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A Journey Into Darkness: The Symbolism of Silent Hill 2 (Part 2)

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Once he escapes the apartments, James finds himself in the fog-filled streets of the town again.  It is here he meets Laura for the second time.  When first we saw her she stepped on James’ hand, taunted him, and ran off in the apartment building.  In both situations there is distance between her and James.  In the apartment, there were cell bars between them; in the street, Laura is up on a concrete wall.  Later, in the hospital, a wall of tables will separate them, and only when Laura willingly leaves that circle will she and James interact on the same level. 

Laura has been described as bratty and annoying by gamers; I feel as if these people have completely misunderstood this story.  Laura is an eight-year old who, for some reason, was in a hospital for a great deal of time, and during that time watched her only friend succumb to illness, lonely and in pain, always waiting for James.  Her only vision of James is that of a man who abandoned his dying wife.  As a child, her judgment is further impaired by her youth and lack of experience.  Anyone who judges Laura for her behavior too harshly is doing a disservice to the game and her role in it, in my opinion.

From here, James goes to Rosewater Park, the place which he believes may be his and Mary’s “special place”.  Instead of finding Mary, he finds Maria.  He is clearly gobsmacked by her appearance, and trips over himself in conversation with her.  Maria’s appearance is clearly reflective of his feelings about Mary. 

He misses her, so his delusion manifests itself as her double - but his repressed sexual desires, refused for so long, manifest as a more sexually extroverted, assertive Mary.  The change from ‘Mary’ to ‘Maria’ is very interesting; while Maria is used to refer to Mary, it is not as commonly associated with the same holiness and reverence that Mary is.  Maria is a much more common first name, while Mary maintains a bit of distance and divinity.  Maria is then, of course, much more sexually available, because she is an ordinary person and not a holy being.

Within Rosewater Park, there are a series of statues which relate to the town’s history and the story of the game. 

One of them honors a man named Patrick Chester, honored for fighting and dying in the Civil War.  Remember that the Civil War was that of blood against blood, one nation against itself - a divided nation, divided self.

There is a monument to one Jennifer Carroll, which describes her as a “victim of persecution” who shall “never be forgotten”.  She appears again in Silent Hill 3, and as it turns out, was a founding member of the Order who was burned by Christians.  What stands out in her placement here is the persecution of a woman for the crime of being a ‘witch’, something which happened to many young women of that time who presumably were completely innocent.  Though Jennifer was related to the Order, in 2 this connection is not known.  The only implication is that of an innocent woman brutally murdered.

The third memorial reads:  “In memory of the sixty seven who died of illness and now sleep beneath the lake”.  The bodies are in the lake!  Won’t that be a pleasant thing to remember when we’re rowing our way across it?  Illness, of course, being what took Mary from James in that it divided them, and the lake being that dark place symbolizing the hidden truth, and the danger of knowing it.  James may join those bodies in the lake, in the In Water ending. 

Each memorial deals with death, and again, we have the number three.  This supposedly romantic sight seems very creepy to me.

From Rosewater, James and Maria go to Pete’s Bowl-o-Rama, where Maria waits outside.  She is never seen by any of the other characters besides James.  James goes in and finds Eddie and Laura talking.  We see Laura with Eddie and James, and Maria speaks about Laura;  but Angela never comes into contact with her or even seems to know she exists.  Angela, who was denied a childhood, is the only character who does not interact with the child.

Eddie, meanwhile, dresses very childishly, speaks in a childish tone and pattern, and has very immature ideas of morality and rationality.  He is seen interacting with Laura in a way no one else is - as if he is her peer, because they are both children.  

