Writer’s Block: I Can Relate

What fictional character do you most identify with?

Live Journals Writer’s Block

One fictional character that I can strongly identify with, is the Jack aka Big Boss from Metal Gear Solid 3.

Obvious spoilers warning

Tom: There’s one more person I want to introduce you to, Snake.

Snake: ?

Tom: Speaking of snakes, you remember The Boss, don’t you? A legendary soldier and your mentor. Actually, it was The Boss that got the DCI’s authorization in the first place. She’s going to be serving as FOX’s mission advisor.

Snake: The Boss is?

Tom: She also helped me plan this mission. She and I were at SAS together.

Boss: Jack, is that you? How many years has it been?

Snake: Boss??

Boss: That’s right, it’s me.

Snake: …

Boss: Talk to me. Let me hear your voice.

Snake: It’s been 5 years, 72 days, and 18 hours.

Boss: You’ve lost weight.

Snake: You can tell just by the sound of my voice?

Boss: Of course I can. I know all about you.

Snake: Really. Well, I don’t know anything about you.

Boss: What’s that supposed to mean?

Snake: …Why’d you disappear on me all of a sudden?

Boss: I was on a top-secret mission.

Snake: …

Boss: You didn’t need me anymore.

Snake: But there were still so many things I wanted you to teach me.

Boss: No. I taught you everything you needed to know about fighting techniques. I taught you all I could. The rest you needed to learn on your own.

Snake: Techniques, sure. But what about how to think like a soldier?

Boss: How to think like a soldier? I can’t teach you that. A soldier needs to be strong in spirit, body, and technique – and the only thing you can learn from someone else is technique. In fact, technique doesn’t even matter. What’s most important is spirit. Spirit and body are like two sides of a single coin. They’re the same thing. I can’t teach you how to think. You’ll just have to figure it out for yourself. Listen to me, Jack. Just because soldiers are on the same side right now doesn’t mean they always will be. Having personal feelings about your comrades is one the worst sins you can commit. Politics determine who you face on the battlefield. And politics are a living thing. They change along with the times. Yesterday’s good might be tomorrow’s evil.

Snake: Is that why you abandoned me?

Boss: No. It had nothing to do with you. I already told you, Jack. I was on a top-secret mission. A soldier has to follow whatever orders he’s given. It’s not his place to question why. But you’re looking for a reason to fight. You’re a natural born fighter, but you’re not quite a soldier. A solider is a political tool, nothing more. That’s doubly true if he’s a career soldier. Right and wrong have no place in his mission. He has no enemies and no friends. Only the mission. You follow the orders you’re given. That’s what being a soldier is all about.

Snake: I do whatever I have to do to get the job done. I don’t think about politics.

Boss: That’s not the same thing. Sooner or later, your conscience is going to bother you. In the end, you have to choose whether you’re going to live as a soldier, or just another man with a gun. There’s a saying in the Orient; “Loyalty to the end.” Do you know what it means?

Snake: Being… Patriotic?

Boss: It means devoting yourself to your country.

Snake: I follow the President and the top brass. I’m ready to die for them if necessary.

Boss: The President and the top brass won’t be there forever. Once their terms are up, others will take their place.

Snake: I follow the will of the leader, no matter who’s in charge.

Boss: People aren’t the ones who dictate the missions.

Snake: Then who does?

Boss: The times. People’s values change over time. And so do the leaders of a country. So there’s no such thing as an enemy in absolute terms. The enemies we fight are only in relative terms, constantly changing with the times.

Snake: …

Boss: As long as we have “loyalty to the end,” there’s no point in believing in anything… even in those we love.

Snake: And that’s the way a soldier is supposed to think?

Boss: The only thing we can believe in with absolute certainty is the mission, Jack.

Snake: All right. But do me a favor.

Boss: What is it?

Snake: Call me Snake.

Boss: Snake? Oh, right, your codename is Snake. It suits you well.

Tom: That’s right. The legendary unit that The Boss put together during World War II was a snake. The Cobra Unit… a group of heroes that brought the war to an end and saved the world. As long as you’ve got a legendary hero backing you up, you’ll be fine. Isn’t that right, Snake?

Snake: Yeah, I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather have with me. Oh, and one more thing, Boss…

Boss: Yes?

Snake: It’s good to hear your voice again.

The young Big Boss very much symbolizes to me, someone who has yet to find their own path through the jungle. In Metal Gear Solid 3, we see Jacks entry into the Virtuous Mission: the hunt for Sokolov. The Boss warns him of the very true nature of their world: todays enemies can be tomorrows friends, todays friends can be tomorrows enemies. The game continually questions what Jack is fighting for: country, mission, and so on. With the Bosses ‘defection’ at the end of the virtuous mission leaving Jack wounded and disillusioned, Operation Snake Eater again sends him into the wilderness, yet this time with the explicit goal of neutralizing the Boss. During Snake Eater, Jack is taken prisoner by the Soviets. After beating him into a bloody pulp, Col. Volgin demands that the Boss prove her loyalty: “Cut out his eyes! I don’t like those blue eyes of his. There is nothing more important to a soldier than his eyes. You made him a soldier and now you will unmake him!”. When Eve under cover as Tatyana objects, Ocelot commences his juggling act. It ends with Jack trading his right eye to protect Eva.

I think playing through MGS3 is the only real definition of what Big Boss goes through; my best description would be a torture of life.

Surviving Snake Eater with the Bosses blood on his hands, as Eva’s betrayal reveals: the Boss had been endlessly shit on by her country (to put it lightly), yet remained loyal to the end. The boss lived in shadow and died in shadow, giving every ounce of life along the way: until even that was demanded of her service. in the end, Operation Snake Eater was all about cold hard cash, nothing else. And for that, ones such as the Boss and Big Boss were subjected to such misery! By the time Metal Gear Solid 3 ends, Jack has been awarded the title of “Big Boss”, for he has bested even the Boss. Jack lost his innocence a long the way to becoming Big Boss.

Throughout the game, Jack focuses on his missionm‐and is constantly reminded that he must kill the Boss in order to succeed. I feel that in the end, he must ask himself, “What am I fighting for?”, and search to see if this is really the path he will chart in life.

Because my feelings for my family and of my times with www.sasclan.org I have come to sympathize with Big Bosses fate. MGS3 is my favorite of the solid trilogy because it tells his story, of his coming of age. Having seen the whole thing through, I don’t think anyone who has played MGS3 could fail to understand the actions Big Boss would later take in life, be they as they appeared or much deaper; MGS4 (the only reason I would like a PS3 haha!) further explores the reasons behind the snake. In a similiar light, I ask of my self:

Are you loyal to the end?