Home | Comics | wishlist | Impressum | Datenschutzerklärung | 22.214.171.124
An Annotation of Literary, Historic, and Artistic References in Alan Moore's Graphic Novel, _V_for_Vendetta_. Madelyn Boudreaux, Madelyn@gothics.org. April 27, 1994 Part 1 of 3 Copyright 1994, Madelyn Boudreaux. Distribute but do not modify. Send corrections, changes, and suggestions to Madelyn@gothics.org. This annotation was prepared for a graduate class in Literary Research, under the direction of Dr. James Means, at the Northwestern State University of Louisiana, in the spring of 1994. Additions by Ralf Hildebrandt
The Graphic Novel _V_for_Vendetta_, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by David Lloyd, is a work generally described as a "graphic novel." The term is used to distinguish serious works within the genre from the stereotypes of "super-hero" comic books. The Question of Source In his 1983 essay "Behind the Painted Smile," _V_for_Vendetta_'s author Alan Moore discusses the issue of ideas and genesis. His opening comments refer to the typical scene from any given science fiction convention, where hoardes of (usually) young fans pack hotel convention rooms to hear their icons (the writers, actors, directors, and thinkers behind science fact and fiction) speak a few words: one eager kid, voice wavering (thinking, I've been waiting my *whole life* for this moment) asks "Where do you get your ideas from?". The reaction: We sneer. We lampoon and ridicule the sniveling little oaf before his peers.... We imply that even to have voiced such a question places him irretrievably in the same category as the common pencil-sharpener.... The reason why we do this is pretty straightforward. Firstly, in the dismal and confused sludge of opinion and half- truth that make up all artistic theory and criticism, it is the only question worth asking. Secondly, we don't know the answer and we're scared that somebody will find out. (p. 268). Rather than ever find myself in such an embarrasing position, I have undertaken to ferret out the origins of Moore's ideas. The task has been unbelievably arduous, not because any of the sources were too difficult to find, but because Moore covered so much ground. I found myself walking from one end of the library to the other, consulting science dictionaries, rose- naming serials, history books, films, and musical compact discs. I even explored some of my questions on the Internet, sending inquiries about such topics Son of Sam and Aliester Crowley, and receiving answers from around the world! Moore has aparently learned that his questioners want to know about his ideas; at the present Moore is working on a graphic series called "From Hell" which features as its main character Jack the Ripper. I was unable to locate any issues of this work, but I am told that it is entirely annotated by Moore (Coates, personal communication). This is certainly unusual for a "comic book" but Moore is clearly addressing the issues of origin more clearly, perhaps for himself as well as for the reader. In developing the origial _V_for_Vendetta_ series, Moore and Lloyd "wanted to do something that would be uniquely British rather than emulate the vast amount of American material on the market," (Moore 270). Both were political pessimists, and decided that the in world they wanted to portray "the future would be pretty grim, bleak and totalitarian, thus giving us a convenient antagonist to play our hero off against," (Moore 270). They played with ideas, borrowing from books like _Farenheit_451_, until Moore, in frustration, compiled a list of the elements he wanted to draw together for the piece. He writes: The list was something as follows: Orwell. Huxley. Thomas Disch. _Judge_Dredd_. Harlan Ellison's "Repent Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman." "Catman" and "Prowler in the City at the Edge of the World" by the same author. Vincent Price's _Dr._Phibes_ and _Theatre_of_Blood_. David Bowie. The Shadow. Nightraven. Batman. _Farenheit_451_. The writings of the _New_Worlds_ school of science fiction. Max Ernst's painting "Europe After the Rains." Thomas Pynchon. The atmosphere of British Second World War films. _The_Prisoner_. Robin Hood. Dick Turpin... (270) Also of great import in the development of _V_for_Vendetta_ was, obviously, the political climate of England and the West during the early 1980s. Moore cites that the Conservative party would "obviously lose the 1983 elections." With the Labour Party in charge, he reasoned, certain changes would follow: they would remove all American missiles from British soil to prevent Britain "from becoming a major target in the event of a nuclear war." From these assumptions, Moore claims, it was a small step "from that point up until the Fascist takeover in the post-holocaust Britain of the 1990's." Of course, the Conservatives, not the Labour party, won the 1983 elections. In his 1988 introduction to the American DC comics edition of the book, Moore addressed his earlier comments in light of actual political history: There is a certain amount of political inexperience upon my part evident in [the] earlier episodes. Back in 1981 the term 'nuclear winter' had not passed into common currency, and although my guess about climatic upheaval came pretty close to the eventual truth of the situation, the fact remains that the story to hand suggests that a nuclear war, even a limited one, might be survivable. To the best of my current