Allen Moore’s sordid depiction of twentieth century life presents a complex world, where the distinction between a virtuous hero and a villainous wrongdoer is often blurred. In stark contrast to the traditionally popularized portrayal of superheroes, whose unquestionably altruistic motives ultimately produce unrealistically idealized results; the realistically flawed characters of Watchmen exist in a multi faceted world characterized by moral ambiguity. America’s imperialistic ambitions have long been justified as an expression of American idealism. Much like the portrayal of superheroes in popular culture, America’s intervention in foreign affairs was portrayed as the result of a clearly defined problem, where American intervention was
When read with a critical eye, the world of superhero comics often offers a lens with which we can examine society, our values, the meaning of justice, and the role of the individual in regards to the greater community. If all of this information is garnered from critical reading, then the way in which the medium of comics constructs these meanings will reflect an embrace or a rejection of the common symbols and ideology of it’s source culture. In the case of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s 1987 graphic novel, Watchmen, the second approach is used, as Moore’s writing draws upon the common cultural understanding of superheroes and exaggerates or tweaks them, exposing their underlying ideals. In this way, Watchmen functions not only as a
Watchmen by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons utilizes the literary tool of symbols. Symbols such as the smiley pin, clocks, and the haunting “who watches the watchmen” graffiti all come up several times in the graphic novel, thus alluding to a deeper meaning. Time is a major theme throughout the comic and plays a significant part in the structure and outcome of the story. This theme is successfully coupled to the theme of destiny by the use of the clock and other symbols that are present throughout the comic. Symbols such as clocks, the smiley pin, and the graffiti are utilized to efficiently connect the themes of time, justice and loss of innocence throughout Watchmen.
Watchmen by Alan Moore and David Gibbons makes many comments on the good and evil of humanity. The heroes in the book are very human and thus are very flawed. Most of the time, it is hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Quite frankly, the heroes themselves are relatively bad people and show the inner darkness that humans possess. However, there still seems to be a representation of the good in people. In this panel, there are many aspects that draw on the idea of the evil and good of humanity. This panel is able to capture so much of the story at once and it also presents the reality of what Veidt did. Even more so than the destruction caused, it is the images of the two Bernies, the “Black Freight” magazine, and representation
Manhattan is the only real super-human being in Watchmen and like Christ, Dr. Manhattan shows valid signs of being a God-like being but both take the form of a man. I’d also like to bring attention to the fact that throughout chapter 4 you can see Dr. Manhattan becoming less like man and more like this god-like figure as he grows farther and farther apart from humanity. Like Jesus Christ, Dr. Manhattan walked around earth for many years as a man before becoming their celestial beings. Also ironically both Jesus and Jon Osterman died in their 30s. If you go over to page 10, panel 4, you’ll see the choice of image is very important. This panel alone takes up at least 40 percent of the page. Dr. Manhattans body language even mimics that of Jesus Christ on the cross with his feet pressed together, he is also seen to be surrounded by an angelic, white aura. In a nearby panel, a man is in awe saying to the appearance of Dr. Manhattan, “Oh, holy God.” This can easily be a metaphorical image for when Christ had risen; in this image Dr. Manhattan has risen. It also helps that on his abdomen you can see a cross made out of his abdominal
Through the character Rorshach, The Watchmen explores the issues of nature verses nurture for him. Moore adds that a super hero, can be a psychological argument. A super hero is neither born nor shaped by environment, it is the creation of an alter ego to suppress childhood conflicting inner issues. Rorshach dealt with issues as a young child that rationalized in his mind to hide behind a costume and a mask in order to live.
Watchmen character Dr. Manhattan, has had a very destructive impact on the world since his accident in 1959, and is shown through the Keene Act of 1977, his connections with humanity, and his self-exile to Mars. Dr. Manhattan causes a lot of uproar before and after the Keene Act passes. In 1977, the police go on strike because they claim vigilantes are making their jobs impossible. Riots take place people want their police back and vigilantism to be outlawed. One rioter says, “Look at him! Look at the freak! It’s against God!” The rioters dislike Dr. Manhattan because he resembles a form of vigilantism as well. In 1977, the Keene Act passes, outlawing “costumed adventurers,” with the exception of the few who work closely with the U.S. government.
Wes Moore the author says, “The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his.” In my opinion, I agree with Wes Moore the authors’ statement; there were several times throughout the lives of both the successful Wes Moore and the other Wes Moore that went to prison could have impacted either one of them to go down the opposite path that they originally took.
