to participate in readathons. One of the neatest ones I have heard of is the Dumbledore’s Army Readathon. Unlike all the cool kids, I am keeping this a bit relaxed, and reading at my own pace.

Obviously, I am a Slytherin. Also obviously, you should follow me on Goodreads to see my reactions as I read these books. Another obvious thing is that I cheated and included two books that I am currently reading. Whatever. I just want to read more and to write more. Here we go.

Expecto Patronum:

The Sun is Also a Star–Nicola Yoon


Expelliarmus–A book about a marginalized group

Girl of Fire and Thorns–Rae Carson

Curvy girls of color, people like me, are not really in books often. For someone like me to be a hero of a story would mean the world to me. So, I can’t wait to read this one!


Impedmimenta–Diverse book that’s been on TBR the longest

Demon’s Covenant–Sarah Rees Brennan


Protego–OWN voices

You Know Me Well–Nina LaCour and David Levithan

Reducto–Smashing Glass Ceiling

Dream Thieves–Maggie Stievfater

Stupefy–Hyped book

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe–Benjamin Alire Saenz


Lumos–book recommended by bloggers 

Cinder– Marissa Meyer  

    Ah, May reading plans are still a mess because of my mental headspace
Photo Credit: Phoebe Dill on Unsplash        This week
I have postponed facing a TBR all weekend. It's Sunday night and I am still

BT: Harry Potter Book Tag

In an effort to make my blog more accurately a reflection of who I am, I am going to try to write more about my books. One could even venture to say, maybe this blog could become more of a book blog. Maybe.If you don’t know this about me, I wrote my graduate thesis was all about Harry Potter. Naturally, it’s time to do a tag!

The Harry Potter Book Tag

I stole this from Inge over at Of Wonderland, which I’ll link here. 

What is your favorite book?

It’s a tie. Order of the Phoenix, where Harry was raging, made me laugh a lot, because, I, too, have rage issues. But, the first HP book I ever got was Goblet of Fire after watching/obsessing over the first movie. Therefore, this has to be my favorite. Incidentally, when I got this book as a gift, I didn’t know that Harry Potter was a series. I thought there was only one book. (Ah, to be young).

What is your favorite film?

Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite. It’s the first movie I have ever seen on my own with my friends, and I love the aesthetic of it. 

What is your least favorite book?

Chamber of Secrets, because we could have learned more about Draco and we didn’t. Or was it Dean? I remember a portion of the book revolving around one of these two characters and then that section being taken out to focus on Ginny/Harry/Tom.

What is your least favorite film?

Chamber of Secrets. Oh, I cringe at the awkward puberty of the cast. Ugh.

Parts of the books/films that made you cry.

Remus’ death was hard on me. I feel a close connection to him more than anyone in that group. Snape’s death, too, was difficult to handle. I cried whenever Ron broke the hearts of everyone in the golden trio. Dumbledore was the loving grandfather I never had, and, therefore, his death was so, so painful to read.

 If you could hook up with any character, who would it be?

I am asexual and aromantic. More importantly, I read fan fiction for too long, so rather than them hooking up with me, I would like to share some ships.

Draco/Harry (“What is Draco doing in the Room of Requirement?” Harry, you stalker, stop it), Draco/Hermione, Seamus/Dean, Oliver Wood/ Percy Weasley, Luna/Neville, Ron/Hermione, shush, but Sirius/Remus was fun. I still don’t like movie Ginny that much, but Luna/Ginny would be really cute.

Guys, remember when we didn’t know if Blaise Zabini was a girl or boy? Ah, those were the days.

Who is your favorite character?

Luna Lovegood and Hermione Granger are up there. My heart is full of love for Ron Weasley and Draco Malfoy, too. Remus.

Who is your least favorite character?

This is hard, because I love them all. I used to hate Ginny Weasley with the fires of INFINITE SUNS!!! It took me a while to come around. I adore Bonnie Wright now. Truly. She’s adorable.

What is your least favorite line?

Anything with Sirius confusing Harry with James.

What would your Patronus be?

Apparently, my patronus is a buffalo, which would have been profound had I known what that meant.

If you could have the resurrection stone, the elder wand, or the invisibility cloak, which would it be?

To be quite honest, I would be too paranoid had I had any of the Deathly Hallows, so I pass on all of them, sincerely. I am serious.

Which House would you be in?

Slytherin. I was mistakenly sorted in Hufflepuff before, which is just wrong. Always a Slytherin.

If you could meet any member of the cast, who would it be?

