Type: Review
Pages: 6 | Words: 1702
Reading Time: 8 Minutes

“V for Vendetta” is a piece of graphic novel, generally accepted under the title “comics”, written by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. The story was being written during 1981-1988. The novel is the logical continuation of anti-utopia series, which is a phenomenon in English literature in the middle of the XX century. The story is being written in the traditional style, founded by George Orwell. Somehow it corresponds to Herbert Wells’s plots as well.

The story tells the one of the possible scenarios of the course of events in terms of totalitarian Britain. Actually, this is one of the possible visions of what would Britain be in case of totalitarian policies. The story flourishes with inter-textual connections (for example, Shakespeare). The dystopia in the novel has to do with the concept of human ignorance and rejection of works of art. As far as literary analysis is concerned, the novel is written in terms with Post-Modernistic tradition. So-called “writing about writing” is among the peculiar features of the writing, belonging to that period. In case with “V for Vendetta”, the sample of a story within the story is the letter, written by Valerie. The life story of the protagonist is full of epiphany and estrangement that remind the stylistics of James Joyce’s short-stories, Künstler- und Bildungsroman. Another peculiar feature of Post-Modern writing is excessive intellectualism. Self-containment is characteristic of Post-Modernism in literature as well.

As far as psychoanalytic literary criticism is concerned, authors’ individual perception of reality is revealed through the identity of the main protagonists. The vision of the future world (in case thesaurus and the author-oriented space of the multiple-author coincide with that of a reader respectively) suggests the warning. Warning is expressed by means of dystopia and claims that ignorance of the heritage of the depository of Art (fine arts, literature, music etc.) is baneful and destructive. V is reserved, all we know about his past is the demand of the genre and the element of narration, though revenge is the bountiful are for psychoanalytic research. And according to Sigmund Freud’s theory of subconsciousness, all the unnatural states of the human psychics have their roots in the past. Classics of the genre, so to say. So is the protagonist of the graphic novel – reserved, hiding his face behind mask, covering himself with a cloak. The author explores revenge as something alien to human nature under ordinary conditions. The character created by A. Moore and D. Lloyd falls under the category of romantic personalities. V is so-called extraordinary character under unordinary circumstances. He is a notable character. He is a man of knowledge and word, keen on art. Readers’ curiosity is not completely satisfied as far as V’s life-story is concerned.

Historicism and New historicism doctrines may provide the better understanding of the author’s intention. It is enabled by means of socio-historical analysis of the period, when this or that piece of fiction has been written. In case with “V for Vendetta” allusion to the events of the Middle Ages and the prototypic protagonist of the Era and that events arose my interest.

“Remember, remember the fifth of November, the Gunpowder Treason and Plot. I see no reason why Gunpowder and treason should ever be forgot”. These are the traditional rhymed lines that wander from century to century. Since XVII century, namely 1605, The fifth night after Halloween commemorates the Gunpowder plot against Jacob I and the members of both Parliamentary houses. The plot was a religious principium (the plotters were Catholics, the Government under the reign of Jacob I was Protestant). The plot was a failure, the nobleman, Guy Fawkes, was captured in Tower. The events in the story by A. Moore and D. Lloyd are to occur by the end of the XX century, i.e. they anticipate the time of writing for about a decade. This might indicate the instability of political and social situation in the United Kingdom. On the other hand, fair or not, but the choice of the prototypic personality might be regarded as the allusion on the conflict of the religious split and the results of Reformation as well. The Epoch of Post Modernism was characterized by certain peculiarities in art. The problem of self-identity, experimentation, complexity found their reflection in Post Modern writing. Visualization and redefining fine arts were characteristic to 1980’s. So the graphic novels appeared. “Our masters have not heard the people’s voice for generations and it is much, much louder than they care to remember.” This quotation reflects everything possible regarding the notion of New historicism.

The doctrines of fascism and anarchism are opposed to each other in the novel. The authors provoke readers to arrange and clarify them. The Anarchy appeals to the audience because this V, the Mask, who proclaims it: “…Anarchy means “without leaders”, not “without order”. With anarchy comes an age or ordnung, of true order, which is to say voluntary order… this age of ordnung will begin when the mad and incoherent cycle of verwirrung that these bulletins reveal has run its course…This is chaos…” Anarchy is despotic, priggish, though.