knowledge, this is not the case. Naivete can also be detected in my supposition that it would take something as melodramitic as a near-miss nuclear conflict to nudge England towards fascism.... The simple fact that much of the historical background of the story proceeds from a predicted Conservative defeat in the 1982 General Election should tell you how reliable we were in our roles as Cassandras. Citing Margaret Thatcher's confidence in unbroken Conservative leadership "well into the next century," police vans with rotating video cameras mounted on top, and the circulating ideas in England of concentration camps for AIDS victims and the eradication of homosexuality "even as an abstract concept," Moore in 1988 obviously felt that, despite the fact that the Labor party didn't win the election. his other predictions were coming true. A Note on the Style of This Annotation In annotating this work, I have adopted a system that will allow the reader to follow each entry easily. The first number indicates the page on which the original entry may be found. The second number indicates the row, numbered from top to bottom; most pages have three rows of art, while some have fewer. Finally, the last number indicates the column, numbered from left to right. The prologue to Book Two is "sideways" but the same system applies if the reader turns the book as he or she would normally do to read the words. In formatting the file for ascii, I have used the convention of underline-spaces to indicate books, movies, and any case of underlineing in a quote, and asterisks to represent bold and italics in quotes. Before we get into this group of additions to the annotations of V for Vendetta, let's set forth the basis of a lot of them: the Illuminatus trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. (The latter has continued the Illuminatus series in separate books written without Shea, but the Trilogy is still the cornerstone of the series.) Alan Moore has obviously read these books, and probably related ones on the Illuminati, as in-jokes and / or references to them turn up not only in this series but in Watchmen and several other of his stories. However, not too many reviewers seem to have picked up on the Illuminati symbolism, so I'll try to list what I can of the references that pop up in his works. V himself is an Illuminatus symbol. The letter V, in Roman numerals, stands for 5, and thus his name invokes the Law of Fives from Illuminatus theory. As I understand it--and my understanding is very flawed!--the Law of Fives tends to posit that everything can be related somehow to the number 5, which is supposedly of mystical import. Also, V appears to have the aspect of an Illuminated One himself, being smarter, stronger, and more powerful than his foes. (Only when Officer Finch has had a drug-induced "illumination" experience himself is he able to understand part of V's thinking, and thus to destroy him.) Evey (whose name suggests the phrase "Eve V"--the Eve to V's Adam) undergoes a similar, though not drug-induced, "baptism" experience of illumination in issue #10. The DC editions of V for Vendetta have Roman numerals on them, with each one labelled "Vol. (X) of X". Thus, 5 issues (!) have a "V" in the number, and all issues have an "X"...possibly two V's meeting in the center, or a reflected V, or V times two, or an invocation of X as an unknown quantity. Or, perhaps, all or none of these. The propensity of V's as a motif in this series is, thus, a direct reference to Illuminati mythos. 7, -, - Europe After the Reign (title) The title of the first book refers to the painting "Europe After the Rains" by Max Ernst, and holds within it implications of climatic upheavals of the nuclear near-miss. "After the reign" certainly refers to the dissolution of the royalty with a certain ominous ring, just as the painting's title implies a great heaviness over the entire continent. The title page image, of a single gloved hand (which surely indicates cold weather) placing something heavy and black on the surface below, adds to the ominous nature. The painting, entitled "L'Europe apres la pluie," was created in 1940-42. It is described as "a funereal scene full of waste and putrefaction, peopled only by bestial creatures that wander around in solitude," (pg. 44-45) Ernst had been creating similar works which implied "the ruined, the fossilised and the lifeless; surfaces seem to be decayed, eaten away by acid and pierced by innumerable holes like the surface of a sponge," (pg. 44) for some time before WWII (works in the technique called decalomania date to 1936, 37, 40 -- really before the war? Where was he at this time? Being put into various camps, being relkeased, put back in, escaping, put back in, escaping, finally flees to America. (pg. 94)) but it was after his "premonition of war was translated into reality" that he fled to America. There, haunted by the memories of Europe torn apart, he created the composition also called "Europa nach dem Regen," which translates as Europe after the Rain or Europe after the Flood (pg. 44). Ernst was born in 1891 in Bruhl, south of Cologne, on the banks of the Rhine (pg 29). His paintings often describe "a world in which the history of mankind has been wholly erased by a cataclysmic event in the iniverse...or by the conscious act of revolution which has destroyed everything." (p.8). In 1925, his best friend Pual Eluard wrote about Ernst's mental attitude, "which sought to