Friday, January 14, 2011

Independence vs. Interdependence

11. It is important to be independent [self-reliant, self-sufficient]



Summary:

It’s interesting that there’s a lot less agreement on this question than there is on the how frequently the value of friendship is depicted with question 35. Respondents seem to believe that the series holds the values of independence and friendship (individualism and interdependence, more broadly) in tension, with group values being more prominently displayed. That’s not to say that self-reliance is not prominently represented in the series, with several commenters quoting this moment:

[screencap credit: buffyworld.com]

The majority of the comments use examples relating to Buffy to answer this question, while there was a much greater balance in previous comments. The question of the hero’s ties to the community seems to define how people looked at this question, instead of the ties the community has to the hero or to each other.

Your Comments:

I see the series being the opposite of this, where eventually every character at some point tries to be independent, but eventually needs the rest of the group to get them out of trouble.

Sometimes, but Buffy also needs her friends

To an extent. Buffy is the slayer and must go it alone. She has the Scoobies and a fabulous support system, however, in life it is not always possible to have that at your finger tips at every moment and in every crisis. In certain situations they may not be there and you must be able to go it alone. This is not to say that one should isolate themselves from an amazing support system, that is key and allows for personal growth and the confidence to take charge, however, it can also lead to complete reliance which is never a good thing, you must be able to function on your own in society. It sucks but its true. I feel that Joss did a wonderful job addressing these themes in the last two seasons and the difficulties of leadership, hard as they were for me to watch. Buffy had to take charge whether people wanted her to or not. And sometimes leaders make mistakes, but who doesn't?

I think Buffy really stresses an interdependence model for independence. If that makes sense. Probably not.

Never was this driven home more than when Giles knew he was holding Buffy back from being a true adult (“You're not ready for the world outside ... I'm just standing in the way”).

The show focused more on working with others. Buffy had family and friends helping and often the moral was that she couldn't do it without them.

Yes, but often it explores the tension between that independence and the necessity for communal action and support, which are also highly valued.

The characters rely on each other. From each other they gain true self-sufficience.

Not really, I mean, they need each other in the scoubi gang. That's how they survive.

the series is more about teamwork and being able to rely on others and to ask for help - rather than thinking you have to do everything by yourself

Of course, each person had to show that he or she could stand on his/her own. However, their greatest strength was when they worked together. They weren't nicknamed "the Scoobys" for nothing.

I would say that this trait is important but it's also clearly balanced with a view that it is equally important to be co-dependent and have relationships. Independence and dependence are never portrayed as mutually exclusive, they are complementary.

but asking for help from your friends and family is needed too.

In most situations, it's teamwork and family that are the most important things in BTVS.

This is one point that changed my world.

When Joyce died Buffy realized how dependant she had been on her

I think the message is that it's NOT always important to be self-reliant. Buffy often relies on herself, and goes into her own little world. But when she talks to her friends about whatever it is that's bothering her, she feels much better.

Actually, I think the show said just the opposite. Buffy needed her group of friends. They made her stronger. In fact, we saw several times what might have happened to her had she been more independent. "The Wish" showed a darker, uncaring Buffy, one who ultimately was killed by who we knew to be a relatively week villain. Faith showed us who Buffy might've been without her friends, and it was only when Faith was truly accepted by the group that she began to turn things around.

Buffy shows in s2 how important it is to be self reliant and then spends the rest of the series emphasizing the importance of friends and relationships

Buffy--hello, weight of the world. Xander is also very responsible and resourceful in later seasons.

I think Buffy actually does the opposite. It shows how being strong is about asking for help and relying on your friends. Whenever Buffy or the others try and do things alone it turns out when than if they worked together.

Teamwork is better than self reliance, but it shows up.

There are times to be independent, but you also have to know when to rely on others.

Other than Buffy in S7, it's teamwork that is represented.

tension in the series between going solo and turning to the group

Buffy is both self-reliant and strongest when she is with friends.

The whole point of the series is that Buffy survives as a Slayer BECAUSE she has friends, i.e., she is not self-sufficient. Self-sufficient Slayers get killed quickly.

In 'Buffy,' the most good was achieved with the help of others. Alone often led to suffering and badness.

That is important, but you still need to be able to lean on others sometimes. Sometimes you have to let someone else take the lead.

The whole show is about how Buffy wouldn't survive if she didn't have her friends there for her.

With the proviso that teamwork is important, and interdependence is the organic nature of people's connections...

Mixed on that. Yes, self reliance was important. But so was being part of a community that depended on each other.

While Buffy does occasionally strike out on her own and has shown she is able to be self-reliant I think the key to the show is her friends, her family and her support network. It is part of the reason Kendra and Faith are not as good slayers as Buffy.

