|The Frightened Princess|
|Aliases||The Mermaid Princess|
|Hair color||Light brown|
|Occupation||Student/resident/caretaker at Rose Garden Orphanage|
|Voice actor||Teresa Gallagher|
|“|| How dirty...
Clara is a character of Rule of Rose and a nightmarish form of her, the Mermaid Princess, is one of the bosses of the game. Clara has little screentime, likely because child Jennifer did not know her very well.
Clara is a quiet girl who is a resident of the Rose Garden Orphanage. Although she is technically a minor, she is not one of the participants in the Red Crayon Aristocrat Club, and it seems she is unaware of its existence, or perhaps views it as an innocuous club for children having fun.
It is strongly implied that Clara was raped or sexually abused by Hoffman over a long period of time, but this has never been confirmed. Clara displays body language that evokes feelings of fear, shame and discomfort whenever Jennifer encounters her. There is evidence she suffers from low self-esteem and poor mental health. There are also implications that Clara may have had an abortion, possibly via a C-section. Diana may be another of Hoffman's victims.
Born in the year 1914, Clara was around 15-16 years old by the time Jennifer had arrived at the orphanage. She was a quiet and lonely girl, dubbed "The Frightened Princess." She seemed oblivious to the antics of the other children and did not attend Aristocrat Club meetings or take part in their cruel hazings and punishments.
It seemed that she spent quite a number of years at the orphanage, and by the time Jennifer arrived, she began to assist Hoffman in his work, and at one point, even asked him for a permanent position. Mr. Hoffman took this into full consideration, reflecting in his diary at how he has watched his "little Clara" grow, suggesting that Clara had been living at the orphanage since her early childhood. Clara is perceived as a nurse-like character, as she tended to the orphans' wounds when they were hurt and took care of them when they were sick.
In November, Hoffman left the orphanage, stating "Clara's here to look after things." Clara mysteriously disappeared shortly after Hoffman and Martha Carol, leaving the orphans all alone without any adult supervision. It is unknown what happened to Clara. It is possible she ran away from the orphanage after Hoffman and Martha were gone, possibly because it was too painful for her to stay. It is also possible she ran away with Hoffman. It is unlikely she would have been able to mentally or emotionally cope with looking after the children while Hoffman and Martha were gone.
Clara's fate is ambiguous. It is possible Clara was secretly murdered by the Aristocrats for refusing to join. It is unlikely Clara was present during the orphanage massacre as she already left and Jennifer does not mention Clara returned, but Were she present, she may have been murdered by Gregory M. Wilson. It is also possible Clara killed herself in suicide, although one could hope she lived a happier life away from the orphanage.
Relationship with Hoffman
There are implications that Hoffman began to take a sexual interest in Clara, much against her will, and that Clara was too frightened to tell anyone or stop him.
In "The Clover Field" if Jennifer should open the drawers in the Sick Bay of the Airship, Clara will rush to Jennifer stop her, shouting "Don't look in there!" There is also unused audio of Clara saying this with a nervous stutter. This is possibly where some evidence to a sexual relationship between her and Hoffman lies, likely condoms, as birth control pills did not exist at the time. After Clara does this, Hoffman's voice can be heard saying, "Mmhmm...", as if he is agreeing with Clara..
Clara is seen shuffling her feet when she walks. She is only ever really seen walking when she is following Hoffman, so it is unclear if her movement is due to her fear of him, or if it indicates some kind of pain she might be experiencing. Clara is surrounded by implications of pregnancy and abortion, which may also explain her movements. In her unused audio, she mentions at one point that something is hurting her.
Most of the events in the game are from young Jennifer's point of view, where she probably didn't understand the things Hoffman may have done to the girls at the orphanage; and because of this, she probably interpreted Clara in the appearance of a mermaid. During "The Mermaid Chapter", it can be interpreted that during one night at the orphanage, child Jennifer saw Hoffman leading Clara to his office (which doubles as a bedroom). Jennifer likely followed them, peered through the keyhole, and saw Clara shirtless in Hoffman's office while her lower body was covered by a bedsheet. Since Jennifer had mermaids on her mind because it was the monthly gift, Jennifer probably imagined Clara as secretly being a mermaid.
Clara has gills on her wrists, stitching on her stomach, and gills at the sides of her stomach and rib area when she is in her boss form as a mermaid. She constantly vomits, and as well when she is lifted into the air, there is a mixture of random laughter that sometimes turns into crying. The rope that bound her legs together is supposedly a symbol of Clara being unable to escape her fate. The "gills" on Clara's wrist could be young Jennifer's interpretation Clara's self mutilation.
The "gills" at the sides of her body were possibly from surgery, and the cut on her stomach from a supposed abortion. The scar across her chest could be seen as a symbolism to stop the growth of her breasts. It is rumored that Hoffman got Clara pregnant, and to prevent her from having a child, he performed an abortion himself. Her legs bound together via a mermaid's tail possibly symbolizes of Clara's inability to give birth. Her vomit attacks may be from "morning sickness", a common nausea while pregnant. It may also be hinting that Clara was bulimic, as bulimia is commonly co-morbid with other disorders, such as depression and anxiety. She randomly cries and laughs, which is a sign of mood swings common during pregnancy, as well hinting to her crumbling sanity. Clara's Mermaid Princess boss, unlike Clara herself, is almost constantly screaming. Apart from the rope tying her legs together, the Mermaid Princess is shown to be completely unclothed. The bed and nightstand in the Mermaid princess room are the same as the ones in Hoffman's bedroom in the orphanage. This hints that Hoffman would take Clara into his bedroom at night and possibly molest her while she laid in his bed; it also hints that Jennifer followed them one night, peeked through the keyhole, and saw something she didn't understand as a child.