Subsequently, while most superhero plots involve an element of fantasy, the characters in Moore’s graphic novel are, for the most part, embedded into pessimistic version of reality with only lifelike traits. Obviously, the one glaring exception in Watchmen is Doctor Manhattan, who is transformed into a being capable of a number of otherworldly abilities. However, the other five heroes in the story are regular humans who take the initiative to aid in the protection of society. This is unlike most superheroes in previous comics, who are often blessed with a divine power that allows them to conquer all evil. Additionally, referring to the society in which Moore’s heroes are immersed in, it is situated in a location known to its readers, with a certain twist. While Superman has his Metropolis and Batman has his Gotham City, the six costumed adventurers are based in New York City, or more accurately, a filthy parody of it. The universe in which Moore sets his story is the closest to reality, with a hyperbolic emphasis on the evil in society, in which superheroes have been set it. Hence, the problems presented to the superheroes are not something to be combatted with fantastical talents, but more nuanced with realistic obstacles without a clear solution. In Watchmen, the imminent threat of nuclear war is a state of affairs that would have been realistic for readers, particularly during the time period of the graphic novel’s release in 1987. This, coupled with the urban violence
Moore sets an example through the character Rorschach that all men should be protectors of their society. In Watchmen, he portrays Rorschach as a vigilante hoping to save people from the evils of wrong doers. With the threat of nuclear attack, the world is in turmoil. Rorschach investigates the murder of fellow Watchman, Comedian, and warns other superheroes while enlisting the help of Nite Owl in order to find out who is behind the latest attack. After Dr. Manhattan, a god like superhero, is forced to leave earth for Mars, Rorschach is set-up and placed in jail for murder. Nite Owl, now convinced Rorschach’s theory that someone is trying to harm the Watchmen is true, frees Rorschach from jail and they join
In response to police brutality, The Invisible Man was written by Ellison demonstrated that through his life racism was entirely present. Ellison, in fact, was faced with police brutality throughout the novel. Ellison wrote a scene in which his narrator dealt with police brutality after giving a speech at an eviction. The police threatened to shoot him and beat all of them. Ellison wrote that his character had known it was due to the racism during the time period. Even so, the rest of the novel involved rebellion groups in which responded to the police brutality and racism. Ellison wrote the book to demonstrate the racism and brutality within society for African Americans. Even so, the effect of police brutality was involved within the book. This made other African-American questioned their identity as to why they were being beaten and abused. Ellison’s work addressed the response to other police brutalities in earlier times.
Among the superheroes, Rorschach and Adrian Veidt act on consequentialism. To bring justice, Rorschach brutally punishes criminals. Breaking fingers is a common method that Rorschach uses on criminals and he wrongly uses violence on Moloch to investigate the case of the murder of the Comedian. Similar to Rorschach, Adrian Veidt’s decision to blow up the half of New York is to achieve the peace between the US and the Soviet Union. Watchmen’s dystopia infers whether sacrificing is necessary to form a peaceful society. It asks how much sacrifice is morally acceptable to achieve peace and the each masked heroes have different opinions on the issue.
The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison is a story told from the first person point of view. The protagonist – who remains nameless – is speaking from the present but looking back on his past. In the first chapter, he talks about his grandfather, a freed slave, and his death. He talks about how his grandfather, someone who lived a quiet life, spoke in such a hateful way. The narrator, who now lives a quiet life just like his grandfather, remembers the words he said as he was dying, “agree ’em to death and destruction,” speaking of how the black community would “destroy” the white community. The words his grandfather said still haunt him, however, he insists on living a humble and quiet life. In fact, in his high school graduation speech he
In Philip Pullman’s novel, The Golden Compass, a young girl, named Lyra Belacqua lives in a parallel world in which human souls take the form of lifelong animal companions called daemons. In Lyra’s world the antagonists, a group of people known as Gobblers, have been kidnapping kids from the streets. Lyra vows to save her best friend, Roger, after she discovers that he disappears along with one of the Gyptians’ boys. She sets out with her daemon, a tribe of Gyptians, a witch, an ice bear and a Texas airman on an epic quest to rescue Roger and save her world. These two goals would eventually lead Lyra to fulfill her so-called “destiny”. Lyra lives in a world where a lot of people believe in the ideology of predestination, but destiny is an illusion of free will and foreknowledge. Her choices can influence future outcomes and ultimately change her “destiny” as long as she has some foreknowledge of her prophecy, if she doesn’t have that then she cannot make the necessary actions to avoid it.
The period between the wars was a very difficult time in Germany. The currency was enormously depreciated and there were extreme poverty, depression, and political instability. When the Nazis took power in 1933, horror was their method of achieving their goals. Fear and violence became very common among a society that was still in shock after the First World War. In the book The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink, one of the main themes is a conflict with the inner-self. This is seen throughout the book when Michael is young and indecisive between spending time with Hanna or his new friends, when Hanna is on trial and does not know whether to confess her illiteracy or accept being declared guilty, and finally when an older Michael is trying to decide on whether he should save Hanna or respect her dignity.