"Does anyone know where the idea that Kirk was a farmboy from Iowa came from?"
From the start. They didn't have a town picked until the people of Riverside Iowa volunteered, but Kirk was imagined as a Iowa country boy from the get-go. I don't know where this was first revealed or discussed, though. I know Kirk didn't just stay in Iowa. At the age of thirteen he was far from home, starving and evading slaughter on Tarsus 4. What he was doing there has never been properly explained, IMHO. I assume he was visiting relatives.
Kirk mentions God once or twice, but I get the impression that Kirk himself is not religious. In the most intense moments of his life, he doesn't pray to a higher power for aid, he just looks within himself and to the people and resources around him.
His subconscious in TOS is probed more than once, and what comes up is Abraham Lincoln (Savage Curtain), the OK corral (Specter of the Gun), and Halloweeny stuff (Catspaw). We also are shown that Kirk digs the idea of oldtimy things like sailing ships. He apparently enjoys reading history and classic literature.
Most of what we are shown or told about Kirk is consistent with the notion of him being raised in a rural environment. He has never cultivated a yearning for the kind of pleasures "big city folk" seem to crave. Kirk enjoys the kinds of things country people like for recreation. Chess, cards, reading, and sporty stuff (including climbing rocks, and strolling in the moonlight with ladies).
When Helen Noel was reminiscing about their first meeting in Dagger of the Mind, we get a window into Kirk's private side. He courted her with dancing, walking together, and talk about the stars. Pretty old-fashioned stuff, absolutely quaint. But that's how he is. He was the same way with Edith Keeler. Walking her to the movie and back, and blabbing about stars and planets and the promise of the future.
Women might be from Venus, but Kirk is definitely from Earth. Kirk is proud of his Terran heritage and boy, he loves dirt! He wants to get out and into it right now! A real nature boy. I think he joined the Fleet because one planet wasn't enough for him. He wanted to go galloping over as many kinds of soil as he could put under his feet.
Kirk has such a rock-solid ego that it's safe to assume he was a wanted child and had a wholesome and generally secure upbringing. He had to have been surrounded with loving and supportive people from day one, and I think it's obvious those people were hard-working and clean-living folks, because those are the values he upholds as if it's second nature. Spock mind melds with Kirk: once in Specter of the Gun, for example, when he strives to convince Kirk and the others that the bullets etc. are unreal, and once in Requiem for Methuselah, when Spock invades Kirk's distressed mind to edit his memories of that painful episode. What he learns from his deep intimacy with Kirk must have been something that pleased him, because his loyalty to Kirk is only exceeded by his obvious fondness for the man (which for Spock is unusual: he has few friends). If Kirk can stand up to a touch-telepath's scrutiny and come out a winner, then he must be exactly what he seems to be: an idealistic fellow who actually upholds his deeply ingrained old-fashioned values. People don't just fall into that kind of integrity. He was no doubt raised that way, and also chose to be that way because it makes sense to him as a way of life. He must have seen that ~it works~. He knows in his bones how to survive and how to live as a decent person, no doubt because he was raised that way.
People in the country tend to be both as self-reliant as possible, and to be cheerfully helpful to their neighbors whenever needed. Kirk certainly fits that pattern.
What makes Jim an interesting study is he is a brilliant but eccentric fellow. He's hyperactive and seems driven. He's got clear vision and strong morals, but also painfully strong base urges, and the conflict between them is dramatized more than once (Enemy Within, for example). Jim is very creative, and comes up with some unique ways to harmonize his competing impulses, sometimes with very peculiar and frankly kinky results. So, although he is strictly speaking a "hero", he's no bland Mr. Allright - he's got an edge to him.
A character that is both so consistent and so complex doesn't happen by accident or default. Jim is who he always has been. He (as a personality) sprang from Roddenberry's imagination fully formed the way Athena was brought forth from Zeus' brow, full-grown, and already dressed in armor.
In ASCEML@egroups.com, TThrill wrote:
"Laura, Excellent character analysis! I do believe you have captured him, and the reasons we find him fascinating, very well. The only thing I would possibly dispute is the relationship with his family. I am certain that he was very close to his mother and brother(s), however I feel that his father may have been quite demanding in a powerful, larger than life, kind of way. I only say this because throughout history you have powerful men in leadership roles that have had fathers that have been less loving and more demanding in their expectations. It is this need to please their father's that drives many men to achieve greatness."
I think you have a very good point there. It's very likely that Kirk's dad was aloof, or very strict, and the simplest explanation would be that the guy was working hard to support his family and didn't have a lot of time or energy for the kids and their childish nonsense. He probably took little interest in Jimmy until the kid was old enough to be useful somehow, and *then* he was interested long enough to tell Jim's big brother to start delegating his more simple chores to the tyke (AKA "The Pest", as his long-suffering big brother no doubt dubbed him).
It's a sure thing Jim was strongly motivated to please his parents, especially his father. The adult Jim Kirk is a masculine guy who draws his greatest emotional nourishment from his male friends. He works harder to foster his relationships with the men in his life than he does with women. Jim seems to take women's love for granted, and this very likely started with his doting mother and grandmother, etc. who probably pandered to him and spoiled the baby of the family absolutely rotten.
