another test

February 11, 2009. 8:34pm. Cold.

I was alone that night. My palms were sweaty. The computers in the background were humming. The results from the most recent test were due any minute, and my thoughts rested solely on the answers that I knew were coming. Diagnostically alarming--if the results were to come out into the real world, I can only imagine the repercussions.

Area 51 is real. Oh yeah. I've worked here for over a decade now. The spacecraft that landed on that fateful day carried thirteen injured aliens. We had nine left when I began Test5. We had to understand their internal workings. It was all very confusing to begin with, and the archaic technology we worked with back in the old days may as well have been hacksaws and leeches. Test3 had been moderately successful, replacing one of the alien's heart with a human one. Wanted to know if the biologies of our two species could work together. Turns out the alien body goes out of its way to incorporate new organs. Test4 put two human hearts in an alien. Neither 3 nor 4 survived, of course. But the results were astonishing. Test3 stayed alive for a further week. Test4 for several months.

It was when they started internally modifying the hearts that we got interested. Internally, these aliens had the ability to assimilate foreign objects into their physiology. When those two died, the hearts we tested afterward were neither alien nor human. A hybrid heart. Robert Jarvik would be proud.

There was a buzz on my console. I looked around at my office--a single room with a giant mirror on one side and a locked door on the other. Someone wanted in. I nodded, just once, at the mirror. I looked like crap. My skin was pale, my eyes soft and doughy. Mother wouldn't recognize me now.

Two men with rifles entered, followed by Dr. Morris. Nice guy. Eats too many doughnuts. Had an affair with his secretary that didn't end when his wife committed suicide.

"How are you?" he asked. I didn't respond, just looked right at him. He walked up to me and put his hand on my shoulder, a fatherly gesture that felt false when he did it. I had kids once. "We're going to end this test."

I wasn't surprised. The results were in. It was a success. Complete integration

"You knew the danger when you signed up." He was consoling me. The men with guns, I saw, were pointing the business ends at me. He took his hand off my shoulder, walked swiftly out the door.

They fired two quick rounds into my head.


February 14, 2009. 2:00am. Still cold

When my body finally finished processing the lead that had been forcefully placed in my skull, I woke up. Couldn't breathe, so my body told me to just stop. I did. Always listen to your body. It knows best. I think they have me in storage. Test6 is likely about to start. They probably think I'm dead.

Happy Valentine's day, Marie. I'll be home soon. 

you said "re test5: total crap" to kthejoker (sent to 1 noder)

(r) kthejoker says Go ahead. Try and supersede that genius.

Special thanks to gitm, who inspired me to take kthejoker up on his offer and for giving me the idea to go with an Area 51 type story

Robert Barke
English IIa
Ms. Caldwell

The Jungian Hero Cycle in Kyle Hale's "Test-Five"

In the early 20th century, German historian Carl Jung (a student of Freud) invented the Hero Cycle, also known as the "Journey to Individuation" (Jung, xi). In this Cycle, the Hero goes on a quest, called the "Hero's Quest," in order to become an individual through Individuation. This involves the "Hero" going into the world of his Unconscious, where he meets crucial people like The Wise Old Man, the Trickster, and the Shadow. Only if he gets the Elixir can he go back to the Conscious and become a real individual. Kyle Hale's "Test-Five" is a brilliant example of the Jungian Journey, because it involves a Hero who goes into the Unconscious, meets a Trickster and an Old Man and a Shadow, and then finds the Elixir and goes back to the Conscious to become a true individual through the process of Jungian Individuation.

The first reason why "Test-Five" is a true version of the Jung Cycle is the juxtaposition of the Hero with a Test. In order to be a true Jungian Hero, the Hero has to go through a test or even several tests, which test if he is a true Hero. Only then can he become individuated as a true individual.  In "Test-Five" one can see that the Hero has to undergo "another test" (Hale, 1), thus symbolizing that he is a true hero who undergoes many tests. Also, the title of the work is "Test-Five," juxtaposing that the hero undergoes at least five tests, and therefore is a true Jungian Hero.

However, another way that the hero of "Test-Five" is a true Jungian Hero is that he meets the characters of a Jungian Hero like Tricksters and Old Men. For example, the Old Man symbolizes the old teacher who likes to give lots of tests to the student, who symbolizes the hero.  Not only that, but the "Trickster" likes to play tricks on people, like giving them really tricky tests to see if they are a Jungian Hero or not. Finally, there is the Shadow. The Shadow is the opposite of the Hero in every way and lives in his unconscious with the Animus and the Anima. The Shadow tries to hurt the Hero by making him unsure if he can pass the tests given by the Trickster and the Old Man. This symbolizes that there is Evil in the World and only a Jungian Hero who is a true Hero and an individual can overcome it.

Nevertheless, the biggest symbol that "Test-Five" is a Jungian Hero Cycle is the juxtaposition of the Hero's test with symbolic "white space."  To symbolize the moving from conscious to unconscious, Hale ingeniously uses "white space" to symbolize  the difference. To do this,  he surrounds his text with lots of white space, and that shows how the unconscious is like a tunnel of white light like when people die, which is like being unconscious for a long time. This is when the Jungian Hero finds the Elixir which brings him back to the world of the Conscious as a true individual.

In conclusion, Kyle Hale presents the perfect Jungian Hero on the Journey to Individuation in "Test-Five" by showing the symbolic juxtaposition of the tests the Hero has to take (at least five) with the Characters like the Trickster and special quests like getting the Elixir.  This shows Hale's true genius because he is able to brilliantly adapt his unique story to the Jungian archetypes of the Universal Unconsciousness.  Also, some people say that Hale was just copying Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, but this is not true because Catch-22 was about wars and this story is about taking tests and battling Tricksters.  So therefore, Hale's "Test-Five" is a true tale of Jungian Individuation by a test-taking Jungian Hero.


Hale, Kyle. "Test-Five." The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York. WW Norton & Co. 2003.

Jung, Carl. The Carl Jung Reader. Viking Press. New York. 1996.

A Node Your Homework production! 

I don't know why people keep downvoting this. My teacher gave it an "A+" and said it was one of the best essays she has ever read. I know it was bad at the beginning, but rootbeer277 helped me make it look better and adding links. If you really want to downvote it, please send me a message and tell me what your reason is first and I will explain why you shouldn't downvote a good essay like this one. Thanks.

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