destroy all culture that was inherited or not the result of personal experience, as if it were a sort of sclerosis in Western society: 'There cannot be total revolution but only permanent revolution. Like love, it is the fundamental joy of life.'" (footnote pg. 8). Ernst participated in a Dada exhibitions where observers destroyed his art and viewed pieces nailed to walls and thrown on the ground. In order to reach the gallery of of the event, viewers passed through the lavatory of a beer house where a young girl dressed as a communicant recited lewd verse. The exhibit was closed on the charges of fraud (advertising it as art, which the perpretrators dismissed, commenting that it was advertised as Dada, which has nothing to do with art, and that it wasn't their fault if the public though it did) and obsenity (based on D|rer's engraving of Adam and Eve, which had been incorporated into one of Ernst's sculptures). It was subsequently reopened. According to the Hamlyn, the event was intended to embarrass and provoke the public (note, page 8). This element of drama and provocation is a thread that runs through _V_for_Vendetta_ as well. 9, 1, 1 The fifth of the eleventh... This is the first reference to Guy Fawkes day, the anniversary of the day when Guy Fawkes was caught in the basement of Parliament with a large amount of explosives. Fawkes was a Catholic extremist and a military hero who distinguished himself as a courageous and cooly determined soldier through his exploits fighting with the Spanish army in the Netherlands (Encyclopaedia Britannica 705). He was recruited by disgruntled Catholics who plotted to blow up Parliament and kill King James I. James had worked to institute a fine for people who refused to attend Anglican services (Encyclopaedia Britannica 571), adding to the oppression Catholics already suffered in England. One of the conspirators rented a house which shared part of it's cellar with Parliament, and the group filled the basement with gunpowder. Fawkes was chosen to start the fire, and was supposed to escape in the fifteen minutes before the explosion; if he could not escape, "he was quite ready to die in so holy a cause," (Williams 479). One of the conspirators had a friend in Parliament; he warned the friend not to attend the opening on the day choosen for the plot, and the paranoid King James immediately ferreted out the plot. Fawkes was caught in the basement with the match, and was tortured. He was executed directly across from Parliament on January 31, 1606. 9, 3, 2 _Utopia_ (book on shelf) This was Sir Thomas More's famous work of 1516 (Sargent 844), in which he outlined the "humane features of a decent, planned society," (Greer 307) a society of common property, liberality, equality, and tolerence (Greer 456). 9, 3, 2 _Uncle_Tom's_Cabin_ (book on shelf) Written by Harriet Beecher Stowe and published in 1852, this novel about the depressing life-styles of black slaves in the American South contributed greatly to popular anti- slavery sentiment (Foster 756-66). 9, 3, 2 _Capital_ (book on shelf) This was Karl Marx's magnum opus of 1867. It was his major treatise on politics, economy, humanity, society, and government; Tucker describes it as "the fullest expression of [Marx's] entire world-view," (x). 9, 3, 2 _Mein_Kampf_ (book on shelf) Nazi Leader Adolf Hitler's biographical proclamation of his beliefs, _Mein_Kampf_, or My Struggle, was written during his imprisonment following his first attempted coup against the Bavarian government in 1923 (Greer 512). Moore no doubt intended the irony of placing this work next to Marx's, as the ultra-right wing Nazi's were strong opponents of communism. 9, 3, 2 _Murder_in_the_Rue_Morgue_ (movie poster) This was a 1932 horrow film made for Universal. It was a substantial rewrite of the Edgar Allen Poe story, and starred Bela Lugosi, a famous horror star. It is about a series of terrible murders that turn out to be the work of a trained ape (Halliwell 678). This reference may contain some foreshadowing as to V's methods of disquising his attacks on the system, and his serial killer traits. 9, 3, 2 _Road_to_Morocco_ (movie poster) This 1942 Paramount film was one of a series of light romantic comedies starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope as two rich playboys who travel around the world having zany adventures (Halliwell 825). 9, 3, 2 _Son_of_Frankenstein_ (movie poster) The 1939 Universal horror film, Son of Frankenstein, was the last of the classic trio. It starred Boris Karloff, a famous horror-film actor, and involved the return of the Baron's son and his subsequent dabbling (Halliwell 906). 9, 3, 2 _White_Heat_ (movie poster) White Heat, made in 1949 for Warner, starred James Cagney. It plot involved a "violent, mother-fixated gangster" who finally falls after a government agent infiltrates his gang (Halliwell 1073). This may be another important foreshadow, as V, too, brings down the violent and disfunctional party leader by infiltrating his ranks. 10, 3, 3 ...make Britain great again. This is typically "nationalistic" sentiment. European nationalism, which traces its root to the Hundred Year's War (Greer 269-275), is the concept that each nation has a single common culture and history which, inevitably, is considered by that nation to be better than any other's. It was this sentiment, taken to its extremes, that drove Hitler's Nationalist Socialist (Nazi) Workers' Party to try to rid Germany of "non-Germans." (Wolfgang 246-249). 