James and Maria chase after Laura, entering Heaven’s Night.  Maria gets them in using keys she has hidden on her person; here, we get our first real hint that James lacks consideration for the consent of others.  When Maria turns around to reach into her shirt for a key, James attempts to lean over her shoulder and look.  She has clearly attempted to create distance and he deliberately violated that.  In the darker endings, this could be an indication of his blatant disregard for female autonomy and lack of respect for women.  In the better endings, this could be yet another way that his sexuality has been twisted and deformed by his repressed pain, and in letting out that pain and admitting his sins, he reforms and abandons his former behaviors.

Of course, Heaven’s Night is a strip club, again associating Maria with both: a) sex, and b) situations in which men view women as sexual objects.  I know very little about the reality of strip clubs, but it is unlikely that the men who frequent them think highly of women, and it may in fact be a dangerous or physically and emotionally oppressive place for women to work.  Again, this connects to the greater themes of the story:  men as predators, women as victims of their oppressive, predatory behavior.

From here, Maria and James follow Laura into the second level of the game.

Brookhaven Hospital

Truth is arguably one of the largest themes of the game.  Many of the notes refer to the truth in an abstract way, but one that obviously ties into the story if you have the context.  This note is found in Brookhaven:

The potential for this illness exists in all people and, under the right circumstances, any man or woman would be driven, like him, to “the other side.”  The “other side” perhaps may not be the best way to phrase it. After all, there is no wall between here and there. It lies on the borders where reality and unreality intersect. It is a place both close and distant.  Some say it isn’t even an illness. I cannot agree with them. I’m a doctor, not a philosopher or even a psychiatrist.  But sometimes I have to ask myself this question. It’s true that to us his imaginings are nothing but the inventions of a busy mind. But to him, there simply is no other reality. Furthermore he is happy there.  So why, I ask myself, why in the name of healing him must we drag him painfully into the world of our own reality?

Obviously this ties into the worlds of Silent Hill, the ‘other side’ relating to the Otherworld.  But it also refers to pulling someone out of a happy fantasy into the cruel reality for the sake of ‘health’.  This blatantly connects to James and his delusions about his wife.  He is ‘happy’ in his delusions - the Maria ending for instance is one in which he is ‘happy’ because he still has the delusion of Maria, though in fact he has learned nothing from the town and it seems as if the cycle of death and abuse will continue.

Illness is another theme of course, because of Mary, and references to illness exist everywhere.  But the game does not demonize illness itself, and in fact seems to side with the hospital patients when in many media, mentally ill patients are seen as dangerous and even monstrous, while the doctors and nurses who help are seen as good, saint like examples of humanity.  In reality, people who work with the mentally ill are in many cases not the best of people and at worst can be abusive.  Few horror stories reflect hospitals or sanatoriums in this way, but Silent Hill 2 clearly focuses upon the pain and suffering of the patients, without demonizing them as monsters. 

The treatment of the patients at Brookhaven is subtly hinted at as being abusive.  One of the doctor’s notes comments on the lock to the patient wing:

Anyway does the door to the Patient Wing really need to have its combination changed this often? 

The implication is that the doctors are so terrified of their ‘dangerous’ patients that they are extra vigilant in keeping them locked up; or so determined to keep the freaks locked away, they make sure to continuously changed the lock.

Then there are images of hands reaching up out of the darkness, contorted in pain, on one of the walls in the hospital, near a message which says the patient will never go back into the dark.  The dark might refer to confinement, i.e. a padded cell, which the game does include.  One of these cells is painted in blood, and outside it markings are carved into the floor where it appears someone or something was forcibly dragged into the bloody cell.  It is probable that the patient behind the Louise puzzle died in that cell. 

Here’s another interesting note from the hospital:

i know it the secret i’ll give them something to deal with this demon shelter is of no use any more he is my instrument he must follow my orders yes, the box will be useless

now i must not forget it #### that’s good he is the lowest now i too will be free and he will serve me i am a genius no one can stop me one can stop me no one can stop me can stop can stop no no

This note is important, and we’ll return to it, but for now let’s look at the “demon shelter” reference.  Demon shelter would mean a place that houses and protects demons, i.e., a place which harbors bad people.  Is this a patient who can see Silent Hill’s Otherworld?  Or is this patient referring to the hospital itself?  It is canonically true that hospitals in Silent Hill have accepted bribes and have purposefully mistreated patients on the word of the Order as part of the White Claudia drug trade and during Alessa’s stay at Alchemilla.  Is it so far fetched that Brookhaven, too, would have abusive doctors and nurses?

