Thursday, April 2, 2009

Works Cited

Works Cited
About Buddha. 02 Apr. 2009 http://www.aboutbuddha.org/.

"Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Symbols." LAMBDA Gay / Lesbian / Bisexual / Transgender Community Services: violence gay sex sexuality sexual orientation hate crimes youth gay bashing teen coming out anti-gay homophobia Matthew Shepard gay hate violence Texas New Mexico gay sex gay man chat gay woman El Paso Las Cruces Juarez gay. 02 Apr. 2009 http://www.lambda.org/symbols.htm.

"Nostalgia." Dictionary.com. 2 Apr. 2008. The American Heritage├é® Stedman's Medical Dictionary. 1 Apr. 2009 http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/nostalgia.

"Ramesses the Great." Egypt Online. 2001. The Astra Corporation. 1 Apr. 2009 http://www.egyptologyonline.com/ramesses_the_great.htm.

"The Rorschach Test." SPARC - Divorce and Custody Help. 01 Apr. 2009 http://deltabravo.net/custody/rorschach.php.

Simkin, John. "McCarthyism." Spartacus Educational. 1 Apr. 2009 http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAmccarthyism.htm.

Stebbins, Elinor. "Athena." Sweet Briar College { History of Art Program }. Spring 1998. 1 Apr. 2009 http://www.arthistory.sbc.edu/imageswomen/papers/stebbinsathena/athena2.html.

Stewart, Michael. "Prometheus." Greek Mythology. 2005. 1 Apr. 2009 .

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

WWTW

"Who watches the Watchmen?" (Chapter 8, Page 26, Panel 7)



A recurring quote and image in Watchmen, the idea of "who watches the watchmen" is important. It doesn't just refer to the the Watchmen as in the group of masked heroes watching over the citizens, but also to the people higher up the echelons in the world. A prime example of this is Adrian Veidt. Known as the smartest man in the world and this wonderful person, he is responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in New York. He is the great "watcher" of the world, but who watches him to make sure he doesn't over step his boundaries? Moore's idea that no one should be above watching, or the law, is an important idea even today, more than twenty years after its publication.

The Past

"Those glorious days; that innocence... Dead?" (Chapter 8, Page 3, Panel 5)

Quite possibly one of these most pointed pieces of dialogue written by Alan Moore, this line exemplifies one of the main themes put forth in Watchmen. There is a distinct feeling of hopelessness in Watchmen, and this line from Tales from the Black Freighter illustrates that/ While some of the characters, like Veidt, try desperately to bring back a time where the world is unified and has hope, other characters accept that the world is corrupt but still try to do their own work to rid the world of evil, like Rorschach. Other characters still profess to feel hopeless and that the world is empty, but when it comes down to the clutch, they (like the majority of the human race) still finds some small piece of hope, like the newspaper vendor. Even Moore himself writes an ending where the "bad guy" wins (even though the bad guy was trying to save the world) and hope is lost by the anti-hero (Rorschach), but, the reader is left with the hope that the truth will still be exposed-- something most people see as the ultimate thing to hope for. Justice and truth.

Nostalgia

Chapter 8, Page 1, Panel 2

The appearance of the Nostalgia perfume made by Veidt's company plays an important role in the novel Watchmen. Nostalgia is defined as "a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one's life, to one's home or homeland, or to one's family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time". In this scene, the idea of nostalgia is especially appropriate-- Hollis and Sally are reminiscing about the past. However, the idea of nostalgia is extremely important to almost every character in Watchmen. Veidt is obsessed with returning to a golden age of pharaohs and bringing the world back to an older time of peace when peace has obviously passed. The entire idea behind the Watchmen is that everyone is stuck in the past and having a hard time moving on. Moore's characterization of a nation (and a world) stuck in the past only brings light to the fact that there is no way to go back to the past; the only inevitable thing in the world is that things will always change.

Link: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/nostalgia

Pallas Athene

"Blood from the Shoulder of Pallas" (Chapter 7, end piece)

Pallas Athena is primarily the Greek goddess of wisdom and of war. Known as Minerva in the Roman pantheon, she was said to protect warriors and uphold civil justice. She was said to have an owl as her personal assistant and even be described as having "owl-eyes". Because of this, the owl is now associated with wisdom along with Athena. Dan's charactization as the owl character is interesting because he usually seems rather niave and oblivious. Moore's decision to make Dan the "wise" character reveals more about his character and lets the reader know that there is more going on beneath the surface with Dan than immediately meets the eye.