11, 3, 3 The Multiplying vilanies of nature do swarm upon him... This is a line spoken by the Sargeant in Act I, scene II, from Shakespeare's MacBeth (766). 11, 9/10 Has anyone picked up on Evey's invocation of "oh Jesus no please" followed, one panel later, by V's first apperance? V is Evey's deliverer from the Fingermen, an anti-messiah of sorts...hopefully not an antichrist! 11-13 V rescues Evey, who was going to attempt her first act of prostitution, from a mob of Fingermen. It might be stretching it to compare this scene to that of Christ's suggestion to a group of men who had brought an adulteress to Him that the one among them without sin should "cast the first stone". But, since the adulteress was misidentified in the public mind later as Mary Magdalene, this might cast Evey in that role...Magdalene to V's messiah, Eve to his Adam. "Eve V" again. 4/9, 10: Has anyone picked up on Evey's invocation of "oh Jesus no please" followed, one panel later, by V's first apperance? V is Evey's deliverer from the Fingermen, an anti-messiah of sorts...hopefully not an antichrist! 11 - 13: V rescues Evey, who was going to attempt her first act of prostitution, from a mob of Fingermen. It might be stretching it to compare this scene to that of Christ's suggestion to a group of men who had brought an adulteress to Him that the one among them without sin should "cast the first stone". But, since the adulteress was misidentified in the public mind later as Mary Magdalene, this might cast Evey in that role...Magdalene to V's messiah, Eve to his Adam. "Eve V" again. 13,9: V: "I'm...the black sheep of the family." Christ was called the Lamb of God, sacrificed for mankind's sins as sheep were sacrificed for an individual's sin in ancient Israel. V could be seen as Moore's Christ-figure here...or antichrist figure...and thus his statement gains symbolic weight. 14, 1, 1-2 "Remember, remember...the fifth of November, the Gunpowder treason and plot I know of no reason why the Gunpowder treason ever should be forgot." Law of Fives again. This is one version of a English children's rhyme. In searching for a corraborating poem, I searched through _The_Subject_Index_to_Poetry_for_Children_and_Young _People,_1957-1975_, which listed five collections of poems which included verses about Guy Fawkes (Smith and Andrews 267). One of these, _Lavender's_Blue_, included the following version from at least 1956: Please to remember the fifth of November Gunpowder, treason and plot I see no reason why gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot (Lines 161). The _Oxford_Dictionary_of_Quotations_ attributes this version to an anonymous broadsheet song from 1826 (Cubberlege 368), and the first two lines as being "traditional since 17th century," (Cubberlege 9). 14, 1, 2 Parliament blows up... In this scene, V has succeeded in doing what Fawkes failed; his and Evey's position opposite Parliament is probably significant, as it was opposite Parliament that Fawkes was hanged (Encyclopaedia Britannica 705). 14, 2, 2 The fireworks form the shape of a "V" This refers to the common practice of exploding fireworks on Guy Fawkes day as part of the celebration (_Encyclopaedia_Britannica_, p.705). It is likely also a reference to "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman" by Harlan Ellison (see discussion, below). 7/9: V: "There. The overture is finished. Come. We must prepare for the first act..." V is conscious (as is Moore) of using theatrical imagery in his work. (The cover of this issue, dominated by V's dressing-room mirror and his hung-up disguise and makeup, emphasizes this as well.) V uses Britain as his theater, the stage upon which he will enact his mystery play. Fittingly, this panel closes out Episode One. 14, 9 V: "There. The overture is finished. Come. We must prepare for the first act..." V is conscious (as is Moore) of using theatrical imagery in his work. (The cover of this issue, dominated by V's dressing-room mirror and his hung-up disguise and makeup, emphasizes this as well.) V uses Britain as his theater, the stage upon which he will enact his mystery play. Fittingly, this panel closes out Episode One. 15, 3, 1 England Prevails This sentiment sounds a lot like the thrust in a verse from James Thomson's 1740 play, _Alfred:_a_Masque_ (Act III, last scene): When Britain first, at heaven's command, Arose from out the azure main, This was the charter of the land, And guardian angels sung this strain: "Rule Britannia, rule the waves; Britons never will be slaves." (Cubberlege 545). 18, -, - Paintings (images) I have been unable to determine the artists or titles of the paintings on this page. 18, 2, 3 _Frankenstein_ (book on shelf) This is a famous science fiction/social commentary of 1818 by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. According to Inga-Stina Ewbanks, its "timeless theme" is that "of man creating what is beyond his power to control," (5). 18, 2, 3 _Gulliver's_Travels_ (book on shelf) This was a utopia novel written in 1726 by Jonathon Swift, an English social satyrist who lived most of his life in Ireland (Adler ix-x). 18, 2, 3 _Decline_and_Fall_of_ ...? (book on shelf) This work is probably meant to be Edward Gibbs' _The_History_of_the_Decline_and_Fall_of_the_Roman_Empire_, more commonly known simply as _The_Decline_and_Fall_of_the_Roman_Empire-. The six volume set was written between 1776 and 1788, and is considered on of the best histories ever written (Rexroth 596). 