The fact that the hospital has no doctors, and is filled with the Bubble Head Nurses stands out to me.  Hospitals have become a large part of James’ life in the past three years.  He would have been in and out of them constantly, so his version of Brookhaven has to be influenced by his past experience in hospitals.  That he only sees the women, and that these women are so grotesquely inhumane and perversely sexual, says something about James’ experience at the hospitals.  The hospital has to represent loss for him - loss of Mary, loss of his happiness, and of course of his sexuality. 

Suicide is another prevalent theme in the game.  It is mentioned in the Sullivan murder paper, in most of the conversations with Angela, and again here in Brookhaven. One of the diary entries that can be found on the hospital roof reads:

I don’t want to cause any more trouble for anyone, but I’m a bother either way. Can it really be a such a sin to run instead of fight?  Some people may say so, but they don’t have to live in my shoes. It may be selfish, but it’s what I want. It’s too hard like this. It’s just too hard….

This note continues to say that the patient is being released, and then ends abruptly.  Soon after, James is tossed off the roof very forcibly by Pyramid Head.  It is possible that this patient, once suicidal, did not in fact kill themselves - perhaps they were pushed, and perhaps it was the very caretakers who should've helped him.  This would fit with the themes of the story, in which James, a caretaker, killed his wife, who he should have cared for.

This note also reflects upon Angela, and her journey through Silent Hill; James’ journey, if In Water is his ending; and even may reflect upon Mary, whose suffering was so great she just wished she could die.  But in her case she did not commit suicide - she was murdered, as we discussed earlier.  The sin is not that she wished to die, but that the choice to die was taken from her.

It is the absence of choice which makes James’ act a crime and a sin.  Silent Hill does not demonize suicide, the choice to die - it demonizes the taking of life forcibly.  You can see this in how it treats Angela vs Eddie: one is a sympathetic character while the other most obviously is not. 

The Louise Puzzle

The Louise puzzle is a box with four locks which centers around the story of a patient named Joseph.  Following the clues to unlock the four locks leads the player through the whole of Brookhaven and gives them a dark look into Joseph’s experiences as a patient.  Remember that Joseph is one of the three patients mentioned in the patient documents, and is in fact the patient that I compared as being relatable to James. 

His ‘psychotic break’ and ‘paranoid delusions’ could be exactly that, or it could be that he can see Silent Hill and no one else can - or perhaps both.  The fact that he believes he is guilty of his daughter’s death is too similar to the stories of James and Angela, both guilty of the deaths of family members, to dismiss.  The implication in his notes and his story seems to be that Joseph can see Silent Hill. 

The first key found is discovered next to a long note written by a doctor, arguably the same doctor whose notes are later found spread around the hospital.  This is the same note I quoted earlier about the Otherworld, and the location of one of Joseph’s keys next to this note cannot be coincidence.  This is further proof that Joseph, at least, knows the darker side of the town.  There is a hand written note that says:

I got the key from  Joseph.  It’s probably the key to that box.

This seems to imply that the box existed in reality and is something that Joseph did for some reason while in the hospital, something the doctors tried to take away.  “I got the key from Joseph” implies it was taken, not given, and the ‘probably’ means the doctors don’t really know if the key is connected to the box.  Further, they likely don’t know what the box is or why Joseph created it.  The mystery surrounding it is intriguing. 

