Friday, August 15, 2008

Discussion Questions and the Like...

I only have a minute, but thanks Lisa for jumping on into a discussion on this. I want to discuss Laurie more, because I definitely came at her with a different perspective, but neither am I a woman so I'm curious to talk more on that. But! Since I'm short on time, here's some curiosities I have for you. Pick and choose, or come up with whatever you want to discuss.

Firstly, did you like it?

Second, strictly from a plot p.o.v. what did you think? Did you know where it was going?(Admittedly I was surprised by where the story was going; I liked the play on the traditional form.)

Do you think Viedt's plan would work, particularly looking at the world he was trying to fix? What do you think of Viedt and Jon's discussion at the end?

Lisa already jumped in on this subject, but this is definitely a character heavy piece, so who did you like, or hate, and why. All of these characters are responding to things in their world around them, what do you think of their motivations?

Third, and my favorite, tell me thematically what you pulled from this book. Is it an accurate representation (if fictionalized) of our world and society (super hero stuff aside, naturally)? What does it say about us as humans? Or about our future? Do you agree? Can you make any parallels to our modern world?

Talk to me about tone, about parts you liked, about anything, really. Why do you think this book is considered significant. Jennie, are you glad I made you read it? What do you think about it in relation to other "super hero" stories, or films. Do you think the film can capture it well enough to be worthwhile?

Tell me tell me tell me!

Lisa, I have more to respond to your comments, but it'll have to wait until after work. Until then...


Lisa said...

I will respond to this soon! I'm been resisting posting a comment that said that, because I felt like I should just answer the questions instead of stating that I intended to, but I am swamped, and I don't think I'll get to write before Friday. Maybe though! I am excited to respond, I just started taking two classes and - well a bunch of other stuff that's not a big deal but compounded means I suck at posting right now.

Jennie, get in here! I'm looking bad! :-)

Jennie said...

Why do you think you're looking bad, Lisa? If anyone's looking bad it's me, since I have failed at commenting or posting anything intelligent at all lately. ;)

I'm definitely glad you made us read it Peter, because I'm almost certain I would never have picked it up on my own. It was very fascinating as a whole, and the new experience of reading a graphic novel was quite interesting. I was impressed with the way the author took advantage of the aspects absolutely unique to the medium of the graphic novel (illustrations, dialog, the size of each cell, tiny graphic details, quotes, breaks in continuity, font style and size etc.). I'm very glad I read it.

I don't know why I've struggled with commenting on this book. I think I kinda had to distance myself from it as soon as I finished it. I read the end on the plane coming back from New York, and as soon as I finished it I slammed it closed, said "No way!" to Paul, and put it away. I guess I'm really not a fan of the way it ended. More on that later.

So, I agree with you, Peter, that this novel is character driven. All the characters were very human, but I think the focus was a little too much on negative human traits (greed, lust, violence, selfishness, etc). There didn't seem to be many redeeming qualities in any of the characters. Moore painted a very dark picture of human civilization, and I think it was definitely intentional. I liked Laurie’s mom—she was funny and down to earth. :) I thought Nightowl was whiny and annoying. I related to Rorschach...until it became apparent just how psycho he actually was. I’ve already told you what I thought about Doc Manhattan.

One thing I really liked about the novel was the idea of human superheros--regular everyday people with a slightly unusual thing for wearing a costume wanting to make a difference. The idea of costumed vigilantes is an interesting one. We see them a lot in literature and movies…but not in mainstream real life. The people that dress up are thought of as freaks and oddballs, mostly socially inept outcasts. We like to watch them on the big screen, but we don’t want to see them at the grocery store or the gas station. What do you guys think? I think this was definitely a recurring theme in Watchmen. Costumed heroes had been outlawed, and the kinkiness of people that like to dress up was brought up numerous times. Interesting.

I think Viedt's plan would work in the world he lived in. Fortunately, I think a world like that does not exist and never will. I also bristle at the idea of people playing God in that way and taking such matters into their own hands. That particular belief of mine comes from the LDS doctrine of righteous stewardship, as either of you might guess. So, take that as you may.

Which brings me back to the end of the book. It was definitely unexpected, that’s for sure. I’m interested to see how audiences react to the movie next year, because it will be unlike any superhero movie they have ever seen. It may not go over too well. We shall see. Anyway, I know you both may think I need a book to have a happy ending in order for me to like it, but I’m convinced this is not the case. It is most definitely easier for me to accept an ending when everyone’s happy and the problem has been solved. I guess I’m na├»ve and silly that way. (Granted there are exceptions—Breaking Dawn was WAY over the top. It’s also not serious literature.) But with endings that don’t tie everything up neatly with a bow and leave everyone happy…I’m picky. I was left unsatisfied and uneasy when this book ended. Again, this was probably intentional on Moore’s part.

In conclusion? Well, I guess I can’t really say I *liked* the book, but I don’t think we were necessarily supposed to find it likable. It is good literature. It helped me see things in a different way. It opened my eyes to the way the world is for some people. It got me thinking. All these things mean that reading it was a good experience.

Jennie said...

Oh! And I really think the movie is really going to be true to the book. It was rather exciting to see everything I read and saw in the book turned into a live-action movie. Paul and I were both gaping when we saw the trailer on the big screen before The Dark Knight. But, like I said, I don't think the audience (that hasn't already read the book) will get what they're expecting. And I'm not sure there's any way to fix that.

Lisa said...

I think one thing that frustrated me was how little we knew/learned about Ozymandias. There was a definite deus ex machina feeling at the end, like he just popped up and bombed NYC and ended the story. I was like . . . what? Who is this dude? Why does he get to wrap everything up?

Also, for the record, crazy externalities only temporarily solve foreign diplomacy issues. Eg., 9/11. And if you have a man in charge whose mother was only partially successful in drowning him as a baby, and therefore suffered massive brain cell loss and the inability to identify shades of gray, it's REALLY temporary.

Petey said...

Amen to that one sister.

Actually, one of the things I noticed the second time through was all the Ozymandias signatures on things (metaphorically of course). I felt, knowing what I was looking forward to in the course of the story, I noticed a lot subtle information about him, even though we were almost never given it first hand until then end.

But that could be me.

Still, there is a bit of deus ex machina, fo' shore. And you're right, Laurie doesn't acurately represent womankind as a whole. I was only looking at her from a narrow, individualistic approach.

And personally, I think our world is a lot like the one they show. Sure, maybe not the specific conditions, but the general human condition seems rampant.

Maybe I'm just a pessimist.

Jennie, did Paul read it, by the by?

Jennie said...

Yeah, he did! :) He finished it before me, actually. I kept trying to make him comment, but he says he doesn't have anything valuable to add.

Petey said...

Well we wanna know what he though too... tell him his opinion is valuable as well and since i'm the only male commenting, i want some of his feedback to even the score.