Link: http://www.arthistory.sbc.edu/imageswomen/papers/stebbinsathena/athena2.html

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ramses II

"Ladies and gentlemen, performing in aid of the Indian Famine Appeal, we present Adrian Veidt, the one, the only... OZYMANDIAS!" (Chapter 7, Page 14, Panel 3)

Ozymandias is the Greek name for the Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II, the famed pharaoh of the biblical book of Exodus. Ramses was a great explorer and expander of his lands and is still one of the most revered pharaohs to rule in Egypt. Moore's decision to name his sympathetic antagonist after this pharaoh helps to characterize him-- Veidt has a great desire to rule and to expand his horizons. Like his two idols, Alexander the Great and Ramses II, Veidt has grand dreams but he must sacrifice and even kill to achieve what he feels to be success.

Link: http://www.egyptologyonline.com/ramesses_the_great.htm


Pink Triangles

Chapter 5, Page 21, Panel 8

The Pink Triangle, which is now a symbol of gay pride, comes directly from the Holocaust in Europe during the mid-20th century. All prisoners in Holocaust camps were forced to wear a colored triangle on their uniform to identify them-- gay prisoners were forced to wear a pink triangle. The inclusion of the pink triangle by Moore and Gibbons adds historical context to the novel and gives depth to the newsvendor character and the characters he interacts with. When these characters are given real personalities and depth, the reader forsm more attatchment to them. Their death at the hands of Veidt's monster feels all the more real. Knowing that Joey has a girlfriend and that the newsvendor is a friend of hers makes her something more than a nameless face killed by the squid and therefore makes her death more real and affecting.

Link: http://www.lambda.org/symbols.htm

Buddha

Chapter 5, Page 7, Panel 1

Buddha is the corner-stone of a primarily-Eastern practiced religion known as Buddhism. Siddhartha Gautama is widely recognized as the Supreme Buddha and founder of Buddhism and it is his passed down oral teachings that form the rules of Buddhism. After his death, the image of Siddhartha was changed slightly and magnified. Siddhartha was raised as a prince and shielded from any knowledge of human suffering or pain. When he was about thirty, Siddhartha learned of death and eventually left his home to find enlightenment and live a simpler life. His life and teachings reached many people and he died (or simply moved onto a new stage of life, leaving his Earthly body behind) with many followers who continued to practice in the vein of his teachings. Gibbon's juxtaposition of a mellow Buddha poster with the blood from two dead children murdered by their suicidal father shows that the world in Moore's Watchmen has truly gone mad and now an image of calmness no no longer holds anything but gore.

Link: http://www.aboutbuddha.org/

McCarthyism

"At the heigh of the McCarthy era . . . We all had to testify before the House of UnAmerican Activities Committee..." (Under the Hood, Chapter 5, Page 11)

Joseph McCarthy was a senator from Wisconsin who was a major player in the Communist witch hunt in the 40's and 50's. The House of UnAmerican Activities required anyone who was named a Communist supposrter or participant to testify to theior activies and name any co-conspirators. The fact that Moore had the Minutemen testify before the Committee shows the reader that during the McCarthy Era, no one was safe from the witch hunt, not even the heroes who were supposed to be more American and patriotic than anyone else. The testifying of the Minutemen also adds a realistic touch of context to the novel.

Link: http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAmccarthyism.htm

Prometheus

Chapter 3, Page 1, Panel 4

In Greek mythology, Prometheus was the son of the Greek Titan Iapetus. Because Prometheus did not like Zeus, ruler of all the Gods, Prometheus stole fire and gave it to the mortals now living on Earth. When Zeus discovered that Prometheus had deceived him, he chained Prometheus to a rock and condemned him to an eternity of having his liver eaten out by a huge bird only to have the organ grow back each day to be eaten out again. Prometheus is referenced in Watchmen with The Promethean Cab Company. Gibbons and Moore reference Prometheus because he has some qualities in common with Veidt-- Prometheus takes the power of fire away from the gods and gives it to the humans, much like Veidt takes the power of uncertainty away from the universe and gives the control back to the humans. However, much like Prometheus died each day in pain and was reborn, Veidt will forever have to watch the human race rip itself apart again and again.

