User:Tepples/The Downward Spiral

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The 1994 concept album The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails forms a coherent plot line even without having to kill off the viewpoint character.

01. Mr. Self Destruct
Trent is serving in the military and witnesses a POW or civilian being beaten. This sets him up for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as illustrated in the opening credits montage.
02. Piggy
Trent returns from deployment to discover that his girlfriend, nicknamed "Piggy", is carrying the baby of another man.
03. Heresy
Trent learns that Piggy met this new man at church and vows to take out his frustrations on the hypocrisy he sees in organized religion. First appearance of the chromatic descent from the fifth.
04. March of the Pigs
Trent raises his concerns at the church's next gathering but ends up arrested for disorderly conduct.
05. Closer
Trent seeks psychiatric help and comes out with a prescription for, among other things, sex therapy.
06. Ruiner
Trent confronts a corrupt pastor, whom he calls "the ruiner" of his relationship, causing the congregation to question their allegiance. One might draw an analogy to Jesus's indictment of the leaders of Pharisaic Judaism.
07. The Becoming
Trent discovers that his psychiatric medication is causing emotional blunting[1] and tinnitus. (Not sure if "Annie" is Piggy's real name or that of his therapist.)
08. I Do Not Want This
Trent's inner monologue between his remaining emotions and the cold unfeeling side that his Rx brings out in him. This is his "Nooooooo!" moment, complete with "do not want".
09. Big Man with a Gun
Trent tries to regain his emotions by role-playing a violent sexual assault scene with the therapist.
10. A Warm Place
When this proves ineffective, Trent feels lonely, as if he were about to lose the only thing that makes him feel human.
11. Eraser
Trent confesses to Piggy that he feels he may be better off dead for what he had done to her in the past.
12. Reptile
Rejected by Piggy, Trent finds a new girlfriend. She's a lizard woman who gardens, keeps bees, and is willing to overlook his faults.
13. The Downward Spiral
Despite this newfound love, Trent feels that there is one solution to the problems caused by PTSD and the medication: shooting himself out the cheek like in Fight Club.
14. Hurt
Trent comes to in the hospital and reminisces about his poor life choices, vowing to treat the new lizard girlfriend better when they start a new life together on the other side of the country.


  1. Nancy Schimelpfening. "Can Antidepressants Make You Feel Emotionally Numb?". Verywell Mind, 2019-05-19. Accessed 2019-07-15.

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