449: Things Fall Apart

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Things Fall Apart
'I'm nothing without you' is a fucked-up sentiment.
Title text: 'I'm nothing without you' is a fucked-up sentiment.


Megan and Cueball are about to break up. Megan is trying to explain things, but Cueball is constantly saying "I love you," asserting that the fact that he loves her should be enough to keep her from breaking up with him. But while loving the other person is a necessary condition for sustainability, it is not a sufficient reason all on its own.

The title text says that 'I'm nothing without you' is a fucked-up sentiment. This could read to imply that that's what Cueball really means, and he isn't saying it that way because 'I love you' is a more acceptable way of expressing it. Saying it over and over again, like he is doing, has almost the same effect, though. Conventionally, it could be said that the mindset of someone believing that they are nothing without their partner—in other words, defining their identity in terms of the other person—is a dangerous and unhealthy sentiment. A person should have enough self-identity and sense of self-worth to know that they have value even outside the context of a relationship.

The title of the comic, "Things Fall Apart," could be a reference to the poem The Second Coming by W.B. Yeats, which contains the line "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold," implying that things between Megan and Cueball are falling apart, and the fact that Cueball is still in love with Megan (arguably, the "center" of the relationship) isn't enough to sustain them. It could also be a reference to the novel Things Fall Apart by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe.


[Megan and Cueball are holding hands. The speech is in bubbles with arrows pointing towards the two. Not as usual with text just written above a line from the speaker.]
Megan: I wonder about us.
Cueball: I love you.
[Megan lets go of Cueball's hand. But he keeps his hand in the same position as before. Cueball's speech bubble covers the bottom of Megan's, indicating that he speaks partly over her sentence.]
Megan: We don't have fun together.
Cueball: I love you.
[As Megan keeps her hands down, Cueball lifts his arm even more towards her. His speech bubble is covering the top part of his head, as well as the bottom of Megan's bubble.]
Megan: It's like we're clinging to the "relationship" framework like it's all we got.
Cueball: I love you.
[Megan leans back from Cueball as he leans towards her, one arm outstretched toward her. Cueball's speech bubble covers the lower right section of Megan's bubble, breaking her sentence off in the middle of her last word, clearly showing that he speaks in over her speech.]
Megan: Who are you trying to reassur—
Cueball: I love you I love you I love you I love you

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Aaaand this is up, This is one of my favorite comics of xkcd. StuckInReality (talk) 07:30, 8 June 2013 (UTC)

Please start only pages with a proper explanation.--Dgbrt (talk) 14:43, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
I do understand, Sir. StuckInReality (talk) 00:25, 9 June 2013 (UTC)

I think that there is a bit of "the Cueball doth protest too much" in here. He's fighting Megan's explanations without giving his own. -- Theo (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

The explaination of the title text seems off. It reads more like the author saying that an obsessive mindset (going so far as to think that you are nothing without the other person) is "fucked up" in the sense of dangerous or undesirable, implying that people shouldn't measure self worth by a relationship to another. In fact, I'm gonna change the comment.Pennpenn (talk) 01:51, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

The title text could be a continuation of the Kübler-Ross model for grief. The constant repeating of Cueball that he loves Megan would be the denial phase, while the transition to heavy cursing in the title text could be a sign of moving on to anger. Donny2112 (talk) 06:04, 30 June 2016 (UTC)

Weird. I almost never use the random button on xkcd, but I did yesterday 2-3 times, and then once today. The last I came to yesterday was this comic. And I may have missed seeing this before, even though I believed I have been through at least the first 600 comics... Or maybe it just did not register the first time? But today it did as the first comic I got with random was 489: Going West where Megan breaks up with Cueball who do not wish to break up. And they are only 40 comics between. I can also not remember reading that one before. But they are so similar, and that I got those on two random comics in a row is just weird and fun to me! --Kynde (talk) 10:35, 9 September 2019 (UTC)

I read the title text very differently. Cueball is saying "I love you" over and over again instead of saying "I'm nothing without you", because he knows that it's a fucked up thing to say. But it's what he wants to say. Gonna at least add that. 22:10, 23 July 2020 (UTC)