18, 2, 3 _Essays_of_Elia_Lamb_ (book on shelf) Elia, or Charles, Lamb first published his famous essays in the pages of London Magazine from 1820 to 1825, then collected into two volumes, published in 1923 and 1833. His essays are considered to be personal, sensative, and rich (Altick 686-87). 18, 2, 3 _Don_Quixote_ (book on shelf) This was a satiric novel about chivalry, written around 1600 (Adler ?) by Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes. Its hero was a caractatured romantic knight who is hopelessly idealistic (Greer 307). 18, 2, 3 _Hard_Times_ (book on shelf) Charles Dickens wrote this "single-minded attack on... industrialism" in 1854. It juxtaposes the serious and studious industrialists with a creative, fun circus that comes to the town in which the novel is set (Ewbanks 786). It probably would have appealed to V's sense of drama and its victory over the drab. 18, 2, 3 _French_Revolution_ (book on shelf) This volume could be any history of the French Revolution, which was faught between 1787 and 1792. 18, 2, 3 _Faust_ (book on shelf) Goethe's famous poem, _Faust_, was published beginning in 1808. It retold a Renaissance legend about a doctor who bargains with the devil for youth and power. The second part, published posthumosly, was a philosophical treatise in which Faust's soul is saved because he loves and serves both God and humanity, despite his errors. This Faust is considered to embody the "modern" human (Greer 426). 18, 2, 3 _Arabian_Nights_Entertainment_ (book on shelf) This book is a collection of folk stories originally from India, but which travelled through Persia and into Arabia. Although set in 8th-9th century Bagdad, they retain many more characteristics of 15th century Egypt, where they were formally transcribed (Wickens 164). 18, 2, 3 _The_Odessey_ (book on shelf) One of two epic Greek historical poems set around 800 B.C. and composed by Homer. Although Homer's identity is uncertain, and he may even be an archtypical character himself, his _Odyssey_ is an adventurous story about the return of Greek was heroes across rough seas (Greer 66). 18, 2, 3 _V_ (book on shelf) Thomas Pynchon's 1963 novel, _V_, is considered an important early "post-modern" work. It combined "bits of history, science, philosophy, and pop psychology," with paranoid characters and scientific metaphors. Pynchon's work is described as modulating "between the realms of 'high culture' and the pop underground of drugs and media culture," (Kadrey and McCaffery 19). This may be said of the Shadow Gallery, and of _V_for_Vendetta_ as a work, as well. 18, 2, 3 _Doctor_No_ (book on shelf) Ian Fleming, a former British intelligence agent, wrote this espionage novel in 1958. Fleming's novels were supposedly based on his real-life experiences as a spy (Reilly 320). 18, 2, 3 _To_Russia_With_Love_ (book on shelf) Another of Fleming's novels, this one was written in 1957 (Reilly 320). 18, 2, 3 _Illiad_ (book on shelf) Another poem by Homer, the _Illiad_, dealt with the violent, bloody Trojan War. 18, 2, 3 _Shakespeare_ (2 volumes) (book on shelf) Shakespeare was an Elizabethan playwrite whose dramas and sonnets are considered classic humanist Renaissance works (Greer 307). 18, 2, 3 _Ivanhoe_ (book on shelf) One of Sir Walter Scott's dramatic and romantic historical novel, _Ivanhoe_ was written in 1820 (Greer 425). 18, 2, 3 _The_Golden_Bough_ (book on shelf) James G. Frazer's exhaustive 13 vol. work on primative superstitions was first published in 1890. V's book shelf contains a single volume from the work. 18, 2, 3 _Divine_Comedy_ (book on shelf) This was a masterpiece of Italian literature by Dante Alighieri. Begun around 1306 and finished by Dante's death in 1321, it deals with the author's trip through the afterlife. 18, 3, 3 Martha and the Vandellas A Rhythm-and-Blues musical group, produced and distributed by the Motown record label between 1963 and 1972. They got their start as back-up singers for Marvin Gaye, another Motown star, and then launched a sucessful career as agressive and flamboyant performers. The song, "Dancing in the Streets," was released in 1964. (Sadie 178). 18, 3, 3 Motown Motown was an independant, African-American-owned record label based in Detroit, Michigan (Motortown). The word also describes the distinguishing pop-soul style of music that brought sucess to the label. This "Motown sound" drew on the blues, rhythm-and-blues, gospel, and rock, but unlike other African-American musical styles, it also relied on some of the practices of accepted Anglo-American popular music, and it muted some of the "more vigorous characteristics of Afro- American music and performance practices," (Sadie 283). 19, 1, 2 Tamla, Trojan Tamla Records was a subsidiary of Motown. Stevie Wonder was one of their biggest stars. "Trojan was formed as a subsidiary (which later went independent, I believe) of Island records and they focused on jamaican ska and reggea. Bob Marley recorded his best work, "Soul Rebels" and "Soul Revolution", for Trojan under the legendery production of Lee Perry (but that.s a whole other story)." 19, 1, 2 Billie Holiday A famous jazz singer, Billy Holiday was extremely popular with the politically left-wing white intellectuals in New York. She recorded with some of the jazz's greats, including Benny Goodman and Count Basie. She descended into a world of drugs, alcohol, and abuse, and died in 1959, at the age of 44 (Sadie 409-410). 