"ryuko and mako only went on that date as friends!" ah yes. i, too, kiss my friends and ask them to go on dates with me when they get back after an entire friendship of expressing romantic attraction to them
starlightprism said: Got any tips on how to write characters that have been living alone for a long time? Both solitary confinement and alone in the wilderness types of stuff will suffice.
Hello, I do have tips, but I also have questions about your question.
Characters, how old are they? how old were when they started to live alone in the wilderness or in solitary confinement?
Time, what does long time means for you? months? years?
I ask those questions because we, humans, are social animals. We need others not only to get basics needs, but also to keep our personal identity. Since our birth we are in contact with other people from different backgrounds, socioeconomic status, personalities, age, cultures, among others. Sociology and psychology have theorized about this, since we grow and live in societies in two different ways, social and personal (not mutually exclusive), as a result we develop a social identity and an individual identity.
This is a lot of information, I’ll try to be as clear and organized as possible.
Stages of Socialization
Here is a paper to help you understand this better: Socialization
Theory of Psychosocial Development
- Stage 1: Trust vs Mistrust
- Stage 2: Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt
- Stage 3: Initiative vs Guilt
- Stage 4: Industry vs Inferiority
- Stage 5: Identity vs Confusion
- Stage 6: Intimacy vs Isolation
- Stage 7: Generativity vs Stagnation
- Stage 8: Integrity vs Despair
This theory is from Erik Erikson, here’s a link: Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development
- Sensorimotor Stage
- Preoperational Stage
- Concrete Operational Stage
- Formal Operational Stage
This is from Jean Piaget: Piaget’s Stages
Theory of Moral Development
- Level 1 Preconventional Morality: Stage 1 - Obedience and Punishment. Stage 2 - Individualism and Exchange
- Level 2 Conventional Morality: Stage 3 - Interpersonal Relationships. Stage 4 - Maintaining Social Order
- Level 3 Postconventional Morality: Stage 5 - Contract and Individual Rights. Stage 6 - Universal Principles
This theory is from Lawrence Kohlberg: Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development
Why do you need to know this? Because if your characters are alone in the wilderness or in solitary confinement since a young age and for a long time, all those stages will be affected.
Here are some examples
Living in the Wilderness
After you’ve got the age of your characters, you need a purpose, especially if they’re teenagers or adults. Sometimes it can be discomfort with society, sometimes because they want to live alone, sometimes for spiritual fulfillment, sometimes because circumstances made it possible. You have to consider their resources and what they know about nature, if they carry something with them or have to figure it out how to live with things nature provides. And the place where they want to live is important as well, are your characters prepared for the wheater? are they going to live in a rainforest, somewhere near a beach, near a river, a mountain, desert? Something else, can they live there? who owns the land they want to live in, the government, is it a national park, native land? What happens with their houses, family, taxes, etc?
Is it Legal to Live in the Wilderness (doesn’t give any answer to the question but there are a lot of experiences)
The Walden Effect: Tracing the Myth of the Man Alone in the Wilderness (this one brings the question of why there are more men than women willing to live in the wilderness, the answer is very vague, if you can bring up an answer or some hit in your story give it a try)
Realities of Going Primitive (careful with the terms primitive, native, “Indian”, and civilization)
Unlike living alone in the wilderness, solitary confinement goes against the person’s will. This is related to imprisonment, kidnapping and war crimes, is also meant to inflict some kind of damage in the person’s mental and physical health.
Taking the Solitary Confinement Debate Out of Isolation (this one is about prisoners with mental illness in solitary confinement)
The following links are about children and youth in solitary confinement
As said before, humans are social animals, our identity is made, among other things, by our experiences, memories, and our surroundings. I’m not this, I am that, I like this, I dislike that. The way we see ourselves is part conditioned by our relationships with our environment. So, what happens when there’s no one around to valide us, to makes us believe that we are what we think we are or what we aren’t?
Solitary Confinement doesn’t involve just your interactions with other people, but also involves your brain and external stimulus. As long as there are things for your brain to keep it working it will work.
Always remember context, especially for solitary confinement. Why there are people being imprisoned? And why solitary confinement is being used.
The age of your character is one of the most important things when they were imprisoned or decided to live in the wilderness, or were left abandoned, or escaped, or got lost.
If they were imprisoned, what was the reason? why are they still in solitary confinement? Show us the process they’ve been through (you will need more research), are they still the same? if they are free now, how do they live? where do they live? how do they react to sensory stimulus? Is it a prison or another
If they’ve been living in the wilderness, how do they live? why they left their homes? is someone looking for them? Do they still have some kind of contact with people?