Emma Watson and Dan Radcliffe. I love their movies in general, and I find them intellectually fascinating. Evanna Lynch is the best, and I would like to talk animal rights and veganism with her! She is probably the most fascinating person to me of that cast.

If you were on the Quidditch team, which position would you play?

I’m a coward and can’t do heights. I’d be home in the dorms if there were matches to attend.

Were you happy with the ending?

Which one? The canon one was good. However, Cursed Child is not read, and I am never reading it ever. I felt like Draco, Dean, Seamus, Neville, Luna, all deserved better endings. Let’s not even talk about all these claims by Rowling were made afterwards. The demise of Hermione and Ron’s marriage is a devastating idea to fathom. Part of their charm is that they were so different. Just because two very different people are married, it doesn’t mean they need counseling. Huffing right now, because this fills me with so much rage.

 How much does Harry Potter mean to me?

As a bi-cultural person, I came to see Harry Potter as a place empowering those who are like me. Harry and Tom were also bi-cultural: Gryffindor/Slytherin and half-bloods raised in unforgiving circumstances. I can relate to that, a lot. This is what I wrote my thesis on. Harry Potter brought on some firsts for me. Good memories, despite awful circumstances at home. Just like Harry and Tom. We have legacies to fulfill.

    Ali from the Hardback Hoarder channel recorded a video where she answered the
    I was watching Aly from Hardback Hoarder's video on this tag, and I
    While watching Ally's video on this tag, I decided to follow suit. In

People to Thank

When I got sick, it felt like a death sentence to all contact with humans, a comfort and consistent torture. But, I met Bronwyn through her blog about horror things. Incidentally, I am easily frightened, yet we connected and she has never batted an eye at the weirdness of me switching blogs, usernames, accounts. She supported me. Oh, and she introduced to my Megassaur.

Beautiful Meg, you are a powerhouse of hope and sarcasm and humor. I will never get over how quick you were to welcome me in your life, despite my oddness.

Then, I met my sunshine of a friend: Inge, you are an inspiration to all and I will never forget writing you that message on Goodreads. You give me bravery. To me, you’ll always be a shining star, and I am just humbled that you befriended little old me.

I was so scared and lonely, and you introduced me to the gems of my life now: Ely, Michelle (ma belle, Mich!), Jolien, Bee, Annemieke, Shannon, Cee Arr, Angel, and Vlora. As well as the little ones Topaz and Lara Liz

Ely, you teach me to accept my disability. Your bravery, the rawness of your honesty is a breath of fresh air, even if I sometimes just pace around the room for nights trying to think of a response equally as eloquent. Because of you, I feel like I have some sort of use for this world.

Ma Belle (Mich), I know things feel so horrid right now, and you need your space. All I can do is keep you in my prayers, in my heart, and on my mind. Sending you love and hope. You and I have a lot in common. My poetess, you are incredible and I can only pray that we can talk some more.

Jolie, you are the cutest peep. Because of you, I am becoming obsessed with Brandon Sanderson and Scott Lynch, anything fantasy and I think of you right away. My early riser, you are a sun summoner; may the world twirl around you, bring you the happiness you deserve.

Bee, we don’t talk much because I am genuinely intimidated by your cleverness. Books creator, clever and social, you surely will be on the bestsellers lists one day. I can only hope to be part of your journey to share your brilliance.

Annemieke, you are such a busy bee, and I want to get to know you better, mama! You show warmth and kindness so unabashedly, consistently raising my expectations of myself. Thank you for existing. Keep on rocking.

Shannon, don’t ever say you’re old. I think I’m older than you, so watch it. I’ll never look at the Hunger Games and not think of you. We need to tweet more at each other, because you always make me smile.

Cee: you are mysterious to me, and I need to build up the courage to talk to you–genuinely enjoy your blogs about sexual fluidity. You helped me come to terms with my asexuality and being aromantic and I am forever grateful for your openness.

Angel: you’re the prettiest and the most adorable girl ever. I wish we can get to know each other better, but you’re adored a lot by myself and Ely and Mich.

Vlora, I can’t wait to get to know you some more. You are so kind to me, even when I am deleting tweets left and right with manic nervousness. Thank you.

Finally: the little ones, you write beautifully and I wish younger me had your courage. Topaz, dream-like, and poetic, prodigious and inspiring, I hope you gain more recognition for your creativity. Lara Liz (Or as I call you, Little Lara Bar. Shh. It’s a vegan bar. Very delicious), your enthusiasm for life is the contagious and I am so psyched for your future and what it holds.