The first key is called Purple Bull, and looks like a keycard for a door.  It is one of only two keys for the box, the others are codes for locks.  But why a bull, and why purple?  There are no such things as purple bulls, and this isn’t imagery typically found upon any kind of key.  Purple is royalty, purple is wealth.  A ‘bull market’ is a term used in the stock market indicating that prices are expected to rise, and there is a giant statue of a bull on Wall Street.  Purple Bull seems to relate to opulence.

The next key is the Lapis Eye key, which is a circular key with a stone of Lapis Lazuli in the center, found in a drawer in the hospital on the second floor.  Lapis Lazuli is a stone of intensely blue color usually used in jewelry or art, prized for its beauty and appearance.  The key itself has an eye at its top, with the stone on the iris.  Another strange key with strange imagery.  Eyes indicate watchfulness of course, and the use of the stone for the key, something considered valuable and beautiful, indicates more wealthiness and value. 

After finding the keys the player must find two codes to unlock the other locks on the box.  One of these is found on a piece of typewriter paper in an office.  There are two different versions of the code found on the typewriter paper.  The first is this: 

i know it i know the number of the box #### it cant help him anymore the button key doesnt scare me so nobody can stop who i am i don’t know who i am is who i am is who i am is

The other version is that which I quoted earlier, with the line about the demon shelter.  Both of them refer to an ‘I’ and a ‘He’, both show someone in declining health and/or increasing paranoia, someone who has a mission which cannot or will not be stopped, but which is threatened either by a loss of self, or the reason for which the person begins to say ‘no’.   

The last clue is found after James is shoved off the hospital roof by Pyramid Head and falls into the ‘Special Treatment’ ward.  This ward was locked before, and could not be reached.  The clue is written inside one of the padded cells, in blood, so much blood that presumably the person who shed it must be dead.  This is that clue:

Tern tern tern the numbers better not forget them So i’ll right them down here The other one, my secret name

Secret name?  Huh?  ‘Tern’, or turn, the numbers refers to the lock.  What is ‘the other one’?  It’s not one of the locks: all of them are accounted for.  So what it is?

Now we have all four parts of the puzzle.  Notice this:  the two keys are found separate from the patients.  They leave no notes for the keys, no hints.  One of the keys is next to a doctor’s note, the other hidden in a drawer in a room.  The keys seem related to the doctors.  The codes, on the other hand, are learned through reading messages left by the patients.  Remember that the keys seem to be related to wealth and watchfulness?  Doctors are reputedly well paid, and would be constantly watching the patients.

The box itself is chained down to a bed in the patient ward, and once it is unlocked, it simply reveals a piece of hair.  On the wall next to the box, a line reads: 

"Louise  I’ll take care of you four ever.  It’s my destiny! "

Okay, let’s look at the whole Hospital situation.  Brookhaven is more likely than not a mental institution, not a traditional hospital.  The only patients spoken of all have mental disabilities, and both the layout of the building and the inclusion of the ‘Special Treatment’ ward makes it seems as if this is an asylum.  Compare the layout and appearance of Alchemilla Hospital from the first game to Brookhaven, and it seems clear that Brookhaven is an institution. 

There are many people at play here.  First is Joseph, who wrote the clues mentioned above.  His voice is stylized by a lack of punctuation, capitalization, complete sentence structure, and some misspellings.  Then there is the doctor - perhaps multiple doctors, but one in particular who writes about Joseph, the doctor who took the key from him.  I assume that the doctor who took the key is the same person who wrote these notes, found later on in the hospital:

First:  He who is not bold enough to be stared at from across the abyss is not bold enough to stare into it himself.  The truth can only be learned by marching forward.  Follow the map. There’s a letter and a wrench.

Second:  Or perhaps you are a fool. The truth usually betrays people.  A part of that abyss is in the old society.  The key to the society is in the park. At the foot of the praying woman, inside of the ground, inside of a box. To open it, I need a wrench.  My patient buried it there. I knew, but I did nothing. It made me uneasy to have such a thing near. I wasn’t looking for the truth, I was looking for tranquility.  I also saw that thing. I fled, but the museum was sealed as well. Now no one dares to approach that place. If you still do not wish to stop, James, I pray to the Lord to have mercy on your eternal soul.