There’s still the debate about nature/nurture. Are we a product of our genes and our environment or does one of them has more impact in our life? The way we are is because the way we were raised or because we have that written in our genes? When writing characters living in the wilderness for a long time and since their youngest youth you can explore this in your story.
I think I forgot Freud and his theory of development. But I think you got the general idea of the things you have to keep in mind.
Hope this can help you.
This is actually a really great response that touches on a lot of issues most people don’t consider about “living in the wild”. And like L. says, it is crucial to answer those first questions about age/length of time spent in isolation, especially because of the aforementioned socialisation and psychological issues. L. has done a wonderful job of summing up a bunch of really key points.
What I need to mention is that it takes a VERY specific sort of person to be able to psychologically handle that level of social isolation that living in the wilderness requires. A modern person would obviously have a significantly harder time adapting to life in that sort of environment far more than, let’s say, the first European explorers of North America, and especially harder time than an Aboriginal person on any continent (again, centuries back). If you notice, a lot of these famous men who took off, never came back and there is a lot of contention about their states of mind even prior to setting off. (I think we’ve all seen Into The Wild…) And what’s more, you have to seriously consider if these people are able to cope with the severe psychological strain of such isolation. It’s no easy task and it’s why often you hear of these solo escapists “going crazy”. (Malnourishment/diet can also impact this significantly.) So, if your character(s) have just been thrust into an unforgiving wilderness (and ALL wilderness is unforgiving, especially to the unprepared) from relative socialisation and comfort, they will suffer. Even if they have chosen to leave society. [Ofc, there are a handful of extraordinarily rare exceptions.]
A quick way to see this in action is Ed Wardle. He aimed to spend just 90 days alone in the Canadian wilderness and film it all for NatGeo/Channel4. Much like Survivorman, Les Stroud — but with none of the expertise. He lasted 50 days before calling for help. The show is called “Alone In The Wild” and you can watch the whole series on Youtube. This is an “average Joe”, not one of these survivalist experts (Les Stroud, Bear Gryllis, etc. Who, btw, all have TV shows that can give you a good indication of all the challenges faced by someone in the wilderness). I’d say he’s a bit more than average as he’s scaled Everest… But it’s an example of a “normal” person being dropped into nowhere (in the summer thankfully) and having to survive completely alone. The reason I suggest this series is because of the exploration it does on how extreme isolation and survival stress break a person psychologically. By the concluding episode you see first hand what it looks like — and this was a man who chose to go into the woods. They key here is “alone”. If you are with even one other person, it can mitigate this substantially. But most people do not understand how devastating social isolation actually is (especially when coupled with malnutrition, fear/stress (prolonged high cortisol levels can be incredibly damaging physically and emotionally), exhaustion, etc.) [I tried to find a few easy-to-read layman’s articles for you. I generally would have directed people towards peer-reviewed scientific journals. If you’re into thesis papers (and are aware of the caveats of using such) here is one regarding high cortisol/stress.] Things such as hearing a human voice, piece of rubbish, or seeing a photograph become incredibly devastating/desirable.
So whether you character has grown up “feral” or has been dropped into the environment by force or by choice as an adult (or teenager even), will make a HUGE difference on their coping mechanisms and psychological/social development. To see how a grown man could react to the “by force or by choice” option of wilderness isolation, Ed Wardle can give you a glimpse — with side effects being depression, paranoia, scattered thinking, hallucinations, etc. exacerbated by harsh living conditions and malnourishment. Importantly, he had an escape plan. He could radio for help and it would be there. I would guess your characters don’t have this luxury. It’s a very affecting episode if you understand the psychology going on. And there used to be additional videos available that detailed his psychological issues. I mean, you do have to take anything on TV with a grain of salt, but it’s an okay starting point. If you combine it with research into other wilderness survival/Walden-esque stories, you can get a decent idea. (Don’t pay attention to Thoreau, lol. It’s a beautiful book and definitely good for appreciating nature, but it’s fiction.)
So, basically, my long belaboured point is that in addition to all the developmental aspects of social isolation, there are the near-immediate psychological consequences also that can start to come up as early as one week, and most likely will begin to manifest after a month. Stress levels and food can impact it significantly. So, you need a very special person (of this modern age) to be able to have survived for a significant time alone in the wild not only for the highly-developed expertise required (what food to eat, how to hunt, how to build shelter, how to deal with health issues, SO MANY other issues that we think are “easy” or take for granted), but for the psychological aspect as well. Not just anyone could have survive for a long period of time. And someone who has now adjusted to a solitary life in the wilderness over a significant period of time (years) will likely no longer be socialised the same way as a “regular” member of society, regardless of whether they have been in the past or not.
