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froggies315's picture

In class, we agreed that A Game of You is scary because it shows us that the boundary we draw between the dream world and the real world is not as hard and fast as we like to think.  This doesn’t feel scary to me anymore.  Isn’t it exciting that the things that happen in our head have the ability to manifest themselves in the physical world? I know that my imaginings inform my choices and my identity and...that’s cool!   

When our conversation turned to Wanda, we said that, for Wanda, the boundary between dreams and reality is hard, fast, and ultimately insurmountable.  To me, this is the nightmare in A Game of You.  Wanda’s dream of herself is not allowed to bleed into the real world and thus it is not allowed to bleed back into the dream world.  Wanda can't move.  She is trapped.   

Here, in “Is Free Will Really Free?” Malcolm Gladwell explains that when people are forced to justify their preferences, “[we put them through] a process that alienates them from their true needs...”  When I am forced to justify myself I get angry and defensive.  Just like Wanda, I don’t know why I am the way I am, I just am.  

A Game of You is less scary than deeply sad.  In the end, Wanda is wiped from history because there is no place to accept her narrative.  This is troubling.  What am I supposed to do with her story now?


Ayla's picture

Wanda continued

I'd like to highlight the three situations in which Wanda appears:  Wanda's dream, Real Life, and Barbie's Dream.  We said that in Wanda's nightmare, brought on by the crows, she is biologically a man, as she is in Real Life, and she is afraid to get surgery to biologically appear like a woman.  In Real Life, she and her friends consider her to be a woman.  The moon does not, and therefore she cannot walk the moon's path.  I don't agree with EGrummer's hypothesis that the moon's logic is too ancient to understand; instead this leads me towards the conclusion that "some inherent things cannot be changed."  The real issue, as I see it, in Wanda's case, is that she wants everyone to think that she is a woman.  It doesn't matter to her that she and her friends think she is a woman, rather she even wants dead George to think she is a woman.  Why does she care?  Surgery is not going to change that the moon considers her to be unable to walk the moon's path.  She is so stuck on the "surgery issue" because that will probably allow her to 'convince' more people that she is a woman.  


That was somewhat of a tangent so back to it...


In Barbie's dream, Wanda is actually a woman.  EGrummer had equated this dream with "the ultimate fate of Wanda," saying that she was standing with Death and was happy and in her true form (summarizing here).  I wanted to point out that this is not what eventually happened to Wanda, but rather just the way Barbie is thinking about Wanda when she is dead.  Barbie herself equates this with reality only to comfort herself.

EGrumer's picture


Wanda is certainly a conundrum, in A Game of You.  One thing that I keep going back to, in thinking about her character, is that while she considers herself to be female, is thought of by her friends as female, and has been through hormone treatments to become more physically female, she has not had the sex-reassignment surgery yet.  Her nightmare implies that it is her greatest fear.  In her dream, she is a woman, until the nightmare starts, and she becomes a man frightened to fully embrace womanhood.

The moon, here, is intriguing.  The myths about the moon and cultural depictions of the moon as female are both ancient and cross-cultural.  How, then, would the moon define women in a society with different gender constructs than those of the ancient world?  Thessaly (who is a positively ancient being herself) claims that the moon cares about biology -- moon lore is tied with menstruation, something Wanda cannot experience, so Wanda cannot help with that part of the magic. Additionally, according to Thessaly, even if Wanda had her surgery, her chromosomes would be wrong, and the moon would see that about her.  In that viewpoint, Wanda is doomed to never be completely female.  So, what does the moon matter?  If Wanda had not needed to take the moonpath as a shortcut into a dreamworld to rescue a friend, she would never have been affected by this knowledge -- she would not have known how the moon judged her.  Perhaps the moon is outdated, too old to understand?  Perhaps this not-belonging serves to highlight Wanda's own feelings, her own fear of loosing her penis even as she longs to do just that, to be outwardly female as she is inwardly? Because the moon does not care.  To the moon, as to Wanda's family, Wanda will always be a man.

There is not a clearcut conclusion about Wanda's situation, that I can find.

And I agree with you that A Game of You is far more sad than scary.