Hard Luck Woman: what about those eggs?

Chowing down on eggs

Chowing down on eggs

A question was asked on imdb.com’s “Kaubôi bibappu: Cowboy Bebop” (1998) message board asking about what the eggs might symbolise in the end of Hard Luck Woman. Ed’s father had a basket full of them, and even threw a couple at Spike and Jet. He later gave the basket full of eggs to them, laying it on Spike’s chest after he flattened him. The final scene has the two bounty hunters sitting alone together in the living area with large bowls of boiled eggs. They ate their own, then went and ate the other bowls full too, since Ed and Faye weren’t coming back.

This person asked what was the meaning of having Jet and Spike eating a TON of eggs at the end.

I am inclined to think there was no hidden meaning with the eggs. But what if there was? What if they intended for those eggs to mean something? For the sake of argument, we’ll assume that Sunrise intended to have those eggs mean something. But what?

Let’s first look at the symbolism of the egg. There is actually quite a bit out there on this subject.

http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodeggs.html says in part:

Egg symbolism
“Because eggs embody the essence of life, people from ancient times to the modern day have surrounded them with magical beliefs, endowing them with the power not only to create life but to prophesy the future. Eggs symbolize birth and are believed to ensure fertility. They aslo symbolize rebirth, and thus long life and even immortality. Eggs represent life in its various stages of development, encompassing the mystery and magic of creation. Creation myths commonly describe how the universe was hatched from an egg, often laid by some mythical water bird swimming in the primordial waters…Early mythmakers viewed both the sun and the egg as the source of all life; the round, yellow yolk even symbolized the sun. Clearly, eggs had great symbolic potential…In Europe of pagan and Christian times, eggs symbolized life and resurrection. […]

—Nectar and Ambrosia: An Encyclopedia of Food in World Mythology, Tamra Andrews [ABC-CLIO:Santa Barbara CA] 2000 (p. 86-7)

I also found http://www.experiencefestival.com/meaning_of_dreams_about_eggs

Eggs, Nest of Eggs, Eat Eggs, Eat an Egg, Rotten Eggs, Rotten Egg, Bird Eggs, Crate of Eggs
• To dream of finding a nest of eggs, denotes wealth of a substantial character, happiness among the married and many children. This dream signifies many and varied love affairs to women.
• To eat eggs, denotes that unusual disturbances threaten you in your home.
• To see broken eggs and they are fresh, fortune is ready to shower upon you her richest gifts. A lofty spirit and high regard for justice will make you beloved by the world.
• To dream of rotten eggs, denotes loss of property and degradation.
• To see a crate of eggs, denotes that you will engage in profitable speculations.
• To dream of being spattered with eggs, denotes that you will sport riches of doubtful origin.
• To see bird eggs, signifies legacies from distant relations, or gain from an unexpected rise in staple products.
Source: 10 000 Dream Interpretations, by Gustavus Hindman Miller

There is more on this subject along the same vein that can be read on the page. I include the reference to dream symbolism because, let’s face it, dreams (and whether one is dreaming) is a recurring theme in Cowboy Bebop, especially with respect to Spike. And I thought it was interesting.

What could the eggs possibly mean in Cowboy Bebop? Is it possible they symbolised Spike and Jet’s beginning life without Ed and Faye? Or is there more, possibly with implications for the end of Real Folk Blues?

Shinichiro Watanabe is an admirer of the Christian director John Woo, who always has Christian symbolism in his movies. We saw some of that in Ballad of Fallen Angels (repeated camera cuts to the cross), and birds flying as well as maybe other things. Is it possible that he took the Christian symbolism of the egg and is using it here?

I found http://www.cemeteries.org/aboutus0035.asp where it says:

Christ emerged from his tomb almost 2,000 years ago. From the first days Christians have expressed their joy in Christ’s new life by every type of symbol or ritual. They took to the ancient and natural symbol of the egg, by adding their own new and supernatural meaning.
So Christians “baptized” the egg as a symbol of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. Christians saw the egg’s shell as a symbol of the protective darkness of the life-giving tomb; a hatching chick represented the risen Christ emerging from the tomb on Easter morning. The egg’s shape, with neither beginning nor end, was a symbol of eternity. It clearly is also the “womb” of the tomb, where the Crucified was given new life.
So, new life emerges from an egg — Christ emerges alive from the tomb, formerly just a place of death. Life begets a new generation of life coming out of an egg. Christ generates new life for all creation…putting death to death!

If the eggs meant anything at all in the story, their usual meaning of new life and new beginnings would fit in well with other things I’ve written about relating to transformation and metamorphosis with Heaven’s Door, dreams and butterflies and Ace of Spades: what does it mean?

This is just what I got out of it. If someone were to ask me what I thought the eggs meant, this would be my answer.

9 comments to Hard Luck Woman: what about those eggs?

  • wanderlike

    Hmmm. I didn’t see any deep symbolism to the eggs – only a superficial one. To me, it was just their way of devouring their feelings. As far as I’m concerned, it was as clear a sign as any during the series that they were missing their two crewmates. Then again, it’s also possible it wasn’t even that. There’s the outside chance that there was a ready source of food and those two were pigs.