There are others writing notes in the hospital.  There is the writer of the diary entry upon the roof, who is characterized by correct grammar and spelling and whose ideas can be followed more clearly.  This may be the same person who wrote this note:

I was locked up inside the basement’s basement. It was so small and dark and I was so afraid. I dropped my precious ring. But I will never, ever go back there.

The diary and the note about the ring are the only two pieces written by patients which use correct grammar and spelling and which make coherent sense.  Given the content of the diary, I would assume that this is Jack Davis, our suicidal patient.

But there’s a third message written by a patient which fits neither Jack nor Joseph:

I took the direckters’s key - the one to the mooseum. I hid it behind the preying woman when I went out for the day trip. I picked it up but I did not steal it. I’m not a krimminal.

Notice that this is specifically written against the patterns of both other patients.  There are misspellings, so it’s not Jack, but there is also a clear sentence structure, which is not like Joseph.  This must be our last patient, Joshua.  The director could refer to the person who wrote the letters about the abyss, as they refer to one of their patients taking a key. 

Remember, each patient relates to one of the three protagonists.  Jack is Angela: by his diary, we see that he is eventually released, and his fate is ambiguous as his final entry simply ends with “I —-”.  Also, the location of the diary, the edge of the roof, says something, as someone with suicidal thoughts standing on a roof is bound to have implications.  Or, as was mentioned earlier, he may have been pushed.  The final patient, Joshua, is Eddie; in Joshua’s note, he admits to wrongdoing but not to being wrong.  He tries to explain and rationalize his guilty behavior, the same way that Eddie rationalizes his murders by saying his victims ‘had it coming’. 

So what’s happening in this story?  We have Joseph trying to protect a ‘Louise’, creating a box locked very intricately and hiding all its pieces across the hospital.  The further into the puzzle the player goes, the more it seems Joseph is losing his sense of self.  Eventually, he is locked in the padded cell, and by the amount of blood there I assume he never left that cell alive.

But let’s start at the beginning.  The story starts with the patient records and the doctor’s note.  James (and Maria) enter the first room and find the records on that table, and quickly after, find the doctor’s note.  Immediately the cast is introduced.  We have our patients and our doctor.  In addition, we get our first key, which of course introduces the box puzzle.  The patient documents give us our parallels and describe what’s up with our patients.

Joseph believes that he killed his daughter and is seeing things no one else can see.  Louise must be his daughter.  The similarity between Louise and Laura is too close to ignore.  Laura plays an important part in this level, remember; James goes to the hospital to find her.  But, he is also trying to find - or set free - Louise.  Joseph and Louise.  James and Laura.

In the doctor’s note, this is said:

But sometimes I have to ask myself this question. It’s true that to us his imaginings are nothing but the inventions of a busy mind. But to him, there simply is no other reality. Furthermore he is happy there.

Joseph is existing in a happy unreality, one in which Louise, his daughter, is still alive.  Much like James, his happiness exists upon delusion and fabrication.  The doctor asks if it is not wrong to “drag him painfully into the world of our own reality”, which asks if it is better or worse to let Joseph pretend Louise is still alive.  This reflects upon James, and is particularly meaningful given the possible endings.  With Joseph, we see that the closer to reality that he gets, the further his mind shatters, and the more chaotic he becomes.  His notes lose coherency and he becomes more violent, and his mind fractures.

This is a game which deals with duality; with the divided self.  As Joseph becomes more chaotic, he begins to refer to ‘I’ and ‘He’.  He says the box ‘cant help him anymore’; he seems to lose his sense of self.  This particular sentence is really interesting in its double meanings:  “the button key doesnt scare me so nobody can stop who i am i don’t know who i am is who i am is who i am is”. 

