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 Post subject: Rorschach "Unmasked"
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:11 pm 
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Something I noticed, this photo:

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Is often referred to as Rorschach "Unmasked". Well think about this,

Quote:
...Was reborn then, free to scrawl own design on this normally blank world. Was Rorschach


Quote:
...It was Kovacs who said "mother" then, muffled under latex. It was Kovacs who closed his eyes. It was Rorschach who opened them again.


That photo isn't Rorschach unmasked. That's Rorschach wearing a disguise.

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 Post subject: Re: Rorschach "Unmasked"
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:37 pm 
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Of course it is....

Casual readers, Non-fans and Random movie reviewers arent familiar with this aspect of the story.

Hence.


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 Post subject: Re: Rorschach "Unmasked"
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:43 pm 
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I would say it's not so much Rorschach unmasked but it's just Walter Kovacs, who doesn't want to be Walter Kovacs but, here, he is forced to be Walter Kovacs until Rorschach can make Walter go away again. Walter is not Rorschach's mask.
Rorschach doesn't have a mask. Doesn't need one. He has a face.

Rorschach is someone else. Rorschach never died at Karnac.
Walter Kovacs did.

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 Post subject: Re: Rorschach "Unmasked"
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 5:19 am 
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Last edited by People Must Be Told. on Sat Jan 30, 2010 5:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Rorschach "Unmasked"
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 8:02 am 
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It's Rorschach. Only Rorschach.


That doesn't really explain his discomfort with losing his mask, though, or his over whelming desire to get it back as fast as he can. If he felt just as much Rorschach with out it then why is he so desperate to retrieve it? Is he afraid if he's without it too long he'll turn back into Walter perhaps?

And why take if off before he is killed if he sees no difference? Is he saying goodbye to Rorschach? Does he want to make it as hard as possible for Dr. Manhattan?
Does he see it as Walter dies but Rorschach lives on somehow?

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 Post subject: Re: Rorschach "Unmasked"
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 10:19 am 
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Minutemarch wrote:
And why take if off before he is killed if he sees no difference? Is he saying goodbye to Rorschach? Does he want to make it as hard as possible for Dr. Manhattan?
Does he see it as Walter dies but Rorschach lives on somehow?


When asked about that scene, Moore said that he doesn't know the reason why. It just felt right for that scene. Wish I could remember where this interview is...

But it does feel like it has a specific purpose. I was surprised when I read what Moore said...

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 Post subject: Re: Rorschach "Unmasked"
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 10:55 am 
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Minutemarch wrote:
That doesn't really explain his discomfort with losing his mask, though, or his over whelming desire to get it back as fast as he can. If he felt just as much Rorschach with out it then why is he so desperate to retrieve it? Is he afraid if he's without it too long he'll turn back into Walter perhaps?

In the joint, everyone knows he's Rorschach even without his trademark costume so his reputation remains intact and he feels empowered to act accordingly; he has to as a matter of simple survival since he's surrounded by cons who want a piece of him.

Out on the streets, it's a different story. His fearsome rep means everything, it's what enables Rorschach to walk into a lowlife bar and snap fingers with impunity without anyone standing up to him... so long as he looks like Rorschach (including the extra height afforded by elevator shoes), the scourge of the underworld. A short, 'fascinatingly ugly' freckled ginger vagrant would hardly instill anything approaching the same level of fear let alone get away with acting like that. Stripped of the mystery afforded him by his 'face' as he chooses to call it, Rorschach knows he wouldn't last five minutes on the streets hence his need to get back into his spare outfit as soon as possible after his escape from jail before recommencing where he left off.

Minutemarch wrote:
And why take if off before he is killed if he sees no difference? Is he saying goodbye to Rorschach? Does he want to make it as hard as possible for Dr. Manhattan?
Does he see it as Walter dies but Rorschach lives on somehow?

All of these can be (and have been) put forward as valid arguments in addition to the one that suggests that by the time of his death, Rorschach has at last recaptured at least some of his humanity, evidenced by his expession when he confronts his landlady in Chap. 10 and sees himself as a scared kid reflected in her children's eyes. He removes the mask so he can die as a man and not a monster.

Ticonderoga wrote:
When asked about that scene, Moore said that he doesn't know the reason why. It just felt right for that scene. Wish I could remember where this interview is...

