Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Remember Me Discussion Group

'You're responsible for no one!' Charles yells at Tyler. Is this true?


InstantKarmaGirl said...

I personally think this is very true although Tyler will think differently. He's not even responsible for himself. Whether he wants it or not, he's got people in his life looking out for him. His baby sister calls him to remind him of an important family event, he's got a best friend who calls for help when they need it, and he's got a father that's willing to pay $400 an hour to provide a lawyer to get him out of trouble.

One could say that Tyler is responsible for the emotional well-being of his family, especially his sister and his mother, but apart from feeling an obligation to his mother, there's not much he does in order to provide for her. The stronger case is for Caroline...but is he responsible for her?

Responsibility, REAL responsibility, means taking into consideration how your every move will affect another thing. Tyler clearly doesn't live his life like this. While he hopes to protect and nurish his sister, he does very little to protect himself from the dangers of the world in order to ensure his safety and longevity of his presence in her life.

He holds down a job, which seems to indicate responsibility, but he could leave that retail environment and everything there would continue the same and as for him, if he left that job, he'd likely go on to the next low profile, low responsibility job that was able to pay his rent.

Tyler audits his classes, which means he doesn't even have the responsiblity to get good grades to ensure his future success. He could attend class and do his homework, but if he didn't really want to, he doesn't have the responsibility to do so.

As for the responsibility of being a friend...we see Tyler has really only one and the opening of the film indicates that while he has bedmates from time to time, none of them are more than one night friendships with little or no responsibilities tied to them. Aiden is his friend and while I think he fulfils his obligation to Aiden, he doesn't feel responsible. He doesn't offer up an actual apology to Aiden for getting him arrested, something that has the potential of following him around the rest of his life. He doesn't feel the responsiblity to help guide Aiden in his mis-adventures in life; he's just a witness to it.

And Ally. Is he responsible for Ally? With his "do you think you can take care of yourself for one hour" comment seems to indicate that he feels (no matter if it was just anger, it's still something hiding within him) that she is just another obligation. She starts out as something pushed upon him from his friend and then ends up being meaningful to him.

She's the closest I think he gets to having real responsibility, but I don't think he actually sees this until after she's left him and he's left with the weight of how his actions seemed to her. I think those moments out on the stoop of his mother's place were the moments when he really realizes that while he might have obligations in life, they are responsibilities that he needs to straighten up and live up to.

Prior, he was living his life only for himself, but now he accepts the responsibility for other people.

Just my thoughts. As ever, I await other opinions!

jessegirl said...

I loved your meticulous look at Tyler and his relationship to responsibility. And, even though when Charles says those lines, I have always seen them to be unfair because I think of Tyler's relationship with Caroline, I do think you are right. Now, it is true that Tyler does not take on the paternal mantle vacated by Charles when it comes to the emotional well-being of Caroline, but, as a big brother, he does an extremely good 'job', in my opinion.

However, he is lost, is auditing life--which the rest of your fine analysis has pointed out in other words--and he is grappling with the death of his brother, which tends to put most responsibilities a man his age is expected to assume on hold.

Responsibility is obligation, duty, something a grown-up does. It means that to you goes the blame if something goes wrong and the praise when it goes right. And Tyler has, as you've said, taken on the responsibility for nothing much. (So that he can't be blamed?) Interesting what you say about how Tyler merely 'witnesses' Aiden's misadventures, but doesn't 'guide'. (Although with friends it's a two-way street and Aiden himself is not someone we'd perceive as responsible either. Look at all the trouble he gets Tyler into with Ally.)And I never thought of Tyler's attitude towards his relationship with Ally as you do and your view is enlightening, Karma. I think I now sort of understand his callous, unfair and rude comment to her about taking care of herself for one hour. He's been pushed into this relationship and feels it an obligation in a way, a responsibility, and he doesn't want any of those. Hmm. The thing with Tyler is that he knows he's not ready to assume real responsibilities yet and I think he resents them all (Ally, his Mom certainly, even Caroline when he takes her to the party). But a young man his age should be on his way to becoming a responsible adult in many areas of life, in personal relationships, in career aspirations, in studies. At 21 you are expected to be on your way to being responsible in all those areas. You are expected to want to be seen as reliable and capable of doing grown-up things like holding down even a part-time job, learning life skills like cooking, driving, cleaning your place (!) and being more answerable in general. But Tyler, weighted down with crippling grief, avoids all hard responsibilities, and is lucky enough to have a wealthy family to 'bail him out'.

Now he didn't have to 'be pushed into' a relationship with Ally. He could have stood his ground with Aiden. He doesn't. But then he feels backed into a corner. He doesn't even take responsibility for his own position. Same goes for when Aiden talks he and Ally into joining the party. He knows that to Aiden 'one drink' means getting drunk. He knows this. He stands by while Aiden plies Ally with liquor; doesn't stand his ground there either.

In so many ways this guy lets things happen to him and to those around him; I analyzed some of it in my Tyler piece but, as you know Karma, there is a lot more going on. I do think there is an element of surrender to it, an undefined, unconscious yielding to what will be, which is ironic given how he dies. And a man with this attitude to his own life cannot be responsible really, can he? But I still hold with what I've said so often and that is that when Tyler's grief has been 'resolved', that he will step up to the plate. And that what he does with Caroline, even though there's an element of symbiosis there, is responsible and shows him at his best. He does take care of her.

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