There are many legal issues to worry about as well, especially if you are not a member of an indigenous group. (ie. relating to trespass, land use, hunting/poaching, etc.) All land is “owned” by someone now.
I knew I was forgetting something when I answered this!!!
Thank you for pointing this out, it’s actually very important.
Guys, check what avialaeandapidae has said.
Remember that movie in which Jack Black was a teacher and building a rock band and when a little black chubby girl asked to be a singer he only said “sure! let me hear you” and the moment she started using her beautiful voice his lit up like all of his dreams came true, PLUS the same little girl was scared that people would make fun of her because she was fat and he started listing awesome singers with some weight on and included himself and told her that people wouldn’t laugh because she is awesome at what she does and that is all that matters PLUS that it’s ok to enjoy food?
Also, when a little boy asked to be the band’s stylist he just said “sure, go ahead fancy pants” like, there wasn’t a single second of questioning it, he went into “ok, that will be your position then” right away
That fucking movie is an hour and a half of Jack Black teaching kids to love themselves disregarding all of the stereotypes
- sext: i'll pull ur head onto my lap and leave it there for hours while we watch anime
some of the criticism about urbance is valid, especially when it’s coming from people of color. real issues like transphobia, bi erasure, cissexism— those are all real problems that could easily arise from a premise based around ‘sex is going to kill you, so men and women are separated’.
if you’re saying ‘UGH DAMN SJWS WORRYING ABOUT NOTHING’— uhhhh stop. that does nothing productive.
there’s also a point where it all crosses the line from ‘thinking critically about media’ to ‘actively sabotaging a project whose creators have acknowledged the above issues and have always planned to portray an arbitrary and government-enforced gender binary as an oppressive system’
it’s OK to say yo, i’m excited about this but i have concerns— and it’s racist as all fuck when all these MOGAI whites write urbance off entirely because they can’t see themselves represented in the characters, regardless of their orientation or gender identity.
or when they say that the poc in leading roles ‘clearly fall into the gender binary’ when uh, at what point does someone ‘clearly fall into the gender binary’?
or when they’re more concerned with the representation of BLUE PEOPLE over the black and brown people, which is all i’m hearing when people harp on the mediators when the team has said that nonbinary and trans people exist in urbance and experience the same oppression and frustration as the cis characters, with the added marginalization that comes from living in a cissexist dystopia.
or when people can understand that the dystopian society of the hunger games is meant to portray capitalistic brutality as a terrible thing, but who can’t seem to process the idea that urbance is going for the same thing with the gender binary.
i could go on, but basically i need people to realize that urbance is a production that stars people of color, which means it’s already on thin ice. it’ll have an incredibly hard time finding networks or sponsors willing to take a chance on it, and it is nothing like any of the big network- and studio-produced shows (COUGHFROZENCOUGH) that people will defend to the death from any kind of criticism, warranted or not.
tl;dr when people crit urbance as a project they’re invested in, that they want to see improve and represent all kinds of genders and identities the best it can, that’s not harmful.
when people— e.g. MOGAI whites and even a shitton of poc (which, fuckin seriously guys?) shit all over urbance without any intention of supporting it and actively encourage people to boycott, all you’re doing is saying that you don’t give a shit about media representation for poc because you can get plenty of MOGAI representation elsewhere, starring actual white people so who needs urbance right??
go watch orphan black or someshit. just stop spreading misinformation about urbance and let the people who have a vested interest in seeing it come to fruition hold the crew accountable
It’s where people bury their loved ones and come to mourn them
it is not a cool picnic spot
not a place for tag
or cosplay photoshoots
don’t do it
insert-relevant-joke-here said: #Valt what’s your take on this?
As a preservationist and as a cemetery preservation specialist — which is what entitles me to comment on this with some degree of expert knowledge — there are several ways this can go.
Privately owned cemeteries that are still performing burials and selling plots often have their own rules posted. Places like Mount Auburn Cemetery and Swan Point Cemetery and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery have their own rules on photography and acceptable activities. And they’re entitled. Please, respect the rules.