    I found the Ace of Spades symbolism much more likely, personally.

    • Yeah I’m with you.

      Someone asked a question that I may have misunderstood. Like I said, “I am inclined to think there was no hidden meaning with the eggs. But what if there was?” Got me thinking about what eggs symbolize, so I went off on a tear.

      Yeah, they missed Ed, Ein and Faye, were depressed about it, saw their bowls of eggs and said ‘hell with it’ so ate theirs too. And I agree with you too, there was a ready source of food and they were pigs.

      Like Freud is said to say, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

      • wanderlike

        I think Bebop has attracted a good deal of people looking for symbolism. And I do believe that some of it is there. But I also think that because of the ending, people are looking for any signs that the answer was hidden there.

        What they don’t realize, of course, is that the answer is spelled out in Episode 13, at the 12 minute, 34 second mark. I mean, didn’t everyone already know that? 🙂

        • LOL!!!

          I know what you mean. It’s easy to let one’s imagination run away with them and find things that aren’t there – I’ve probably done that myself in some of these postings. Other than what I see on the screen, it’s all conjecture

          Frankly, I’m convinced that the ending is ambiguous, that there IS no right answer (just like the movie). Watanabe-san seems to dispute assertions that he’s dead. I’m guessing he would dispute assertions that he’s alive. He told the Daily Texan he didn’t know if he’s alive or dead. Well, I am one that doesn’t do ambiguity very well, so I settled on a conclusion that suited me.

          I think part of the reason I write some of this stuff is to dispute what some say are obvious ‘foreshadowing,’ because they’re not obvious at all (to me).

          Part of it too is I love symbolism, and I am a research junkie. I’m happiest when I’m writing or looking stuff up. 😀 That bit with the eggs, I didn’t think there was any hidden meaning behind it, but in case there was, this is what eggs would mean.

          One of the things I love about Cowboy Bebop is that geeking out on it is just way too much fun! 😀 Isn’t it?

          • wanderlike

            Oh, absolutely. Bebop is such a deep series that I’m willing to at least hear anyone’s theories out, no matter how zany they might be. Because there’s a good deal of subtext to almost every aspect of the series – some probably so subtle we’ll never find it all. At a minimum, I usually end up nodding along and saying, “I don’t agree, but I could see why you’d think that.”

            This isn’t the case for all anime, unfortunately. And I’ve rolled my eyes one too many times when people have tried this sort of thing with something like Bleach. My personal favorite was scoffing at the argument that Hollows represented capitalism.

            Bebop is practically designed for geeking out over tiny details – it’s the anime equivalent of video game replayability.

          • Oh yeah, subtext galore! I have to believe that some if not most of it was intentional.

            I’ve seen some examples of tortured logic trying to twist completely unrelated scenes and bits of dialog into proof to support their position. Yeah, I like to understand why people think the way they do about Cowboy Bebop, even when they disagree with me. Sometimes I understand it. Sometimes I just scratch my head.

            I try not to do that – don’t want what little imagination I have to run away with me, but once in a while I do like to play. 😀

            Last few days I’ve been geeking out over the movie, which I watched in the original Japanese last night. I think I found another reason to think that this is a dream that took place after RFB. Something I hadn’t noticed before – either because it wasn’t in the dub (which is how I normally watch it) or it just got past me all the previous times I watched it.

            Watanabe-san is obviously playing mind games with us (he all but came out and said so in that panel discussion I just posted) and he said in an interview from almost a year ago that he enjoys ambiguity. I have to say I don’t, strictly speaking, so I come to a conclusion that makes me happiest. 🙂

            All this to say I think you’re completely right – Bebop IS (practically) designed for geeing out over tiny details. It’s a blast, isn’t it?

          • zent

            Bebop is practically designed for geeking out over tiny details – it’s the anime equivalent of video game replayability.

            I like that comparison. Reminds me of this time when I was just watching my nephew playing Mario 64. I’d completed the game and thought I’d seen everything. But he was just tooling about, enjoying himself in the wide world of the game, and all of a sudden even though it looked like he was just messing about, he got this 1-up out of nowhere. And I thought… damn, did the designer of the game really put that in there? Did he/she really think anyone would be that crazy and actually find it? lol. Did I bother to really play this game or was I the one who just messing about? lol

            And the amazing thing about Bebop is that a discovery can completely change everything. Like when I first heard this notion of Spike surviving, I just thought, woah, I need to watch this badboy all over again. lol

          • Yeah, that’s Bebop for ya! 😀

            I saw a few things before I watched the series. Then I started googling it for real and people were saying stuff about it that I had no idea where it came from. I found out much later that they were watching the dubbed version that changed a few lines that I think completely changed things.

            I’m not a blogger, I don’t think I have anything interesting to say, but I know what I got out of Bebop, and it’s NOT what other people are writing. I thought I would try putting my point of view out there and see if 1, anyone else saw it too, and 2, if anyone has something completely different from what I’m saying and what a great many other people are saying.

            I love the brilliance I’m seeing in the comments. In fact, I think I’m enjoying the comments more than anything. 🙂 You guys all RAWK.

          • wanderlike

            Brilliance? Wow. Well, we do try. Haha.