He is not scared of the ‘button key’; i.e., he is not scared of opening the box.  ‘Nobody can stop who I am’, means that no one can stop his true identity from surfacing.  But he also says he doesn’t know who he is - he doesn’t know his true identity.  But ‘who i am is who i am’.  He is who he is.  The sentence ends abruptly.

This is found in an examining room on a piece of carbon paper.  Perhaps Joseph was there to be examined, the doctors left him alone, and he began typing upon the typewriter because he had to get out these thoughts, he was compelled to, and was then dragged away halfway through the sentence.  This is when, I believe, he is forced into the Special Treatment room, particularly because the same riddle on Hard difficulty reads like this at the end:  “no one can stop me one can stop me no one can stop me can stop can stop no no”.  He was probably protesting being forced into that room. 

That same puzzle refers to the box being ‘useless’.  This is the box that he is no longer ‘scared of’.  Then, lastly, in the final puzzle he refers to ‘the other one, my secret name’.  A name can refer to a person, or an other self, a secret.  In the Third puzzle on Hard he also says ‘I know it the secret’, and ‘i too will be free’.

Louise is no longer alive - she is dead.  In his delusions, Joseph believes her to be alive, and he will ‘protect her’ forever because it is ‘his destiny’.  She is in the box.  But in reality, what’s in the box is just a hair - a piece of her, what remains of her after death.  Opening the box will reveal the truth, that she is dead.  Joseph is divided between holding onto the delusion, and opening the box.  That is the two selves - the deluded self and the aware self.

Joseph is James.  James is divided between delusion and awareness, and the closer he gets to the truth, the stranger he becomes.  Take the part of the Hospital with Pyramid Head.  To enter the Special Treatment Ward James must be pushed off the roof.  He would never jump himself.  But later?  James is never again forced into a hole.  He jumps willingly.  Someone in their right mind would never jump into a bottomless pit with no way out, but James does. 

The box has four locks.  James travels to four locations:  the apartments, the hospital, the historical society, and the hotel.  Each place brings him closer to the truth and further unravels his delusions, until he remembers that Mary is dead because of him. 

The very same thing is happening to Joseph.  The hospital is an exact mirror of James’ experience in the game.  Jack is Angela - someone so tortured by their pain, they can only find relief in death.  Joshua is Eddie - someone who feels persecuted and uses that to justify their violent behavior.  Then, who is the doctor? 

Just like the nurses are the monsters, the doctor is as well: the hospital and its employees are Silent Hill, forcing the patients to face the truths they do not want to.  But, like the town, the hospital is evil.  Pyramid Head is there to make James see the truth, but Pyramid Head is just as guilty, hence the burden of his helmet and his eventual self-inflicted death. 

The clincher is the doctor’s last letters.  “The truth can only be learned by marching forward”; “the truth usually betrays people”.  But it gets more specific.  The doctor mentions that the key to the Historical Society was taken from him by Joshua, and that he allowed it to happen because it made him uneasy.  He mentions seeing ‘the thing’, probably the Red Pyramid, who is sometimes referred to as thing.  The doctor can clearly see the Fog/Otherworld as well. 

He mentions that he was not looking for truth, but tranquility; just like the first doctor’s note, which discusses allowing lies to exist for the sake of happiness.  But what stands out the most is, the letter then uses James name.

The town has spoken to James: Maria knows his name without James ever telling her it, and one of the walls in the town may say James name in a note.  He is also mentioned by name in the game show in the elevator.  But the doctor here is mentioning James specifically, when no other memo or note in the hospital includes him.  This happens right after the end of the Hospital level, when we have seen Joseph’s downfall.  Here, Joseph ceases to be mentioned, and instead it is James.  This is how the game infers that Joseph and James are the same - by associating them here, at the end of the level. 