But if we’re talking about historic cemeteries or cemeteries that can no longer afford to take care of themselves (ie, no more burial plots to sell), then, apart from playing tag which is just dangerous with all kinds of things sticking out of the ground, following the original poster’s recommendations is REALLY BAD.
And why is this? Well, unless the cemetery is serving the community as a positive, useful, fun, or informative place, it’s going to get abandoned, run-down, overgrown, or forgotten. It’s been shown MANY TIMES. They become havens for drug-abuse and violence. People stop going into them and that perpetuates the downward spiral of the cemetery. And then the family that DOES mourn for someone buried there is TOO AFRAID to go in, or OUTRAGED at the condition.
So what should you do? Be respectful. Go have a picnic and pick up after yourself. Go do photoshoots but don’t push/pull/sit/abuse the stones and don’t put your equipment on the stones either. Go use it for walks. Go admire the beautiful carvings. Cemeteries were always intended for use and Victorian cemeteries were meant for recreation. So USE IT. Keep it vibrant and active in your community.
Victorian cemeteries were used for recreation? Can someone please elaborate? Is that recreation like you would use a park? I of course can understand the appeal, but the idea that an entire eras cemeteries were intended for this is surprising to me.
I recommend a couple books regarding this topic:
Linden-Ward, Blanche. ”Strange but Genteel Pleasure Grounds: Tourist and Leisure Uses of Nineteenth-Century Rural Cemeteries.” Cemeteries and Gravemarkers: Voices of American Culture. Edited by Richard E. Meyer. Michigan: UMI Research Press, 1989.
Rutherford, Sarah. The Victorian Cemetery. Oxford: Shire Books, 2008.
Mickey, Thomas J. (2013). America’s Romance With the English Garden. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.
In case you can’t tell, I’m doing my thesis on alternative use of cemeteries…
^^^^^^^ Listen to Valt on this one, gentlefolk. Of course be respectful, but cemeteries - 19th century ones especially - have always been meant to be used by both the living and the dead. I can think of several cemeteries I’ve been in that include benches. That are not in any way a grave marker. Why would there be benches in especially scenic areas of the cemetery, often a distance from actual graves, if they weren’t meant for you to sit on? If you don’t have easy access to the books Valt mentioned, here are some webpages on the subject:
- Our First Public Parks: The Forgotten History of Cemeteries (The Atlantic, 2011)
- Rural Cemetery (Wikipedia page)
- Turning Cemeteries for the Dead into Parks for the Living (City Parks Blog)
- National Register Bulletin: Guidelines for Evaluating and Registering Cemeteries and Burial Places (National Park Service)
- City of Boston Cemetery Division webpage (Parks Department)
Also excellent sources! Thank you, Alex.
While I am not Valt - who has a professional pedigree I am BURNING WITH ENVY ABOUT NOW - I am the son and grandson of morticians, and grew up (so to speak) in the industry.
I can tell you that active vandalism is a crime and will hopefully get you put away. People break monuments in Seattle-area cemeteries all the time, and it’s an awful thing.
I can also tell you that all the public cemeteries (not churchyards - different, very very different things) in King County, WA, are owned by the same company - and they have no-trespassing policies meant to reduce crime and vandalism. If you obey the open/close times, don’t bother graveside services, don’t damage anything, and are respectful of people who are there to mourn - they (the owners) *do not care* if you take photos, or have picnics, or walk around looking at things. Some places around Seattle have been formatted (landscaped and re-landscaped) specifically because famous people (hello, Bruce and Brandon Lee) are buried there and FANS come to take photos. It’s *expected*. (They’re not interred there after some JACKASS tried digging up their remains - but the cenotaphs remain.)
Don’t break stuff. Don’t bother grieving people. Look - don’t touch. But please do look - some of the graveyards are near very beautiful, undeveloped, historic and seldom-experienced parts of town. Seattle is young - but some graveyards date to the founding of the city. That wasn’t literally yesterday.
The University of Oregon is fun and interesting for many reasons, one of them being that it has a pioneer cemetary right in the middle of campus! (Technically it is closed from dusk-to-dawn for reasons stated above, but.) It’s beautiful, a dry and/or shady (depending on the weather) way to get to and from class/the dorms/etc. and pretty awesome overall. Ghost tours, a quiet spot to stroll, a shortcut to my History of Jazz class, reflecting on the names of the people buried there, jokes about that being where we bury the ones that don’t survive [Insert Intro the the Major Here], yes. All that and more.
Respect people who are still living and grieving, please. But the dead don’t mind so much if you come hang out, it seems to me.