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A little Captain america: The Winter Soldier meta I posted on tumblr, riffing of leupagus's meta and looking at the mirrors and parallels to be found amongst Steve, Natasha, Sam, and Bucky.

And in beautiful, consistent characterization, the more “nonhuman” his body is, the more “human” his personality is. Steve’s got a rock-solid core of humanity and it’s always what he bases his moral decisions on.

Despite the occasional crisis, Steve has never not known how he is — a human being who cares about human beings. It’s a great juxtaposition with Natasha, who doesn’t know who she really is when she isn’t playing a role, and Bucky, who isn’t anything except his mission (and even then, he’s only that when he’s awake). At the end of the movie, Natasha’s ready to go figure out who she is and Bucky has just realized that it’s even possible that he actually is a person.

And then there’s Sam, the “normal” one, the one who “does everything [Steve] does, only slower,” the one who understands how Steve feels because he’s been there, done that, and leads the group sessions to prove it.

There’s so many awesome parallels and mirrors among these four:
  • Bucky and Sam with metal augmentations (one permanent and non-consensual, marking him as ‘other’, the other removable and by choice, something that doesn’t change his body)

  • Natasha and Bucky as guns-for-hire (one by choice, the other by force, both being ‘not themselves’ to complete their missions)

  • Steve and Natasha saved/betrayed by SHIELD (one joins due to loyalty, the other pragmatically [gotta be better than the KGB], and both find out it’s not what they thought it was and is actually worse than what they used to fight/fled from)

  • Sam and Steve as wounded veterans ‘back in the world’ (one returns to the same world he left, the other thrust forward in time, but they both have to re-learn how to live in it)