To a certain extent I think this value is illustrated on the show - during 'Anne' for example where Buffy has to fend for herself in LA, or in Becoming Part 2 as Angelus is about to kill Buffy, and Buffy fends him off with the following riposte:

"Angelus: Now that's everything, huh? No weapons... No friends... No hope.

Buffy closes her eyes and steels herself for whatever's coming.

Angelus: Take all that away... and what's left?

He draws the sword back and thrusts it directly at her face. With lightning-fast reflexes she swings up with both arms and catches the blade between the palms of her hands. She opens her eyes and meets his gaze

Buffy: Me.

She shoves the blade away from her, and the hilt of the sword hits Angelus in the face."

In 'Anne', Giles also says the following about Buffy: "Buffy is the most capable child I've ever known. I mean, she may be confused, unhappy, but I honestly believe she's in no danger." However, although I think the show does value the ability to be independent the show also makes a strong statement in favour of being able to depend upon your friends and family in times of need.

Buffy's major arc was that Buffy lasted longer and excelled because of her reliance on friend and family

Yes, but also to build a "family" of friends on whom one can rely.

Being your own person was always very important, but part of what made Buffy so strong was her family & friends. Joss (we're on a first name basis, natch) specifically wanted to dispel the notion that heroes had to be completely independent loners. It is important to be able to fend for yourself but it's equally important to have support.

I think that was more true early in the season - versus in the seventh season it was more regarding group slayer identity…. I think it is more that it show the inverse of this - that we are not islands.

Slayers are solitary beings. The irony of that statement not withstanding, at the end of the day, Buffy had Buffy. And that was enough. But she was the greatest slayer in all of history because of her friends. I doubt she would have made it out of the first season alive if not for her friends.

I would describe it as being important to be able to be independent, but that teamwork is more important.

Most of the instances I can think of that deal with this topic disagree with that. Buffy can't survive on her own. She needs the support of her friends. They all do.

but only with the caveat that extreme self-reliance can be destructive

This is represented but I believe it shows nore that it is also okay to rely on others as well sometimes and you need people around you that you are able to rely on. Asking for help when you need it is always important.

The character Buffy definitely is independent and self-sufficient, but I think the main message the show puts out, to me at least, is the idea of a family, whether that's blood relations or a family of friends. You never have to or should have to stand alone in life, and Buffy has found that many times on the show.

Frankly, I think it's the opposite/ Buffy says to have friends to rely on--that's what makes Buffy a unique slayer, and the show a good one to watch.

Though all the characters are, in their own way, irretrievably alone, they survive through familial friendships.

While I don't think that it's not not represented in the series, I think that the show conveys that it is far more important to depend on other people than to be self-sufficient.

Yes and no. Too self-reliant can be a bad thing, and one of the messages that Buffy is that we need other people to be effective.

To a certain extent, but Buffy was always stronger with her friends. In contrast, in "The Wish" dystopia, Buffy was alone and independent was not the Buffy we liked.

Buffy is not about being dependant, but about acknowledging the power of teamwork instead of flying solo.

This is sometimes valued, but the importance of teamwork comes up a lot more often - especially as an attribute that makes Buffy stronger.

Ya gotta have friends or at least interesting enemies

I feel like independence is most encouraged of folks within a community. Like you must be independently good at working with a team. Isolated independence is looked down upon - think season 3 Faith.

The show both tells us thins while it negates it. Buffy as the only one - but her greatest victories are team victories. She is lonely but the series ends with many slayers, not one. Frequently, it is self-reliance which makes the biggest mistakes. I think the show says no matter how capable you are on your own, you are better off with help.

I think the show was more about teamwork and trust. Mostly it was when a character tried to fly solo, when thingsnwould take a turn for the worst.

The series frequently highlights the tension between independence and inter-dependence.

Well, many of the questions are different if your talking Buffy, or the whole group.

I think the show did a great job of balancing Buffy's independence with her reliance on her friends. She was successful both ways and needed to be.

It was highlighted many times how much deader Buffy would be without her friends and family. On the other hand, and the reason for a 2 instead of a 1, I refer you to Buffy and Angelus' sword fight....to paraphrase...Angelus: take away everything you have and what's left...Buffy: Me.

Giles: Can you forgive me?
Buffy: For what?
Giles: I should never have left.
Buffy: Oh, Giles... You were right to leave.
Buffy works best when she has her friends around her.

Again Half the time it is stated that that’s what Buffy is and needs to be, but also several times when to over -come things she NEEDS her friends to do it.

The Scoobies showed teamwork was essential. Same with the chosen group of gals. Teamwork seemed more important than doing it all alone, in fact it was rare for any character to succeed on their own.

The group depended on one another. But as mentioned, when you have lost everything, you always have yourself left.

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