19, 1, 2 Black Uhuru This group was one of the most famous reggae bands from Jamaica. They were formed in 1974 in Kingston (Sadie 46-47). Reggae is a distinctive Jamaican dance music, influenced both by Afro-Carribean music and by American Rhythm-and-Blues (Sadie 464). 19, 1, 2 ...his Master's Voice... RCA's motto pictured a dog staring into the bell of a gramaphone, an early phonograph record player. 19, 3, 3 Aden Aden was both another name for the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (South Yemen) and the country's capitol city. The country, which is now merged with North Yemen, occupied the Southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, south of Saudi Arabia. The British colonized it, and maintained partial rule there until the country became a Marxist republic in 1967 (Encyclopaedia Britannica 835). Although Prothero's age is not given, he appears to be around 50; it is likely that he was a soldier serving immediately before Yemen's revolution. Thus, he would have been a young man during the 1967 revolution, and around 40 during his years as a commander at the Larkhill Resettlement camp mentioned later in the book. 20, 2: Ted: "Jesus Christ! What the hell's that?" V, of course. Moore has his characters invoke Christ's name profanely a lot just before they meet V. I won't list every instance, but a look through the text shows that Moore is probably being deliberate by placing Christ's name in juxtaposition with V's appearances. 23, 3, 1 V in circle This symbol bears resemblance to Anarchy sign of A in circle, as well as Zorro's dramatic initial (Stolz 60). 24, 1, 2 Violet Carson rose The Violet Carson is a hybrid rose introduced in 1963 (Coon 201) or 1964 (Modern Roses 7 432) by S. McGredy. It is a yellow-blend Floribunda rose, created by crossing the 'Mme Leon Cuny' with the 'Spartan.' It is described as salmon colored, with cream (Coon 201) or silver (Modern Roses 7 432) under the petals, and is a hardy and free-blooming bush. It does not seem to be a very common variety, listed in publications by serious rose societies but not in books aimed at the casual reader, so it is uncertain as to how Finch would recognize it immediately. 25, 1, 3 _The_Cat_ (movie poster) The poster for a film called _The_Cat_ hanging on the wall appears to depict a man holding a gun. The only film I could find with this title, however, was a 1973 French drama about the uncommunicative relationship between a bitter trapeze star and her husband (Halliwell 168). 25, 1, 3 _Klondike_Annie_ (movie poster) A 1936 Paramount film, _Klondike_Annie_ starred Mae West as a "torch singer on the run" who, disguised as a missionary, revitalizes a mission in the Klondike (Halliwell 542). Some of the films depicted in the posters appear to have appealed to V for purely entertainment purposes. This one, however, may give the reader a clue about V's character. He is likewise on the run, disguised, and will try to revitalize the whole nation. 25, 1, 3 _Monkey_Business_ (movie poster) This 1931 Marx brother's film made for Paramount featured the antics of four stowaways on a ship who crash an on-board society party, where they "catch a few crooks," (Halliwell 666). This is another clue, as V is a stowaway in the social system, crashes the system, and catches plenty of antagonists. 25, 1, 3 _Waikiki_Wedding_ (movie poster) Waikiki Wedding was made in 1937 for Paramount. Its plot involves a press agent who is in Hawaii to promote a Pineapple Queen contest (Halliwell 1050). 26, 2 Jane Russell from a Western movie in the background. Don't know which picture. 26, 3, 2 Save A Whale (t-shirt) Because of threatened extinction of whales, many people in the 1970's began to wear t-shirts and pins proclaiming that one should "save a whale." This sentiment has come to be associated with "liberal" politics and environmentalism. 27, 1, 1 ...when Labour got into power... According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the British Labour Party is a reformist socialist party with strong institutional and financial ties to trade unions. In January 1981, due to vast internal changes, the Labor Party leader elected was Michael Foot, a militant socialist who's policies included "unilateral nuclear disamament, nationalization of key industries, union power, and heavy taxation," (82), just as Moore described in "Behind the Painted Smile" (271) 27, 1, 1 ...President Kennedy... The implication is that the President of the United States is either Ted Kennedy, a democratic senator and nephew to the former president John F. Kennedy, or John Kennedy, jr, the former president's son. 28, 2, 1 Norsefire This is probably the name of the state party, as flags and uniforms all display large N's. "Norse" derives from the Norsemen or Vikings of the Scandinavia countries who invaded Europe in the 5th and 6th (Greer 183). They were fierce, strong, and "aryan" -- the blonde, blue-eyed "ideal" population fetishized by Hitler's Nazi Party (Greer 513-514). The choice of this image helps to identify the government's politics. 28, 6 Label on the box of matches Evey is packing: "Lucifer." Of course, there's the obvious metaphor for the "devil"-system V is fighting against, but it also invokes William Blake's "dark Satanic mills" metaphor for industrial age England. Lucifer mean light-bringer (from latin lux (light) and ferre (to carry). 