Lara's Identity

please note: this is a project of the year 2000, kept here as archive for!
It is not updated anymore!

Lara standing

Modernism assumes a stable identity underneath all the roles we are forced to play in everyday life. It is our duty to uncover that identity and subsequently be true to it.

Postmodernism assumes no such stability: the self is not substantial, essential or timeless, rather we experience it as fragmented, superficial and as something we create and experiment with. The idea of a fluid, transitory and everchanging identity can be liberating and frightening at the same time. This conflict is often reflected in a search for stability and structure in a world full of multiple meanings, fragmented experiences and a wide range of possible identities.

Signs of this conflict can be found in the representations of Lara. She is very postmodern on the one hand: in her artificiality, her multimediality, in the way her identity is literally 'shopped' together, including all the things that have a high value in our society. On the other hand she shows strong signs of modernism: the identity that is constructed is very stable and unified; her behaviour is predictable, her character holds no surprises and her identity remains the same over time. She has found her true self and lives accordingly.

The possibilities offered by the fact that everybody has access to Lara and can create her according to their own desires go largely unused. There is no 'true' Lara somewhere telling us how we should interpret her, instead each player or fan is free to redefine her and shift her identity. The meanings associated with Lara could therefore become multiple, contradictory and they could have the force to challenge existing boundaries. Bu if any of these things are taking place, they are not finding their way into the public. Any creations of fans concerning Lara (stories, figurines, images) only further emphasise the story told by Eidos and copy their contexts of representation.



© Birgit Pretzsch, August 2000 in case of questions or comments please mail me

All this information is basically a summary of my Masters thesis "A Postmodern Analysis of Lara Croft: Body, Identity, Reality"