A Cultural Misunderstanding
Playing a sad song when you are sad or a happy song when you are happy seems to be second nature to people today. The graphic novel X-Men God Loves Man Kills, by Claremont and Anderson, uses evolution in the novel to show how the world reacts to people that are different than the rest. The world does not take well to the X-Men because they are homo-superior. While reading this graphic novel I thought of the song “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson. The song “Breakaway” played a big part in my childhood because the song was very catchy and fun to listen too. Kelly Clarkson’s song is about love but it applies to the X-Men because the feelings behind her words apply to their situation as well. X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills shows the reverse of how evolution actually occurs, with biological evolution happening within a generation but the cultural evolution being slowed.
Many different literary Darwinism themes are present in X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills I chose to focus on cultural evolution and how it affects the X-Men. The countless examples of cultural evolution in the novel are easily relatable to the lyrics of the song. The sadness and heartbreaking words of “Breakaway” make it an anthem to anyone who has ever had hurt feelings before. “Breakaway” applies to the X-Men directly because of how they feel with the rest of the world being terrified of them. Scott states, “But don’t you see – either of you – we’re human, too! A different branch, perhaps, but the same basic tree! Such a fundamental shift in attitude can’t be imposed – to have any meaning, it must grow from within.” (Claremont and Anderson 60) They are people with feelings too and the lesser humans are terrified that they have special abilities. The cultural evolution in this novel is not very evolved because of the way that the humans react to the X-Men. They were born that way and do not understand why people treat them this way even if they are nice and try and help the humans.
Kelly Clarkson has been known to sing heart-wrenching ballads, and “Breakaway” is one of her most well known songs. The lyrics say, “But when I tried to speak up, felt like no one could hear me.” This lyric applies to the X-Men because they are trying to get the humans to listen to them and understand them but no one will listen. The Reverend in the novel is so determined to kill them all because he assumes they are all monsters. If the Reverend would have heard out the X-Men then many lives could have been saved. Nightcrawler states, “I have known such fear and hatred from birth.” (11) This is so sad to hear him say this. Colossus adds, “To think us evil, simply because we exist? It is madness.” (11) They have been hated and feared ever since they were born, which is truly heart breaking. The lyrics go, “Wanted to belong here, But something felt so wrong here, So I prayed I could break away.” These lyrics show how the X-Men are experiencing these same emotions. They both just want to belong somewhere and fit in. Magneto says, “My goal has ever been the conquest of earth – but solely to create a world where our race, Homo Superior, can live in peace.” (47) Magneto wants to live somewhere peacefully but he does not think that the world will understand them because they are so different and they know they cannot belong. The X-Men just want a world where people are not trying to kill them everyday. If they were not being targeted then maybe both worlds could live peacefully.
The cultural evolution of the humans in this novel is severely lacking. The humans come across as ignorant because they are not able to understand how biological evolution occurred making these mutants. The truth is in real life something like this cannot occur within one generation. Cultural evolution can occur within one generation but biological evolution may take thousands of generations to evolve into something new. “Breakaway” is rooted with themes of love and heartbreak but the X-Men just want to be loved and accepted. If the humans were culturally evolved then they would not have any problem with the X-Men’s powers. The X-Men only fit in within their species because the rest of the world is so scared of them. The novel ends with Magneto asking the other X-Men to come help fight for peace but them saying no is like how “Breakaway” ends with, “Out of the darkness and into the sun, but I won’t forget all the ones that I love, Gotta keep moving on, moving on, Though it’s not easy to tell you goodbye, But I won’t forget the place I come from, I gotta take a risk, Take a chance, Make a change, And breakaway.” The song ends in a powerful way just like the novel does. In the song she is letting go and going to go do her own thing and move on. Magneto is moving on to try and create a world where they can live in peace but leaving all those that he loved and that were like him behind. The endings of the two are so powerful and mean so much together.
11 July 2014
Claremont, Chris, and Brent Anderson. X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills. New York, 2011. Print.
Clarkson, Kelly. Breakaway. RCA, 2004. MP3.
Gerrard, Matthew. “”Breakaway” Lyrics.” KELLY CLARKSON LYRICS. MusixMatch, n.d. Web. 09 July 2014. <http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/kellyclarkson/breakaway.html>.
Clarkson, Kelly. “Kelly Clarkson – Breakaway.” YouTube. YouTube, 2 Oct. 2009. Web. 09 July 2014. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-3vPxKdj6o>.