Essay on A Rhetorical Analysis of the Killing Joke

1893 Words Aug 6th, 2013 8 Pages
One Bad Day: A Rhetorical Analysis of The Killing Joke
The Joker was once seen as a comical criminal who committed ridiculously silly crimes, such as spreading laughing gas throughout Gotham City. However, after the reinvention of Batman, The Joker was transformed into a grave and terrorizing character. Continuing the course of the new personality given to The Joker, writer Alan Moore and artist Brian Bolland created a graphic novel called The Killing Joke, “a much more complex, darker, and ultimately, frightening story” (Wooldridge) which tells one of the origins of The Joker since The Joker himself is unsure of his true inception. However, this particular graphic novel “isn’t about how the Joker came to be, it’s an examination of
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Moore continues his effort as the story unravels in a later scene where The Joker captures Gordon and shows him photographs of Barbara, who is gravely wounded and stripped naked. Moore vividly illustrates Gordon’s anger and shock, causing the readers to sympathize with his feeling of despair and perceive that The Joker’s plan to force Gordon “into a psychotic break” (Wooldridge) may be succeeding. In this scene, The Joker has Gordon trapped on his Ghost Train ride, Gordon’s face in shock as it dawns on him that the person in the horrific images is his own daughter. Moore presents Gordon’s face in an extreme close-up, which is “a framing in which the scale of the object shown is very large” (Yale Film Studies). The only other thing that can be seen is half the face of The Joker’s minion, who attempts to keep Gordon down; everything else is red, except for their eyes and teeth. Moore uses this particular framing method so that the audience can see Gordon’s aged, appalled, and unkempt face, emphasizing his distress and his loss of control. The red on the faces of the characters in this panel highlights the emotions that Gordon feels: hopelessness, shock, and dismay. The yellow eyes and teeth underscore the horrified look on Gordon’s face. The Joker has forced Gordon to realize that his family has been irreparably harmed, and that he is unable to do anything about it. Moore

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