Comparing Ideas Presented by Kermode to Examples in Global Frequency

Kermode establishes early on in The End that narratives attempt to create connections between start and finish, essentially creating a control of time. Kermode poses that by creating an “apocalyptic” ending, the writer and reader try to impose a pattern on history. This pattern is established so that the end is predictable, as humans it is difficult for us to wrap our minds around the idea that our existence could end instantly, without explanation. Kermode suggests that the apocalyptic ending gives us “a consonance [def. agreement or compatibility] with the origins and with the middle”.

Within Global Frequency there are multiple instances where Ellis manipulates time. For example, in chapter six Ellis uses fast action illustrations with blurred lines and hi intensity activities such as running, jumping, diving, etc. Ellis uses this technique to create an illusion that time is moving very quickly, that the protagonist has to hurry or else something critical is destined. Within that same chapter Ellis uses short sentences and replies by the “hero” to indicate a rush, or generate a hurried feeling within the reader. Another example of Ellis creating a mastery of time is in chapter nine where Miranda Zero is taken hostage in an attempt to bring about the destruction of the global frequency organization. Within this chapter Ellis occasionally puts the time of day in the corner of an illustration, allowing the reader to follow the exact passage of time. The manipulation of time by Ellis is key in this chapter after a protagonist informs the reader that, “I’m telling you now, eighty percent of abductees are killed in the first hour.” Once the reader is aware of the severity of Miranda’s situation, time isn’t posted again until Agent Zero’s abductee is eliminated. By not posting the time the reader becomes unsure if she will survive. Not knowing how much time is left before Miranda is executed establishes a “race to the finish” mentality within the reader.

Warren Ellis makes constant references to multiple types of apocalyptic events. I want to establish that when I say apocalyptic, I do not mean the eradication of all human life. I simply pose that an event occurs that has the potential to disrupt the human race in a very significant way. For example, in the third chapter, Ellis establishes a computer virus that has infected a local population via radio waves and has turned them into “slaves” to another life form. The “hero” of this chapter isn’t faced with a battle against time, but a battle against her humanity. The apocalyptic event in this case would be the enslavement of the human race, unless this one individual finds the key to break the code. While breaking the code, she begins to experience unimaginable pain, bleeding from her eyes and screaming out in anguish. The only thing that allowed her to survive and save the human race was her love for her significant other.

My final example of an apocalyptic event is in the tenth chapter where Takashi investigates a biochemical breach within a stem cell research facility. Within the facility Takashi encounters horrors so unimaginable, that he calls for the entire facility to be eliminated via carpet bombing. Refusing to let himself become this altered “human”, Takashi elects to execute himself.

These examples exemplify that as human beings we cannot grapple with the notion that our end is unpredictable, that we will do anything to either stop our annihilation or we will create our own ending.

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2 Responses to Comparing Ideas Presented by Kermode to Examples in Global Frequency

  1. trafalgarlaw9 says:

    I find especially interesting the case of Takashi because of the very fact that he chooses his own ending. Unlike the other members of the frequency, we see that he is unwilling to fulfill the role of spontaneous savior because of his violent past. I think this shows his loss of crisis or emmanent end. No longer bound by a need to continue on, he becomes the exact agent needed by the Frequency at the time. Remarkable writing, in my opinion.

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  2. mightymoss9 says:

    While reading Global Frequency, I didn’t really pick up on how the art style depicted the speed of the narrative. I also didn’t notice the time stamps in the other chapter as well. I needed to go back and reread through both of those to pick up on those. The time stamps really give a sense of urgency to the situation that most of the other chapters don’t seem to have. There is a set time limit of an hour, but there is no real indication on the length of time any of the other chapters last.

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