Miranda Zero and the End of Ages

Miranda Zero and the End of Ages

Miranda Zero is an extrapolation of Frank Kermode’s idea that all men live in the “middest”. He uses her to highlight what can be done by a person if they remove themselves from the crisis oriented daily thought process and are able to step back and examine questions and situations from and emotional and rational distance. That is to say, she is a character entirely concerned with the end, both her own and the ultimate end, the apocalypse, but from a rather unique perspective of standing outside the crisis oriented thought process. In the series Global Frequency, she is in a constant state of crisis. She lives with the hyperawareness that the end of the world really is just one mistake away, and the institutions that were developed to stop the end from coming just were not cutting it, hence her invention of the Global Frequency. Kermode says that we all live in a state of crisis, but Ellis uses Miranda to extrapolate the idea into a character that can actually handle that type of pressure, because most other people would fold up in half and cry if they had her job. . In book eight when she is captured, Ellis shows how she handles the stress of living in a constant state of crisis by showing her apparent unconcern for her own personal safety, which allows her to step outside of the media res, or the middest that most people inhabit, and focus her attention on the future. Miranda realizes that the only way to deal with crisis after crisis is to step outside of the middest and weigh situations coldly and rationally.

She really seems to have come to terms with the idea that she will most likely die in that cell, and she is not worried about it. The last words spoken in the book are “You’re late” as an agent fires through a door to kill her captor. This shows not only her unconcern that a moment ago there was a loaded gun pointed at her by a madman, but her acceptance that there was always a loaded gun pointed at her or someone else by some other mad man. Her disregard for personal safety, show throughout the whole series, is how she allows herself to step out of the middest and hold in her mind the importance of what she is doing, not just for that moment, which will pass, either in apocalypse of not, but for the structure of society as a whole. I think her idea of Global Frequency hinges on the idea that people know on some basic level how vulnerable they are, and they desire to see a force or group of peoples who can stand up to their fear and keep the end just around the corner, instead of in the moment. In order to step outside the crisis of the moment that everyone lives in, it seems that Miranda has come to terms with the fact that she may very well die, and that is ok, if she is able to divert a real crisis before she goes.

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3 Responses to Miranda Zero and the End of Ages

  1. tomhaverford says:

    Are you sure Miranda Zero is in a constant state of crisis? I thought though she constantly deals with crises, Ellis manages to portray her in almost a stoic mindset for the entirety of the novel. She rarely seems flustered to the point where she is in a state of crisis.

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    • danwillisdan says:

      It’s not that she’s in a constant state of internal crisis, as much as it is she’s been conditioned by being constantly immersed in a state of external crisis. Most of the interrogation scenes seem to prove this; she can’t feel threatened when she’s constantly threatened with not just her own death but the extermination of all of mankind.

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  2. I think it’s also important to mention the list of tortures Miranda has undergone in the past. This is further evidence for your reading of her character that–and I’m extrapolating from your reading a bit–Miranda Zero seems to have in some way transcended thinking in terms of crisis, that is, thinking time in terms of crisis, which is a profound insight into her character, I believe. This also has large implications for what Ellis might be up to both w/ her and Global Frequency (both the comic and the group it is named after). Interesting post.

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