28, 7 Evey: "That's how it was for four years..." And in the fifth year of her employment, she meets V. 31, 2, 3 The Tupenny Rush Tuppenny is slang for a two-penny piece, or a tuppence (Partridge, _Unconventional_, 916). Most slang definitions of "rush" involve swindels or robbery, especially the extortion of money by quick talking, which does not allow the victim to think. Thus, the "tupenny rush" is likely a reference to such a swindle. 31, 2, 3 The Penny Dreadful Coined in the Pall Mall Gazette in 1892, the phrase was used to describe any sensational tale; after 1910, it referred especially to cheap and sensational novels (Partridge, _Historical_, 679). 31, 2, 3 All the world's a stage This is a quote from Shakespeare's play _As_You_Like_It_, Act II, scene vii. (Bartlett 211). 33, 3, 1 darkies The term "darkies" refers to any people of color. It's origin is American, circa 1775; it was anglicized by 1840 (Partridge, _Unconventional_, 208) 33, 3, 1 Nancy boy "Nancy" was 19th and 20th century slang for effiminate men or "catamites," young boys kept for "unnatural purposes"(Partridge, _Historical_, 610), and refers here to homosexuals. 33, 3, 1 Beatniks "Beatniks" were bohemian artists and poets who, during the 1940's and 1950's, romanticized the "negro" culture. As a rule, they listened to jazz music, wrote avant garde poetry, and held politically leftist (Marxist) opinions. The term was coined 1958, by San Francisco journalist Herb Caen (Alfonso 7), and was probably partially derived from the jazz term "beat," which refers to rhythm, with the Yiddish perjorative suffix "-nik" added on (Partridge, _Unconventional_, 1000). However, "beat generation" member Jack Keroac coined the root term, beat, in 1949; he insisted it came from the word "beatific," (Alfonso 7). 37, 3 "My name is Adam Susan. I am the leader." The ultimate villain of the piece is named Adam, and V, Moore's Christ-figure, is his nemesis. Adam's sin is Facism, V will deliver Britain from it, but only at the cost of his life. 41, 3, 3 "O Beauty, 'til now I never knew thee..." A Shakespeare (mis)quote from King Henry VIII, Act 1 Sc 4. (found by Paul Kelly) 42, 2, 3 ...take five. The popular expression for taking a break comes from a show business phrase, although Union Laws now require ten minute breaks (Sergal 219). 44, 1, 1 Painting (image) "The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian", by the brothers Piero and Antonio del Pollaiuolo. http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/cgi-bin/WebObjects.dll/CollectionPublisher.woa/wa/work?workNumber=NG292 Saint Sebastian is the patron saint of soldiers and enemies of religion, among others. Interesting, considering that V is planning the murder of Bishop Lilliman. http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/saints03.htm (found by Paul Kelly) 47, 3 "She says she's fifteen, your grace." Actually, Evey is 16...this invokes the five motif again. Also, since Evey is playing a role for V's purposes here, her appearance with the Bishop might be an invocation of the British joke-couple, the Actress and the Bishop. 47, 2, 2 Mea Culpa This is latin for "I confess," or "the guilt is mine," (Jones 69). 48, 2, - Bring me my bow of burning gold, Bring me my arrows of desire, Bring me My spear, O clouds unfold, Bring me my chariot of fire...I will not cease from mental flight Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand 'Till we have built Jerusalem In England's green and pleasant land. This is part of William Blake's poem, "And Did Those Feet," from the preface to his collection _Milton_. Blake's preface to this work was a call for Christians to condemn the classical writings of Homer, Ovid, Plato, and Cicero, and to instead revere the Bible. He declared "We do not want either Greek or Roman Models," in England; rather, he said, his fellow Christians should strive to create "those Worlds of Eternity in which we shall live for ever," (MacLagan and Russell xix). V is, in his way, trying to create his idea of Jerusalem, a free world, in England. 54, 2, 2 "Please allow me to introduce myself. I'm a man of wealth and taste" These are the opening lines from "Sympathy for the Devil" by the rock group, the Rolling Stones, released in 1968. 55, 3, 3 "I am the Devil, and I come to do the devil's work," This phrase was reportedly uttered by Tex Watson of the Charles Manson gang when he committed the first of the murders at the Roman Polanski estate, whose victims included Sharon Tate. 56, 2, 1-2 The Lord is my shepherd: therefore I can lack nothing; He shall feed me in green pasture and lead me forth beside the waters of comfort. He shall convert my soul and bring me forth in the paths of righteousness, for His name's sake... This seems to be a strange version of the 23rd Psalm from the biblical book of Psalms. It is nothing like the common King James standard version: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. (Bartlett 18) I looked through several bibles and discovered that each had a different version. One fairly common version, from the standard _Holy_Bible_ (Catholic version) reads: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. (310) Another version had been rewritten into rhyming verse by Sir Phillip Sidney and his sister, the Countess of Pembroke. Still another example, from the Bay Balm Book, dated to 1640 and had been rendered very difficult to read. The Septuagint Bible, which is a translation from Greek of "the oldest version of the old testament," offered still another reading. There seems to be a different translation of the _Bible_ for every sect and branch of Christianity not to mention numerous "plain" or "modern" English versions, and I was unable to determine the origin of this version. 