In passing, some people who don’t know me: Cait the Cake Queen and Aly, I enjoy your blogs and tweets. My heart is full of love for you. Thank you for the humor coupled with the mental exercise.


    I figured a change of pace would be a good idea for the
I spend a lot of time online. Perhaps I'm not alone in this, but it
          Welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday. This week, the

Anl.: Gatsby, Poldark, Who is the Man?

When watching Poldark, most people feel passionate about Ross and his story, but I am starting to wonder if it an echoing of the Great Gatsby from F. Scott Fitzgerald. Maybe that is something we are meant to examine, this connection between Great Gatsby and Poldark.

Ross Poldark

Essentially, Ross’ story is a response to the idea of the self-made man. To him, nobility is not a given, depending on wealth. It is that of breeding, which reminds me greatly of Tom Buchanan. However, it plays out differently for Ross.

The story is about the common man and champions ethics over riches. For Ross, it is about finding ways to be his authentic self without being controlled by money.

Often, he sells most of his possessions. He takes risks financially to provide for his family and tenants, not to gain social status.

Francis Poldark

Quite opposite to his cousin, Francis discovers that family outweighs social status, which would make Gatsby completely baffled. He tries to shake off his father’s pressing comments on his worth as a Poldark in comparison to Ross.

In fact, Francis redeems himself by getting to know the common man (servants and farmers), by being compassionate towards them, by respecting Demelza (who happens to be the token of a woman rising to ranks by love and marriage).


George Warleggan

George is considered the villain in this story, but I am not sure about this anymore. Think of how he is the modern American hero: self made, from rags to riches, and he is trying to attain a girl. Elizabeth Poldark represents aristocracy at its finest. And, he needs her badly.

It’s the assumption that once he has her, he will be noble. He will be worthy. He will be respected. After all, she is well educated, socially appropriate, and, quite frankly, all the dudes want her.

But why?

The Daisy of It All

Elizabeth is pretty much the green light that George reaches out for. She is unattainable (for now) because she’s married, she’s rich, she plays fair. Like Gatsby, George tries to please her with his money. He practically tortures Francis to have her ask for his help.

Very much in the same vein is his relationship with Ross. Ross, the noble who became a champion for the poor, and George, the leech who feeds on them, are at odds.

George tries to control him, to make his friend, to make sure he can contain this personified fire that is Ross. In a way, George, the grandson of a miner, is fighting his own past, trying to squash it, make peace with it, and most importantly, destroy it.

Sure, there is the obvious connection between him and Demelza, who tells him that she, too, is a lady, even though she is a miner’s daughter. He hates her for pointing out their background, for not being ashamed of who she was, a scullery maid.

This is where their difference lies. He is a banker and she was a scullery maid. In his eyes, he has fought to change his circumstances and he deserves to be rewarded with the best shiny things: connections, control, and, of course, the Daisy of it all–Elizabeth.


For More:

Is Poldark a True Story? 


Your Turn:

Do you see any connections between your favorite shows and classics you have read? Share in the comments!


      I finished watching season 1 of The Good Place on Netflix. Here are some
Over the past week, I have inched my way through the second season of The
Shows are a rare thing in my life, because I always worry about committing to

Collab.: Disability Diaries Announcement

The Announcement:

I am joining forces with the coolest kids on the Internet: Ely at Tea and Titles, Angel at Angel Reads, Cee Arr at Diary of a Reading Addict, Lara Liz over at Another Teen Reader, and Jolene at The Fictional Reader. We will be working on a project called the Disability Diaries. The Disability Diaries will be about disability, obviously, and it will take different forms of posts.


The blog posts will be varied takes on disability. Some TBR, some personal posts, and book reviews. While I want to give you more details, you’ll have to wait and see who is doing what. But, know this: it’ll be disability centered and it is going to be fantastic.


We’ll be posting mid January (January 14-21).

Sign ups are right here.

Mark your calendars, we’re prepping for awesome things.



Favorite Shows

Shows are a rare thing in my life, because I always worry about committing to a routine where I have to watch steadily. However, over time, I have stumbled on some great shows. Balancing between PG-PG 13 type of ratings, I found some of my favorite shows ever, and I am going to be sharing them in this post.

Burn Notice

A spy loses his job mid-mission, and goes on a quest to hunt down whoever “burned” him. Fun, action-packed, and fascinating tricks all around. Fiona, Michael, Sam, and Jesse are one hell of a team.