In the hospital, we see Joseph slowly destroy himself as he discovers the truth and erases his delusions.  James begins to do the same, when he sees Maria killed by Pyramid Head.  He created her, wished for her, to replace Mary and placate his loneliness and guilt; losing her, he loses that comfort.  She also falls sick for a time in the hospital, which forces James to think of and remember his late wife.  But it is her death which strikes the first blow against James’ web of lies, and he begins upon the same path which Joseph has already taken, and been destroyed by.

The Lady of the Door Puzzle

In the hospital we see vivid religious imagery in the form of the Lady of the Door.  The note which goes along with the lady reads as follows:

She is an angel no one knows only I can see the Lady of the Door they cannot walk along her Bridge of Thread they fall from the weight of their crimes.

Like bloated and ugly corpses their sins she devours them sin and sinner alike she saves me she is an angel.

It’s significant that this note is written in much the same way that Joseph’s notes are:  lacking sentence structure, punctuation, and capitalization, but it is also more coherent than his later notes.  This must have been written early in his hospitalization.  Again, we have Joseph fixating on what only he can see: either as part of his delusions or as a person capable of seeing the Fog/Otherworld.  But he also refers to her as an angel that saves him; Hmm…

The way through this doorway is to find two rings, lead and copper, in the hospital and place them on the Lady’s hand.  The significance of the two rings is obvious - two rings to marry, one for the bride and groom.  But the poem alludes to a scene that sounds more like judgement and damnation than a marriage ceremony.  The juxtaposition of language is intriguing: the woman is an angel but she devours corpses.  Of course, angels in biblical lore are much more vicious and bloodthirsty than popular culture often portrays them, so this language really isn’t that surprising.

The painting itself evokes a great deal of religious imagery.  She’s a woman wearing a veil over her hair with her head down, reaching out her arms.  There is guilt in her bearing, in how she lowers her head, but there is salvation as well in the hands reaching out as if to guide. 

Angels are not evoked in Silent Hill often, so I attempted to cross-reference this figure with the lore of the series to make connections.  In SH2, Angela is the only other prominent “angel”, but she is not connected to the town.  The song ‘Angel’s Thanatos’ is the ending theme for In Water, Thanatos being a god of death.  In 2, the only connections with angels is death and the strongest connection is with suicide.

This Angel of the Door is an angel of judgement; she judges men and they fall off her ‘bridge of thread’ from the ‘weight of their crimes’.  The thread is significant in greek myth: the Fates would cut the threads of a person’s life to kill them.  The scene itself feels like a marriage, with the religious figure barring the way of two people (James and Maria) and only allowing them ‘passage’ (marrying them) by the exchange of rings.  But judgement is occurring as well, judgement of the crimes of the two exchanging the rings.

The rings themselves are twisted things.  One is found in a refrigerator, which can only be opened once James is with Maria - i.e., it must be done as a team, or as in marriage.  Only two people can open the fridge to get the ring.  That particular ring, the lead one, is marked with a bloated, ugly corpse, symbolizing death.  The other has a spider, which relates to the bridge of fate one must cross when the Lady of the Door judges them.  A spider would easily be able to pass over the bridge.  Symbolically, one ring could represent success and the other failure in terms of the judgement.

This is the door which lets Maria and James enter the long hallway that leads out of the hospital - but it is here that Maria dies.  They are married, and then separated.  Essentially, Maria is killed because they went through the door - because they got married.  The symbolism of marriage followed so quickly by the death of the wife is very important indeed.

At the end of the level, darkness descends upon Silent Hill.  The door which, earlier, was un-passable, will now open.  That door was the “door that wakes in darkness, opening into nightmares”.  The warning left for James by the doctor seems most apt now; but here, after having lost Maria, James’ illusions have begun to splinter and the truth of him is starting to show.  It is clear that this change is destroying him - but he cannot go back. 

So James leaves Brookhaven, takes to the streets of Silent Hill, in search for the truth…

TBC

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