Significance of Math? *spoilers*


Author Topic: Significance of Math? *spoilers*  (Read 13924 times)

Cali

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Significance of Math? *spoilers*
« on: June 29, 2008, 01:38:50 PM »
In short I was a little perplexed by this film. I just saw it last night and I'm still trying to figure it out.

One thing I have been thinking about is all the references to math. The math teacher keeps bringing up math, percentages and figures. He talks about trying to calm his mother down by telling her probabilities and percentages. He tries to help calm the girl in the Jeep by asking her a math riddle. I was suprised that when the math teacher dies, all the math references ended. Did the math play any significance in the film or the story at all other than attempting to develop John Leguizamo's character?

spikeshinizle

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Re: Significance of Math? *spoilers*
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2008, 03:24:46 AM »
To me, it just seemed as though Night was trying to drive home the point that he was a math teacher.  Unfortunately, I think it's pretty poor writing.  Just like how Elliot had to say "science" all of the time because he's a science teacher.  It seemed too obvious to me.

Mr_Glass.1

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Re: Significance of Math? *spoilers*
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2008, 10:21:39 AM »
I disagree spikeshinizle, I don't think it was overused.  Julian says early on in the movie that people are calmed by percentages, things that give them something rational to hold on to.  So he uses his knowledge of math to calm people down.
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Cali

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Re: Significance of Math? *spoilers*
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2008, 11:12:25 AM »
I thought the math references were overused and very obvious. I was hoping that maybe they held some secret that I was just missing. I think anybody writing a story involving a math teacher could've come up with this idea that since the character teaches math, they're going to talk about it all the time and use math references at least 30 times a day. If I knew Julian in real life and was having a personal problem, I sure as hell wouldn't call him.

Personally, I overall hated the Julian character. I didn't really understand why he was so angry (I understand that he feels that the girl that married elliot wasn't ready, but he didn't know about her unfaithfulness) and the whole, 'I'm a math teacher so I'm going to talk about math all the time' deal.

Maybe MNight was just trying to give the impression that both of these teachers (Julian and Elliot) really, really enjoyed and loved their jobs.

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Re: Significance of Math? *spoilers*
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2008, 05:27:16 PM »
I've posted before about the significance of how people try to rationalize and explain everything as one way of seeking or giving comfort in uncertain times (PLEASE READ THREADS BEFORE U POST NEW ONES) And I think it was another reference to the explicable versus the inexplicable and our constant desire to know for certain. And I think the death of Julian may have been significant in that it expressed to us that no matter how comforting it may be, math (and other comforting explanations) won't save you.

(btw, I think Julian was the best character in the movie)

I won't go into too much detail here to avoid spoilers, but it should be clear enough that those of you who have seen the movie will know what im talking about.
I've only seen The Happening once, so I wont have to go too deep to review it (unlike the village or signs or 6th sense) There were a few themes in it and I'm not exactly sure whether shyamalan was for or against them.

Number one: Comfort- the lengths to which we go, just to make the people we care about feel better (statistics, cafe/moodring scene, the "vibes" we give off whether positive or negative, talking with the 2 teenagers about life, not mentioning the happening to the students, the old lady who cut herself off from a world she didnt wanna deal with-ignorance).

Number two: Responsibility (the obvious environmentalist aspect, Leguizamo's character and going after his wife, Zooey's character's fear of commitment, "don't you take my daughter's hand unless you mean it", Wahlberg's character and thinking about what needs to be done, The hotdog guy offering to help the Wahlberg party)
« Last Edit: July 05, 2008, 05:36:52 PM by Namaste »
See the villain's larger eyes insinuating a just-off-normal perspective on how they see the world? I see signs Lucius Hunt; just not as you see dead people. I am so very happy we saw..each other, and no I will not tell you what color love is. Stop asking.

Mr_Glass.1

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Re: Significance of Math? *spoilers*
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2008, 01:53:58 PM »
Cali, why do you think Julian was mad, I didn't get that feeling at all.  I agree with Namasate though.  That's just one of the ways he tried to get himself through all the craziness.
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swingaway

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Re: Significance of Math? *spoilers*
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2008, 12:54:32 PM »
since the character teaches math, they're going to talk about it all the time and use math references at least 30 times a day. If I knew Julian in real life and was having a personal problem, I sure as hell wouldn't call him.