Jeff Winger enters community college as a lawyer whose license is revoked after he is discovered to be a fraud. While there, he meets six incredible people who become his friends and community. Hilarity and incredible emotion ensure for six seasons (and a movie? Hopefully).

The Musketeers

Another show ultimately about love and friendship, patriotism, and feminism (surprise!). Constance, Milady, and Queen Anne are wonderfully portrayed here, and they are incredibly strong figures, who have complicated paths towards a happy ending. The Musketeers are great fighters, kind and compassionate men. Watch out for the Cardinal, aka the Doctor.


This show initiated my fascination and compassion towards Guinevere and Morgana in the original stories of King Arthur.  It’s not faithful to the stories at all, but it’s fun. Warning: the plot gets a lot heavier as the show progresses. Do not expect happy endings.


I forgot about this show! Oh no. It’s one of my favorites for sure. It has all my babies: Ross, Demelza, Verity! Man loses all he holds dear: a love, a father, a fortune, and he must find a way to find hope and have a positive impact on his society. Such incredible characters and complicated relationships. Check it out.



Pushing Daisies

Hands down the sweetest show I have ever seen. Boy touches dead things and can bring them to life, but cannot touch them again. Then, he becomes a detective and a Pie Maker (TM). Childhood sweetheart dies. He revives her. Love, but no touch, lots of raising the dead and asking them question.

Robin Hood

Not accurate at all, but it’s good fun. Rich soldier returns home from the war only to lose his property. Attitude problems all around as he forms a band of mischief maker in the woods. The show tries to take itself seriously at times, which makes it even more hilarious and fun. It’s not so fun by the last season as the writers seem to hate or not understand their characters at all.



Who is honestly surprised by the inclusion of this show? I was never a fan of Sherlock Holmes until I saw this show. Injured soldier returns home, while suffering with PTSD, and meets a detective with a mind-bending intellect. They move in together and start solving crimes, while Watson blogs about them. Fun, clever, and sweet.



      I finished watching season 1 of The Good Place on Netflix. Here are some
Over the past week, I have inched my way through the second season of The
When watching Poldark, most people feel passionate about Ross and his story, but I am

Anl. Swiss Army Man and its Themes

I knew I would love Swiss Army Man from the moment I saw the trailer. Granted, I adore Radcliffe and Dano, but I also loved the tone of the story in previews. What I didn’t expect was a movie  that was so moving and heartbreaking.

Freedom and Innocence

Essentially, the film communicates plenty of messages regarding freedom, as symbolized by farts. I know it sounds silly, but sometimes, we need simple ways to convey deep messages.

The way Manny is unrestrained and open is admirable. It’s what literally gets him places. While I partly consider Hank is projecting a bit onto Manny, I do think that his friend reflects his conflicts regarding freedom of expression.

Openness is reiterated throughout the story as Hank teaches Manny about various aspects of life: relationships, emotions, sexuality, pleasure, and self awareness.


Speaking of which, I loved how sex was explored in this movie. It was not a shameful, gross, or primal thing. I am torn regarding how Manny’s penis was used as a compass, because it can be foreshadowing for  Hank’s attachment to Sarah.

On the other hand, the relationship between sexuality and Hank’s stalking relates to innocence because I don’t find Hank and Manny creepy as people. They don’t fetish-ize Sarah or women in general. They don’t turn Sarah into a fantasy. It’s more of a coping mechanism for both of them.

Friendship and Acceptance

Through Manny’s questions, Hank is able to unfold different issues he has. For instance, he talks about his mother’s death and his inability to do things that pleasure him (through the masturbation and sex symbolism).

Hank tries to teach Manny about what is acceptable and what is not as Manny posits that perhaps it’s okay to feel caged by these expectations.

Montages depict their developing friendship, particularly when they reenact the bus scenario.

Not so Much

However, what it boils down to is that while we may think of these things, they can be punishable by society. It pains me to see that ending, but I didn’t expect Manny to survive in a world where his farts wouldn’t be accepted and, by extension, his innocence wouldn’t be accepted.

The closer Manny and Hank get, the closer to civilization they find themselves.

Ultimately, it is a fun and thought-provoking story that I am glad to have on DVD to rewatch and analyze.

Your Turn

What is the latest most challenging story you have been exposed to? How did you come to terms with it? Please share in the comments!


For More:


–“Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe” 

Set in 1960, the film opens with the death of Ellie's mother as she prepares
There are things in my life that were constant. One of them was a fascination
If you ever want to experience a love story, a beautiful one at that, read