Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dr. Manhattan

I agree with both of you that this book is difficult to discuss as you're reading it, but I was wondering if I'm totally out of line in thinking Dr. Manhattan is obnoxious. I thought he was pretty cool until I read Chapter IV. As I was reading that chapter I asked Paul about what he thought (he's a little bit ahead of me at the moment), and he agreed with me.

People who don't accept responsibility for their actions and always act the victim of their circumstances really bother me. Sure his dad didn't want him to be a watchmaker. Sure he didn't choose to become Dr. Manhattan, both in body and name. But it seems to me a childish and wimpy thing to do to blame everything that's ever happened to you on other people. The fact that he's the most powerful being alive due to accidental circumstances explains some of it. But Dr. Manhattan was like that before he ever became Dr. Manhattan. On page 5 of Chapter IV he says, "That happens to me a lot. Other people seem to make all my moves for me." Am I the only one that finds this sentiment repulsive? Claiming you have no control over your actions makes you seem more like an animal than a human being. Anyway, I'm interested to see where Dr. Manhattan's story goes. As of now, though, I don't like him very much as a person.

Aside from that, I thought Chapter IV was very cool from a literary standpoint. It was intriguing how the skewed timeline and juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated events told a different story altogether. I understand how this was such a groundbreaking novel. I'm really enjoying it. :)


Lisa said...

Well, I am relating to the Comedian the most. Yes, the rapist and baby mama murderer.

I think it's because everyone else seems to whine about right and wrong and then thinks that beating people up is a reasonable response. He sees right and wrong, doesn't give a crap, and does what's best for him. But he doesn't glorify what he's doing. He just does it 'cause he wants to.

On Dr. Manhattan - I think his detachment and preoccupation with fate can be read as something that happened after his accident/change into a superhero. If you view time as an unchangeable medium we move through and can see past, present, and future all at once, then there is no possibility of altering what happens. And he's not even human - he's something else, so expecting him to relate to things the way we do seems unlikely.

I still don't like Laurie. Her mom as an old lady was pretty funny, though.

Ok - book goes to Ecuador! I think I will fail at getting to post a lot while I'm down there, but I will finish it and write lots when I come back. :-)

Petey said...

I'm glad you're both liking it; and I'm a little disturbed by Lisa relating to the comedian... : )

At the end of chapter IV, the insert from "Dr. Manhattan: Super-Powers and Superpowers" reminds me a bit of your comment, Lisa, in that people are always espousing peace, or some sort of utopia, then amass weapons, or foster violence. Isn't this completely true of the real world, non just an alternate 1985? The technological advances or our society have always outweighed our ethical ones, in my opinion.

And when you add religion and greed to the mix, you get Iraq.

Anyway, back to Dr. Manhattan. I can see where you're coming from, Jennie. He does seem to place blame, at least in the past, for where he ended up. But I think as the present all-powerful individual he is, he is simply looking back on the moment that changed his course and brought him to this space and time; one he knew was coming anyway.

Dr. Manhattan seems, initially to show some emotion, for example when the Comedian shoots preggers. But as time has passed he does seem to get farther and farther away from how the rest of humanity thinks or feels.

I like his line about accepting that he doesn't feel hot or cold anymore. I think you can take it not just physically but as an emotional indication too. He's seeing such a big picture, that its hard to be concerned about the tiny details.

My opinion, at any rate.