Jim enjoys acting infantile and submissive with ladies, which sometimes comes as a shock to his friends. In Spock's Brain he suddenly drops to his knees before the Priestess and starts acting all slavish, which leaves Scott and McCoy slack-jawed with astonishment. He kneels for the Dolman of Elaan when she first comes aboard, and makes everybody else do it too, although you don't see him making this extravagant gesture for just anybody. He copes with his abductor Queen Deela (Wink of an eye) by seducing her. He tries really, really hard to seduce Shana (Gamesters of Triskelion) and Sylvia (Catspaw). Seduction is a primary tactic for him which he resorts to easily, impulsively, which tells me it must be a lifelong habit. He seems to assume that acting servile and cute will get him what he wants from women, and he's right, most of the time. The exceptions, the cases where he is high-handed and bossy with women, happen in situations where the woman has already made it clear she doesn't go for the cutesy stuff.
How does Jim seduce women? He doesn't impose his own vision of himself on a gal, and say, "Take it or leave it!" He talks with her, and draws her out, and tries to figure out what she wants, particularly, what she expects from him. This "talking about the stars" gimmick is a way of talking about the infinite universe of possibility. He throws the topic wide open, and the ball is now in her court. Then he tries a couple of things he thinks she'll like, and expresses his eagerness to oblige her. By indulging the woman's fantasies, and egging her on with hugs, kisses, caresses, and generally sappy behavior, Jim does all right for himself. Jim is not generally a sappy guy, but he's not above acting like one.
Kirk was probably breast-fed as an infant, and I'll bet he loved that nursing relationship with mommy (and she also may have loved it) a little too well. Kirk is a clingy guy, and that is a temperamental trait which runs in families. If Kirk's mom was the clingy type too, then weaning would hard for both of them. Those two probably had to be pried apart with a crowbar. Kirk's a greedy type, and BTW stubborn as hell. They probably caught the toddler many times sneaking into bed with mommy for stolen sips late at night. I expect daddy was the one who caught him in the guilty act time and again and picked him up again and again to trundle him back to his own bed (maybe after a spanking). Later, he probably had to be a really, really good boy to get treats like cookies, and he'd be ~so good~ that the women would feel constrained to produce whole pies for him now and then.
"All for ME!?"
"Yes, Jimmy, this one is all for you!" *kiss*
And daddy and bubba would grumble, and would jealously make him pay for these delights with manly trials every time they were out of the women's sight. It probably went back and forth like this, like a big yoyo, and it all was love to him. Jim STILL is eager to take whatever lumps he has to, to get what he wants, and he still ALWAYS gets what he wants eventually, happily taking lumps all along the way.
I'm thinking Kirk's dad was a serious, sober, no-bullshit guy, and I think his elder brother was a juvenile tintype of the father. Probably James took after his mother, and the men might have taken extra trouble to masculinise him, since they might have perceived something feminine in him (which his mom might have subconsciously encouraged). If his maternal grandma got involved, and joined forces with his mom, you might have seen a real war between the sexes over the possession of Jim's soul, and, Jim being the way he is, he would absolutely thrive on being the center of all this attention and anxiety. He'd egg them all on, and would learn to masterfully play one side against the other. The whole family would be whipsawed by his manipulations, and everything would revolve in one way or another around Jim. He must have been that way since childhood because he certainly is fully that way as an adult. He's so comfortable with being at the center of this type of drama that he made a career out of it.
Kirk has made a career out of getting between opposing forces, and manipulating them to do what he wants. He loves being in the middle of things, and seems to assume that it's his proper occupation to officiate as harmony is wrestled from the claws of havoc. He has a talent for seeing all sides of an issue and getting all opponents to see (and do) things his way. Jim doesn't just like to get his way, he confidently expects to get his way. He approaches every new situation confidently, honestly believing that, now that he's here, the situation will get sorted out. He is not troubled by opposition: he's ready for it, and he's ready to make everything hunky-dory too, wielding hammer and tongs himself if necessary.
Jim never doubts that one person's influence can make all the difference. After all, he makes a difference every single time he shows up.
Being the keystone between huge political and social forces is something he's positively casual about, which is pretty unusual! But not unique. Look at his relationship with his best friend Spock, a half-Terran, half-Vulcan crossbred oddity, who embodies both the clash of two cultures and the war between the sexes. Spock IS a flashpoint between opposing forces, in person. Spock's issues are Jim's issues too, and they play, play, play to work those issues out, and never grow tired of the games. It's no accident that the first time we see them together they are playing a game of chess. That is a highly symbolic portrait of their relationship. Kirk blindsides the logical Spock with an illogical move and provokes an emotional reaction from his "unemotional" comrade, which seems to be something he delights in doing, and Spock doesn't seem to mind too much, when it's coming from him.
Spock is having the time of his life aboard the Enterprise under Kirk's command. They are good for each other. Spock is very, very intelligent and sensitive, a powerfully beneficent presence in Jim's life, and Jim appreciates it! Jim repays Spock for his fantastically able support by giving him something Spock never really had: ~a playmate~. Poor Spock had a dreary, joyless childhood and knows nothing about how to relax and have fun.
Kirk is teaching Spock about fun, and about true friendship, and Spock is in turn empowering Jim to accomplish incredible things and make a big difference, which is what he wants the most - to make history: to be a real hero. That's a pretty old-fashioned, blue sky, cornbread-and-jam, Boy-Scoutish, Iowa countryfolk thing for Jim to desire and aspire to, but that is the way he is.
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