View Full Version : Analysis Of 'No Reflection'

Elizabeth Casto
09-13-2014, 12:57 PM
This is my first real analysis that I placed onto paper.
I originally wrote this for school and I had to include a synopsis of the video but I left that out here. Thoughts and comments are always appreciated.
I also tried to incorporate the lyrics along with the video to try and make sense of the whole package.

Art is in some fashion symbolic and it is up to the viewer or participant to discern what is happening. This song and video are no different and it is ripe with symbolism. Once the viewer understands the basic symbols everything falls into place. The cabin is the mind. The door that is nailed shut is where the bathroom is and stands for the subconscious. The girls are ideas and thoughts. The liquid is new information that is seeping into the mind. Even when the girls vomit it is symbolic of purging the new information because it destroys their very core and makes them sick. They have an automatic revulsion.

As it starts to rain in the video, one can think of a person being exposed to new ideas. Information itself is fluid and changeable at times. They toast and ingest these ideas. This destroys an old mode of thinking which is why the girls go insane. As Manson reads from a Bible, which is symbolic of an old mode of thinking or a hardwired set of beliefs, that is the brain clinging to the old ideas. However the liquid they drink will not allow the old mode of thought to continue. The girls lose it. The old ideas are entertained one last time as the mind processes the new information and eventually it destroys them. When the favorite girl ingests the liquid, Manson is shown to have a shocked face. This reaction could also be interpreted as acceptance of new ideas that the liquid brought forth. Showing the cabin and then showing Manson as a whole outside of the cabin denotes the difference between the mind and how it effects the physical, even if the viewer only sees it for a second. This is why he goes into the subconscious of his mind and drowns the favorite. He has accepted the new idea and abolishes old thoughts.

It is easy to get stuck on the shock value of drowning a girl in a toilet as misogynist. Or even the reading of a bible before going insane as being somehow blasphemous. But it is not. It is merely showing a use of mythology in culture. Mythology being symbols. Roland Barthes was famous for his book on mythologies and brought light to many that something as simple as milk is a symbol for purity versus alcohol which is the exact opposite. It is hard to discern what exactly the liquid is seeping into the walls, that also seems to be placed in the cups and ingested. It looks dirty and makes everyone vomit. Perhaps it is a poison. This idea would coincide well with the lyrics of the song, “you don’t even want to know what I’m gonna do to you” as it feels incredibly sinister and there is no way to know how a person would react to poison in particular. Some poisonous elixirs are ingested for fun, such as absinthe with the wormwood in it. But the amount ingested decides how deadly it is.

The climax of the video is the moment the kitchen catches on fire. This is akin to the “aha moment” of a symbolic light bulb. Also similar to seeing the light in “The Allegory of The Cave” by Plato. Knowledge illuminates the darkness. Fire is also generally seen as symbolic of change. Therefore this is the moment of illuminating change and after ingesting the poison, nothing can go back to being the same ever again.

When watching the video, the camera shows two versions of Manson. The inside mind Manson, who is with the girls, and the outside Manson, the one who is singing with the band. The outside Manson is the whole of responding to these new thoughts and ideas. The mind Manson is the ego and thought processor of the ideas. It is interesting to note how the character on the outside responds to all the turmoil going on inside of him. This video very clearly demonstrates the conflict of Man vs. Self. When analyzing the video, a common theme is that of religion as the old hindrance to new thoughts as mind Manson seems to read the bible and grasp for it during the chaotic at times. It is too easy to fall into the trap that Manson is solely focusing on bashing religion. It can be looked at in more than one way and it can also be seen as destroying the ego. There is an expression that one must kill the ego in order to obtain enlightenment. This would also resonate with the lyrics

“Show myself how to make a noose
A gun's cliche, and a razor too
I'm not a deathshare vacation, vacant station
Made of scars and filled with my old wounds”

The killing of the ego is akin to suicide to some, especially if the individual is arrogant or narcissistic. A person referring to this about ego death would have to be strong and overcome past pain in order to kill the ego and survive. This is also why the girls vomit after ingestion. The information is poison to their system or ego, even ideas do not want to be destroyed.

There is more than one way to look at this video and song. At first glance it is full of shocking usage of common symbols but when placed under observation this song and video are a work of art using the same symbols to promote a sense of self-discovery. This is the beginning of a mind having to recreate its world with new knowledge and letting go of old ideas that no longer serve them. Change is never easy and it takes a strong stomach to handle it well. No Reflection is a look at a mind that is struggling to cope with change.

blue angel
09-13-2014, 02:48 PM
I like your analysis and can see your point of view. It is different than all of the rest that I have read around and it make sense in the way that you have viewed it. Intriguing.
It is also a pretty straight forward way of viewing the video that your average Manson fan might skip, in light of finding the symbolism more in regards to Manson himself and his usual symbolism, but an average person might see it as you have related it.
Old ideas purge the new. Good job.

Elizabeth Casto
09-13-2014, 03:55 PM
I also see it as death of the ego. Maybe I am having trouble conveying the idea clearly...but if it has been said that Manson is treating this album like a first album, a fresh start per se, then old symbolism wouldn't matter as much. It's more like new ideas purge the old. Toilet baptism. I love that image. Thanks for the feed back Blue Angel!

Nemoris Inferioris
09-13-2014, 04:19 PM
"Man vs. Self", in the album version, he asks siri something like "How can I fight myself". Vert good analysis

09-13-2014, 06:07 PM
I'd like to see how you'd interpret the other songs on this born villain album, although Man vs Self is pretty much what the entire album is about.

Jessica Fitzgerald
09-13-2014, 06:54 PM
I really like this. Too the point and different from the idea of exorcism.

Over neath Man
09-14-2014, 04:35 PM
I always thought the wife figure in the vid. Represented the superego or the killing of the superego. Great analysis, btw!

Elizabeth Casto
09-15-2014, 11:48 AM