Link: http://messagenet.com/myths/bios/promethe.html

NATO

Chapter 2, Page 9, Panel 5

On the newspaper that the Comedian is reading, the headline reads "French Withdraw Military Commitment from NATO". NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, an alliance of 26 counties from North America and Europe dedicated to upholding the terms of the North Atlantic Treaty. The treaty includes such things as a dedication to upholding peace amonst countries of the world along with other things. Gibbon's inclusion of this headline on the newpaper adds a sense of historical context to the novel. If France is pulling out of NATO, then things in Europe must be going downhill, a theme that continues throughout Watchmen.

Link: http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-DB4949A4-7710FF7D/natolive/what_is_nato.htm

The Manhattan Project

"Good evening, Dr. Manhattan." (Chapter 1, Page 20, Panel 1)

The superhuman entity known as Dr. manhattan in Watchmen is a reference to the Manhattan Project of the mid-20th century. The Manhattan Project was the code name for the development of the atomic bomb right before the beginning of World War II. Since Dr. Manhattan was created within in intrinsic field lab that had to do with a lot of radiation, he is instantly associated with the atomic bomb. Moore's naming of his all-powerful being Dr. Manhattan shows that Manhattan is supposed to inspire not only security in the people of the Earth, but it needs to be shown that he is not truly human any longer and really more of a weapon than anything else. He is something detatched from humanity and whose human-given mission is only to destroy.

Link: http://inventors.about.com/od/astartinventions/a/atomic_bomb.htm

Rorschach's Mask

Chapter 1, Page 12, Panel 3-5

In Watchmen, Rorschach's inkblot mask changes according to his emotion. In panel 4, Rorschach is thinking about who could be killing the ex-superheroes or why they are being killed and there are two blots in the upper center of his mask, almost like he is furrowing his brow. When his emotions become more and more intense, his mask will change more rapidly. The authors' decision to have Rorschach's mask change with emotion lets the reader know more about Rorschach than a lot of his dialogue. Rorschach is a very cold fellow and doesn't reveal much about himself, but his mask reveals much more about his character.

Rorschach Inkblot Tests

"Rorschach?" (Chapter 1, Page 10, Panel 9)

Rorschach's name comes from the infamous Rorschach Ink Blot Test, adminstered in the mental health field. The test has to do with association. A patient is shown the ink blot and supposed to tell the adminstrator of the test what it reminds him of or what it looks like. The patients unrehearsed response is supposed to reveal significant or repressed information about the patient. The effectivity of the test is now lessened due to more advanced tools of diagnostic medicine and the different interpretations doctors see in each response. Moore and Gibbon's decision to use a Rorschach test pattern as a mask for Rorschach helps to characterize him-- he sees things in black and white when sometimes things can't be seen in black and white. Rorschach's face is always changing, but Rorschach himself has a hard time dealing with the changing times.

Link: http://deltabravo.net/custody/rorschach.php

Obsolete Models

Chapter 1, Page 9, Panel 8

On the sign outside of Hollis Mason's repair shop, a happy-go-lucky sign reads "we fix 'em! Obsolete models a specialty." This sign alludes not only to the older Minutemen, who became obsolete in 1960 when Dr. Manhattan came into existence, but also now to the "Watchmen", or the new group of now-retired costumed heroes. Gibbon's inclusion of this allusion is a point toward the fact that eventually, everyone will become obsolete as someone or something new will replace them.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Gunga Din

Chapter 1, Page 4, Panel 4

In Watchmen, the diner frequented by the characters, especially Rorschach, is named Gunga Diner. This is a reference to Rudyard Kipling's famous poem "Gunga Din." The poem tells the story of a native Indian who serves as a water carrier for British soldiers fighting in India. The most famous part of the poem is the last stanza which reads, "Tho' I've belted you and flayed you, By the livin' Gawd that made you, You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!" Moore includes this reference because Gunga Din illustrates a strong parallel to the masked superheroes in Watchmen in the graphic novel. They do a thankless job before the Keene Act and the general populace turns against them, but in the end, several characters remark that maybe they need the Watchmen.

Link: http://www.everypoet.com/archive/poetry/Rudyard_Kipling/kipling_gunga_din.htm