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Thread: What did Squall mean about dead people being refered to in past tense?

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    Friendship *is* magic. MJN SEIFER's Avatar
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    Question What did Squall mean about dead people being refered to in past tense?

    At Galbadia Garden, Squall's team are told that (SPOILER)Seifer has been executed. They all talk about him, already in past tense because he's dead, and we tend to refer people who have died in past tense. Squall thinks about how people would do this with him, if he died, and says he doesn't want people to talk about him in past tense.

    Now, for sometime, I took this to mean that he felt that people shouldn't be referred to in past tense, when they died, like saying he was a kind person as opposed to he is a kind person - I took it to mean that it was bad to say was here, like being dead stopped the person being kind, or stopped them being whatever sexuality they were or something. Basically, I found it a bad thing to talk about dead people in past tense, so I stopped, and referred to them in present tense.

    However, I was involved in a disagreement with someone, quite a while ago, about this, and this person told me that it was wrong for me (or, if I remember correctly; "stupid of me") to refer to dead people in present tense, as no one does this, and I was quick to mention FFVIII, but the end result is was that it is standard or normal behavior to refer to them in past tense.

    So what did Squall mean by not wanting to be referred to in past tense? Was it what I thought, or was it the fact that when someone's dead you can say what you want about them, at least in Squall's fears, because he thought something about "people saying whatever they want"? Please answer, because I'd like to know if I've been basing my values on the wrong thing, and whether I'm wrong to refer to dead people in present tense.
    The one true comparison to love and hate is; when you allow either to overcome you, it can make it so that you canít think of anything other than that one person...

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    Pinkasaurus Rex Cid's Knight Pumpkin's Avatar
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    Pumpkin Contrary (Sargatanas)

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    I don't know how to coherently explain what I think, but I'll try. I think it had more to do with not wanting to BE a past tense, meaning dead, gone, life is over, people are just remembering you and saying things and you're no longer there and you will never be there again, all you are now is just past tense conversation for people as opposed to a living person there with them.

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    Radical Dreamer Cid's Knight Fynn's Avatar
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    A'nutoh Tia (Sargatanas)

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    Yeah, pretty much. Being just a memory instead of a full participant of events scared him.

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    Friendship *is* magic. MJN SEIFER's Avatar
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    Thanks, that makes a lot of sense. I appreciate you answering me.
    The one true comparison to love and hate is; when you allow either to overcome you, it can make it so that you canít think of anything other than that one person...

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    I agree with the above, I also think that Squall was also highlighting the hypocrisy in how his team felt upon learning of Seifers execution. He seemed taken aback that everyone seemed to be changing their opinions of him (Seifer), especially Zell and Quistis who spoke about not getting along with him but said 'he wasn't a bad guy'.

    Squall: "(I liked him... wasn't really a bad guy... He was one of us... Seifer... You've become just a memory. Will they... Will they talk about me this way if I die, too? Squall was this and that. Using past tense, saying whatever they want? So this is what death is all about... ...Not for me. I won't have it!!!)"

    I think Squall felt exasperated that the guy who was once his rival was now being the object of everyones pity, in which he refuses to accept it if the same were to happen to him. That's just how I interpreted it.

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    tech spirit
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    Mirage Askai (Sargatanas)

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    Pretty much. Squall was afraid of dying.
    everything is wrapped in gray
    i'm focusing on your image
    can you hear me in the void?

  7. #7
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    Funnily enough this is one of my favourite scenes in the game. It's actually quite comedic. My interpretation was pretty much exactly how Rin Heartilly describes:

    Quote Originally Posted by Rin Heartilly View Post
    I agree with the above, I also think that Squall was also highlighting the hypocrisy in how his team felt upon learning of Seifers execution. He seemed taken aback that everyone seemed to be changing their opinions of him (Seifer), especially Zell and Quistis who spoke about not getting along with him but said 'he wasn't a bad guy'.

    Squall: "(I liked him... wasn't really a bad guy... He was one of us... Seifer... You've become just a memory. Will they... Will they talk about me this way if I die, too? Squall was this and that. Using past tense, saying whatever they want? So this is what death is all about... ...Not for me. I won't have it!!!)"

    I think Squall felt exasperated that the guy who was once his rival was now being the object of everyones pity, in which he refuses to accept it if the same were to happen to him. That's just how I interpreted it.
    What makes it funny, I think, is how Squall says nothing for so long and just goes on this extended inner monologue, and then suddenly explodes out loud with his declaration that he will "not be talked about in the past tense!". From the perspective of everyone else it just comes out of nowhere. I've wondered a bit over whether this scene was intended to be funny or not.. I suppose someone who can understand Japanese and look at the original script can clarify this? But I'm pretty sure it is

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