That makes me laugh  :D  My MIL is a Math teacher - that is how they think - they are not able to separate Math from life.  In their mind, everything has a possible and probable solution.  Maybe M has a math teacher in his life and was playing off that.

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Re: Significance of Math? *spoilers*
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2008, 11:19:48 PM »
That's funny, because they think the world revolves around mathematical and scientific number and facts-entirely, so they use that as an explanation.
I see the world Lucius Hunt, just not the way you see it.


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manojrules

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Re: Significance of Math? *spoilers*
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2008, 05:59:39 PM »
I didnt see how the math teacher died, but I thought he died in the crash. I didnt look, i stared at my popcorn during that part cause i knew theyd die, but I read he slit his wrists online. But something i dont understand... he mustve went crazy, you know, to slit his wrists in a suicide attempt, but in the car, just before the crash, he was fine enough to tell riddles, so why did all of a sudden he was affected by the sickness? is it because of the odd tear in the roof?

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Re: Significance of Math? *spoilers*
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2008, 07:53:40 PM »
Yeah..the toxin got in through the hole in the roof. And yes he did slit his wrists. He survived the crash, but got out..walked around for a second, then sat down and picked up a piece of glass from the windshield.
See the villain's larger eyes insinuating a just-off-normal perspective on how they see the world? I see signs Lucius Hunt; just not as you see dead people. I am so very happy we saw..each other, and no I will not tell you what color love is. Stop asking.

theos

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Re: Significance of Math? *spoilers*
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2008, 12:18:58 AM »
We were discussing the math subject with my literature teacher (philologist) and we came to the following conclusion.

Julian mentions that numbers and percentages comfort people and calm them down (and it's proven later when the girl stops screaming after being given that math riddle). Numbers and science are capable of that because they deprive things of feelings and life (they explain/describe something complex in a very primitive way). Then my teacher said an interesting sentence that I really liked: 'Statistics does not leave any room for life' (not sure if I translated that to english correctly though :))
Now if we look at the way Nature affects people in the movie we can see that it behaves by majority rule. It does not care if there are innocent children in the group. It treats humans the same way humans treat it: using cold unfeeling statistics.

swingaway

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Re: Significance of Math? *spoilers*
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2008, 03:28:11 PM »
Very interesting.  Thanks for that perspective.


manojrules

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Re: Significance of Math? *spoilers*
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2008, 01:23:19 PM »
I see, that is a nice perspective.

And that's what I figured, the poison got in. And he says in the beginning when he goes to talk to Elliot something like, "The significance of being a math teacher is knowing math equations to comfort myself with. You know, people are comforted by math and percentages." thats not an exact quote but i remember he said somethingl ike that, just maybe i forgot a few words or something, and then later he said something else about equations. We saw Julian for only a short time in the movie, so there wasnt too much to support that, except him in the car with the equation. but maybe he shouldve said, at one point, the percentage of them surviving or something, or maybe when he departed from his daughter, he could've said a math equation to support the fact that math was an important part of his life.

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Re: Significance of Math? *spoilers*
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2008, 03:57:46 AM »
he did use an equation when he went to look for his wife. He gave the probability that the toxin had not yet hit where she was. (although it was probably a complete fabrication)
See the villain's larger eyes insinuating a just-off-normal perspective on how they see the world? I see signs Lucius Hunt; just not as you see dead people. I am so very happy we saw..each other, and no I will not tell you what color love is. Stop asking.

manojrules

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Re: Significance of Math? *spoilers*
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2008, 11:54:11 AM »
he did use an equation when he went to look for his wife. He gave the probability that the toxin had not yet hit where she was. (although it was probably a complete fabrication)
Oh yeah, I forgot about that. I was thinking something like the odds of the toxin stopping soon or something, but that's almost like the probablity he gave about the toxin not hitting. And he couldn't really give the odds of himself coming back, he probably didn't want to scare his daughter, or talk about that himself. :\