What is authority? “…Authority allows two roles: the torturer and the tortured. Twists people into joyless mannequins that fear and hate, while culture plunges into the abyss…” Such a rendering of political power is not new. Orwell’s perception of authority and Moore’s vision have much in common. Mostly, all the similarity concerns the reflection of the world after World War II on the assumption of Nazism triumph. The doctrine of fascism is suggested by the story “V for Vendetta”. As far as historical approach is concerned, fascism is the notion generally applied to the Italian policy in the beginning of the XX century. As the political doctrine and a form of totalitarian regime fascism has a historical background. The category of authority (power) is inseparably connected to that of society. In the United Kingdom in the 60’s and the 70’s of the XX century were marked by transition from permissive society to swinging society. Obviously, the concepts of society invented by Alan Moore and that one existing for real and preceding the 1980’s contrast each other.  The society in the novel is ruled and totally controlled by the state.

The story has few but very bright symbols. Here are some of them: the mask, the fireworks, the letter, explosion. Repetitions of emotionally colored lexemes have specific function in the text as well. In terms of literary analysis and text linguistics the author’s message may be deduced through such invariant lexemes, provided with additional connotative meaning.

The mask, according to the theory of archetypes, suggests either a specific idealistic identity hiding from the shadows of the past, or a shield. Both explanations match the main character of the graphic novel. Fireworks, according to the text, may be regarded as the fame of great deeds, inspiring people for valor. The letter in the graphic novel is an example of so-called “writing about writing” – this is a story within the story. A story of a young imprisoned lady is a kind of a message from the past, a hortative erga omnes, i.e. exemplary one. Explosion may be decoded as the destruction of old order and transition to new life, the dawn of new life. The Houses of Parliament is not just a symbol, correspondent to historical events. It reflects the whole system, the power of which is unchallenged. The word “villain” is repeated for several times. V confesses the cruelty of the world, as well as his method of restoring justice. But this is the only applicable way to change the world and break the system.

In order to clarify the general idea, one should understand the difference between author, writer and narration. In case with “V for Vendetta” we deal with the multiple author, which is usual in case the co-operation of 2 writers or more. Still, the notion of author is means a subjective identity, which is the product of mental activity of the reader. Writer is an objective identity, split from the addressee, i.e. the recipient of the text. Narrator and narration are two inseparably connected notions associated with the protagonist or focalizer of the story. The type of narrator that is exploited in “V for Vendetta” is generally referred to as multiple narrator. Graphic novel is a subject of interest as far as the type of narration is concerned. In terms with the notion of an author in graphic novels it is generally referred to as uttered represented speech. The plot is developed by means of graphic representation and dialogues are usually placed in narration boxes. Emphatic writing, direct uttered speech make a dynamic effect. The character, i.e. the image of the protagonist, and author’s attitude to the protagonist and succession of events are revealed through their speech and external image. The logical ending is the crown of author’s intention.

Another crucial element of a story line (fabula) within a literary work is its conflict. Conflict is important on terms of the main idea of this or that piece of fiction. Conflict or collision is revealed by means of agenda, i.e. the range of problems, within the literary work. The problem of terror, moral choice, rebellion, human relations and indifference are aroused by the author. They are reflected by means of the conflict between fascism and anarchy, totalitarianism and terrorism, past and future, life and death, destruction and creation, evil and good and what not. Issue of importance of art as the factor, indicating human’s sensibility and scheme of values, is important as well in the graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. The authors explore people’s destinies and what the only, each single intelligent, endued with the fill of justice human being is capable of. Vengeance is fulfilled. Nothing to live for. There is just freedom to die for. On the other hand, evil breeds evil, destruction cannot create. Eternal verities that determine the ending of the novel. Certainty that tyranny will fall, and people who are strong enough to fight. Nothing is lost, till there are people, who fight for the sake of Good. What is this all about? “Everybody is special. Everybody. Everybody is a hero, a lover, a fool, a villain. Everybody. Everybody has their story to tell.”

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