2 plus 3 equals 5, or V. (In case this seems like far- fetched reasoning, let me point out that the Illuminatus trilogy indulges in lots of such thin numerology.) 60, 3 Bishop talking to V: "Oh God, who are you? Who are you really?" V: "I am the Devil, and I come to do the devil's work." Finch: "That's a quote, that bit about the devil's work. Famous murder case, nearly twenty years ago now." The quote is from Tex Watson, a member of Charlie Manson's Family. He allegedly said it just before committing the first murder at the Roman Polanski estate. (Ironically enough, Watson is now a Christian minister.) 68, 3, 1 The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton is a real book. It is about the adventures of some children in mysterious lands with the fairy folks. It all begins with two children who found a magic tree that has different lands on the top of it everyday. The folks living on the tree, Saucepan man, Moonface, Silky, Dame Washalot, etc. are all very cute and interesting characters. 73, 1, 3 I heard of an experiment once... The experiment, which was not quite as dramatic as is described here, was conducted at Yale University in 1963 by Stanley Milgram. The volunteers did not actually believe they were killing the victims, and 65% (26 of 40 volunteers) continued to administer what they believed to be dangerous, severe shocks to thier victim (Milgram 376). 76-77 Derek Almond should be able to blow V away here, but isn't, because he wasn't smart enough to reload his gun after playing Russian Roulette on his wife earlier with the gun unloaded. Only an illuminated one (like Finch, in a later issue) will be able to kill V. Derek is literally and metaphorically unenlightened. 78, 2, 2 Christmas Eve, and, for a present, Finch gets Dr. Burridge's diary. Since it gives him the information about V's origin, it's not a bad gift at all. 80, 2, 3 ...the Pituarin/Pinearin mixture... I could find no information on either substance, however I thought that they would be artificial drugs used to stimulate/simulate the output of the pituartary(sp?) and pineal glands. http://www.magnet.ch/serendipity/mcclay/pineal.shtml has loads on the pineal gland, especially in conjunction with LSD and the effects on serotonin output. As far as I can make out the serotonin bridges the synaptic gap, thus increased output would possibly speed the reactions. Fraid that I couldn't find anything on the pituartary off hand, although again it may have some bearing on V's abilities. 80, 3, 1 Dr. Burridge's diary is a five-year diary. But of course. The events of V for Vendetta begin in the fifth year after V's "origin". 81, 3, 1 ...he's sorted out the whitefly and it looks like being a good yield. White flies, or Aleyrodidae, are a pest that cause problems with many food plants (Chittenden 72). Thus, V dealt with the whitefly problem. Donald Crane, under the effect of Burridge's drug, grows four extra nipples, and Rita Boyd has four vestigial fingers in the calf of her leg. Not five, for either of them: neither can become V. 81, 3, 3 ammonia-based fertilizer Some fertilizers contain ammonia, which, in the presence of the correct bacteria, can be broken down into nitrates and used by plants (Chittenden 99). Nitrogenous fertilisers, when mixed with diesel oil can create a powerful if crude explosive. I have heard that this was first discovered in rural Germany at the turn of the century when farm workers dumped a load of diesel oil unto a compost or silage heap which later caught fire and exploded several nearby buildings. The provisional IRA were also fond of using home made 'fertiliser bombs' to attack British army forts in Ulster during the 70's and 80's. They were favoured because all the ingredients can be purchased legally and are simple farming materials. 82, 1, 2 grease solvent I believe this is referring to a kind of pesticide which is contained in petroleum-based solvents (Sive C204). V's origin takes place on Christmas Day, four years ago to the day from this point in the story. Now V can begin the fifth year of his work, after having dealt out his justice to those who victimized the "patients" at Larkhill. 83, 2, 2 mustard gas This gas was created for chemical warfare purposes during WWI. It causes severe blistering and eye irritation. It's chemical structure is (ClCH2CH2)2S (b,b- dichloro-ethyl sulfide) (Encyclopedia Americana 679). 83, 2, 3 napalm Napalm is a gasoline-based explosive derived during WWII (Encyclopedia Americana 724). I am not certain whether one could make either Napalm or mustard gas from gardening ingredients. So called 'home made napalm' is commonly considered to consist of diesel oil or petrol, sugar, polystyrene flakes (or other similar material) and washing up liquid (again or other similar product).
© by Ralf Hildebrandt
This document contains links to external information sources that I do neither monitor nor control. I explicitly disclaim any liabilities in respect to external references.
You are getting this document without any guarantees. Any methods shown above are meant as demonstration and may be wrong in some place. You may damage your system if you try to follow my hints and instructions. You do this at your own risk!
This file was last modified 25. Aug 2009 by root