Lost Manuscript 'Puss in Boots'
1/26/2023 As I was scavenging the deepest shelves of Lau, as one does, I came across a peculiar handwritten journal. The manuscript seemed ancient and moldy—like the air vents of my crypt-like dorm room. Below, I’ve recorded excerpts of my initial thoughts on them. Page 1 is blank except for a single quote: “ And when the lamb had opened the seventh seal, there was a silence in heaven for half an hour. And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.” Holy shit, that’s pretentious. Page 2: “ Sacred numerology has long since been a part of the cultural mysticism surrounding the Shrek Cinematic Expanded Universe (SCEU), paralleling the emergence of the subfield of Taylor Swift numerology. “ Four mainline Shrek films. Two Shrek spin-offs in the form of the illustrious galvanizing Puss in Boots. One seminal Christmas special: Shrek the Halls. Together, these seven films have been met with critical acclaim but with little an analytic eye. Thus, their purpose has been shrouded and lost—like the Rosetta Stone of animated movies. “Yet, it will be made clear today with Puss in Boots: The Last Wish . This seventh movie in the SCEU is a postmodern, avant-garde deconstruction of the cult existential classic the Seven Seal…” Despite its age, something about these numbers compels me. I take a break for the day, and the next day I skip past the eighteen pages of historical context to the last three pages, where an actual argument is made. 1/27/23 Page 19: “Interestingly, the retelling of this story is told not through the number 7, representing wholeness and perfection. Instead, it is told through the final single digit number: 9, a signifier of engaging with life in a meaningful and conscious manner. “Puss, our favorite fearless hero, is on his last (9th) life and is chased by the embodiment of death—much like the knight in the Seventh Seal. Rather than playing an elaborate chess game, Puss plays a game of cat and mouse where he is hunted. This danse macabre is set within the backdrop of another hunt for a magical wishing star. Cartesian dualism struggles with doomer-pilled nihilism; blissful hope emerges. “Death itself is inescapable, all-knowing, and ever-present. Puss can only momentarily escape death by escaping his own identity, his sense of self. This parallels capitalism and its effects on the dehumanization of humankind. “Kafka’s Metamorphosis is peculiar to note here—like Gregor Samsa, it is through his rejection of human-like qualities that Puss loses his humanity temporarily. Yet, the writers of this Sisyphean struggle quickly reorient towards numerology.” The author’s writing style continues to get more frantic, and I feel the pressure in his prose. The sweat exhumes off the page. Page 20-21: Layered across one page is a drawing of a diagram of Hell with scratches etched onto the surface … The nine characters each represent the different circles of Hell. Perrito: aimlessness limbo. Death: lust ;) Does Father Bear: anger (Freudian)??? Big Jack Horner: gluttony (John Mulaney)?? Goldilocks: treachery Mother Bear: heresy? Puss: greed What made the author stop? Who made the author stop? I turn the page, skipping to the final page. I cut my finger. My mind goes blank … There is nothing, except “Puss in Boots Antonio Bandera Calling Out From The Heavens…” The author gained forbidden knowledge and implores you to see Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. Andres Alfonso is a junior in the SFS and is currently studying Culture & Politics.