Style Guide 3 – Cataplexis Analysis

Throughout all the Storium stories, characters have faced many problems that have led them to make decisions that have affected others. For some, there were positive consequences from such decisions. However, certain characters had the urge to get revenge on those who, according to the offendee, have committed an act of ill will against them. This revenge-seeking attribute, especially towards another character is defined as cataplexis. Of course, not all who were affected negatively resulting from a choice made by those around them reacted with retaliation. For instance, in scene three of The Violin, upon being repeatably rebuked by Jink for not having saved her violin from the hands of her wicked bother, Arthur did not seek revenge on his girlfriend and her offensive remarks. Unlike other characters in these stories, Arthur did not threaten her with violence and left the estate in which they had been arguing. From this example, there seems to be a common trait that have led these characters to seek their revenge on others. Typically, there is a sense of superiority that they possess against the offending character. This is not surprising, for characters that are seemingly passive and weak would not dare make any sort of threat. Instead, such characters often find ways to take advantage of the situation rather than succumb to superiority. Therefore, when the dominant character feels that he or she has been deceived, the reader than observe the resulting cataplexis.

In high school, students not only fight for good grades but also high social standing amongst their peers. This makes it a perfect example of where disrespect towards the dominant students may provoke retaliation. In Unexpected Love the jocks, Jack, Steve, and Max all share the characteristic that will lead to cataplexis under the necessary conditions. Being athletic, strong, and arrogant suggest that in the high school environment, they will use their attributes to “run” the school, particularly amongst the students. No other person under their dominance should want to impede them from getting what they want. That is not the case, however, as far as Dexter, their nerdy brother, and Marissa, Dexter’s impromptu date, are concerned. After failing to attract Marissa with their masculinity at prom, the jocks are dumbfounded upon seeing her and Dexter together. They do not attempt to seek their revenge on Dexter until the jocks head to the restaurant where the couple decided to meet up. The first threat is made by Steve when he says, “‘Oh, I can’t wait to bash his head in.’” followed by Max’s reply, “‘Yeah, he’ll think twice about stealing Marissa away from us after we teach him a little lesson.’”. Later in the scene, Steve affirms Max’s thought when he says, “‘That’s it. I’ve had enough. It’s time this loser pays for what he’s ruined for us.’”. In this passage, Steve threatens payback because of Dexter’s action while Max follows up with the reason behind why Dexter will receive that retaliation. This resulting cataplexis not only highlights an important aspect of the plot, but also confirms that the jocks had been deceived by an inferior character. The jocks are in disbelief that someone whom they perceive as a weakling was able to win over Marissa. It should come as no surprise that the jocks decided to react in this manner.

The characters do not always have to yield power by means of physical strength for them to seek retaliation against others. In the case of Roccafella, the privileged businessman from the story Harmonia holds power in terms of socio-economic standing. It is obvious that he also does not wish for anything to stand in the way in his business endeavors, for he knows that expanding his lucrative companies will bring him more income. In scene one, it is revealed that Mr. Roccafella wants to build a railroad from Anderson and New Burlington because “[Mr. Roccafella] was getting sick of needing to drive one of his seven cars between [Anderson and New Burlington]”. Since he states that “every single person in the state of Indiana” needs his railroads, one can imagine the immense profit that goes into Mr. Roccafella’s wallet. He is angered, however, when he learns that one resident has refused to sell her land that is in the way of his precious railroad track. According to the scene, “‘What was her name? Mr.Roccafella wondered…‘It’s Diana! That is a name I won’t forget.’” Roccafellas don’t take no for an answer, and more importantly never forget an enemy.”. He later reveals that, “[Diana]’s a selfish tool for not accepting the price I offered her…”. Again, we see a dominant figure that has been cheated out of what has given him so much power: money. He was successful in buying anyone’s land that stood in the way of his reaching desired railroad except for Diana’s farmland. The reader understands that her father’s legacy of growing crops on that farmland is far more valuable than any amount of money Roccafella could offer her. Although it is not explicitly stated how Roccafella will seek his revenge in this scene, the line “ [the] Roccafellas don’t take no for an answer,” suggests that he will become more aggressive in his attempts to seize Diana’s land which may resort to violence if Diana is adamant in retaining it.

Cataplexis, or the character’s threating of payback as a consequence of wrongdoing from an offender is evident in both Unexpected Love and Harmonia. Dominant figures such as the jocks and Mr. Roccafella take exception to being cheated out of their strengths and powers. As a result, one can see that they both seek retaliation against such offenders who dared to challenge them. The cataplexis in both stories no doubt plays a significant role in the stories not just in advancing the plot, but also revealing to the reader important details about the individual characters.