In "The Funeral" chapter, Clara can be found in the Sick Room, scrubbing one of the cots. The cot she is scrubbing has raised pads, suggesting gynecological examinations. Clara is seen scrubbing an area of the cot exactly where the pelvis would be. When Jennifer turns to leave the room, Hoffman enters the Sick Room and calls to Clara who reluctantly leaves with him into the adjoining room. She also seems to tense up when her name is called.
If Jennifer looks through the keyhole, she can see Clara on her hands and knees scrubbing the floor. Her movements may be seen as unnatural and almost sexual looking while Hoffman stands in front of her, pointing to the ground. He then says to her in a low, menacing, yet seductive tone, "Look, there's some... dust over here... give it a wipe." This may be Jennifer repressing memories of what really happened, or simply not fully understanding what she saw. Loud music is constantly played over the intercom during this chapter. Some have suggested this might be another hint to the situation, as Hoffman may have deliberately done this to cover up any troubling noise.
Although Clara is rarely mentioned or shown, it can be taken that she is shy and quiet. Her body language evokes feelings of shame, anxiety and fear. Clara also has a habit of turning away from Jennifer and avoiding eye contact. Jennifer remembers Clara as "The Frightened Princess", although she never directly says why.
If Jennifer decides to talk to her near the beginning of the game, she seems to refer to her as dirty, as most everyone else does. It is unclear if she is directly referring to Jennifer though, as she simply says "How dirty..." and does not elaborate. She avoids making eye-contact with Jennifer as she almost always keeps her head low, a sign of low-self esteem and shame.
If Jennifer tries to talk to her in "The Funeral" chapter, Clara ignores her just like all the other children. However, as Clara is never shown taking part in any of the Club's other games, it is implied her reasons for not speaking and avoiding eye-contact might be personal.
There are strong implications that Clara was suicidal, most likely because of the implied sexual abuse she suffered. Her Mermaid Princess boss has several cuts along its arms, and in her unused audio for the game, she sounds close to a complete breakdown. At one point, she says, "I don't want to go outside, but I don't want to stay in here either." as well as several other phrases as to how she feels alone and feels confused about what is happening to her.
The name Clara is a feminine form of the Latin name Clarus - borne by a few early saints - meaning "clear, bright, illustrious, famous." Clara was popularized by the 13th-century Saint Clare of Assisi, a friend and follower of Saint Francis, who left her wealthy family to found the order of nuns known as the Poor Clares.
The "famous" element to the name could possibly be ironic, as Clara was very much ignored by the children of the Rose Garden Orphanage. There could also be irony found in the "clear, bright" meaning of the name Clara, as Clara had a very solemn and mysterious disposition.
- "How dirty..."
- "Don't look in there!"
|Clara's unused audio|
- There is unused audio in the game of Clara crying for help. She says, "It's cold in here. How can I get out? What do I do? But I don't want to go outside, but I don't want to stay in here either. I'm sorry! I'm sorry! Please forgive me! Forgive me, please, please! I won't do it again! Help me! I'm all alone... all alone... it hurts! I don't want to be alone! Nothing I do makes it any better!" It may be about the sexual abuse from Hoffman, but it is unknown who she is talking to.
- There is also unused audio of Clara talking about mermaids: "Each and every girl becomes a mermaid! You'll be a mermaid too. A new dad will come for us! And we'll all be mermaids. Mr. Hoffman said I'd be a beautiful mermaid. And the king of Merland will come for me."
- There is an unused animation of Clara caring for Wendy in bed.
- There is actually nothing in the drawer Clara closes from a model perspective (as modeling something meant to be a mystery is pointless), although it's possible there is still something from a story perspective.
- Hoffman calls the children to bed in the order of his favorites and Clara's name is one of the last. He presumably does this in order to make Clara feel worthless, and make her feel like she's never good enough for him, trying to instill a desire in her to "please" him. By diminishing her self esteem and making her feel useless and worthless, Hoffman is presumably making Clara easier to control and manipulate.
- Clara may be a victim of Stockholm syndrome.
- Clara is the only onscreen character who does not appear in any of the game's FMVs (excluding her boss form, the Mermaid Princess).
- It is somewhat hinted that Martha cared for Clara, and therefore was suspicious of any sexual abuse that Hoffman was inflicting on her. Jennifer points out in the "Once Upon a Time" chapter that Clara looked "scary" when talking to Martha. This could possibly be due to the fact that Martha would often interrogate Clara on the subject of her abuse.
- Clara shares certain personality traits with Angela Orosco from Silent Hill 2. Like Angela, it is also heavily implied Clara was sexually abused by her guardian. Furthermore, both characters have brown hair and share a distinctly similar hairstyle. Although Clara's hair is lighter than Angela's.
- Clara's characteristics and the way she is depicted is also a similar to Lisa Garland from Silent Hill. Clara's nurse-like characteristics can be compared to Lisa's, as well as the fact that she supposedly engages in sexual intercourse with an antagonist, and her actions result in her transforming into a monstrous version of herself.
- ↑ Hoffman wrote in his diary, "I can hardly believe it. My little Clara, bless her heart, is already 16 years old."