From a 2000 interview over at blather.net, Moore's own take on the unmasking:

Speaking of Rorschach, he takes off his mask to face death at the end. I only noticed that reading it again recently. Has he had some kind of psychological epiphany, or - ?
AM -I'm not sure, I'm not sure, it just seemed right. I mean, a lot of these things you just - I kind of felt that's what he'd do. I don't know, I don't know why. I couldn't logically say why the character should do that but it just felt right. At the end this is not the mask talking, it's not Rorschach, it's the actual human being that is somewhere under there.


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 Post subject: Re: Rorschach "Unmasked"
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:07 pm 
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Quote:
In the joint, everyone knows he's Rorschach even without his trademark costume so his reputation remains intact and he feels empowered to act accordingly; he has to as a matter of simple survival since he's surrounded by cons who want a piece of him.


Good point. That does seem the most likely explanation.

I think he also took it so hard because it wasn't a matter of choice. It was ripped away from him.
Other times he appears without the mask it was his decision to take of off.
And here is my next question.

Is it Walter at the news stand? Is it Walter walking around with the sign? Bearing in mind he has chosen to take off the mask when we see him like this and his whole demeanor changes when he chooses to take it off so that when we see Walter? In prison, I note now, there is none of the awkward mumbling and clumsy social interaction we see in the doomsday profit. He has all of Rorschach's confidence. It is the only time we see him without the mask he is like this.

Do you think, then, he can or does switch between the two but can only do it by choice, when he feels like it but not when forced?

Quote:
Stripped of the mystery afforded him by his 'face' as he chooses to call it, Rorschach knows he wouldn't last five minutes on the streets hence his need to get back into his spare outfit as soon as possible after his escape from jail before recommencing where he left off.


Hmmm, implies he was confident of his escape if he wanted to waste no time getting it back.
He had just gone into prison and we already concerned about how he'd be in danger on the streets. I guess there was also the issue for him that some of these criminals would eventually be released and he did walk the city unmasked too. Though, by that point, the damage had been done. He'd already been seen so I guess putting the mask on then wouldn't achieve much.

Quote:
Speaking of Rorschach, he takes off his mask to face death at the end. I only noticed that reading it again recently. Has he had some kind of psychological epiphany, or - ?
AM -I'm not sure, I'm not sure, it just seemed right. I mean, a lot of these things you just - I kind of felt that's what he'd do. I don't know, I don't know why. I couldn't logically say why the character should do that but it just felt right. At the end this is not the mask talking, it's not Rorschach, it's the actual human being that is somewhere under there.


That's what I felt too. It was the human talking. In his last moments he goes back to his humanity. But he's not the first writer who's been asked a question like this and has been only able to say "it just felt right." The writer is a wiley beast and the muse more so it seems.

Makes more fun for us trying to figure it out I guess!

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 Post subject: Re: Rorschach "Unmasked"
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:19 pm 
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Ticonderoga wrote:
Minutemarch wrote:
And why take if off before he is killed if he sees no difference? Is he saying goodbye to Rorschach? Does he want to make it as hard as possible for Dr. Manhattan?
Does he see it as Walter dies but Rorschach lives on somehow?


When asked about that scene, Moore said that he doesn't know the reason why. It just felt right for that scene. Wish I could remember where this interview is...

But it does feel like it has a specific purpose. I was surprised when I read what Moore said...


I felt like before his death, it was Kovacs speaking, not Rorschach. He was essentially on the verge of tears and his voice was...just plain sentimental. It lacks the roughness...and also, would Rorschach cry? No, I doubt it. And would Rorschach just let himself be killed ("Do it")? Again, doubtful.

I don't know if Rorschach necessarily died then, but I think the whole "Adrien just screwed the world over" ordeal really shook him up and brought Kovacs out one last time.


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 Post subject: Re: Rorschach "Unmasked"
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:33 pm 
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Minutemarch wrote:
Is it Walter at the news stand? Is it Walter walking around with the sign? Bearing in mind he has chosen to take off the mask when we see him like this and his whole demeanor changes when he chooses to take it off so that when we see Walter? In prison, I note now, there is none of the awkward mumbling and clumsy social interaction we see in the doomsday profit. He has all of Rorschach's confidence. It is the only time we see him without the mask he is like this.

Here I cite Rorschach's journal entry at V.11.3 with regard to his mask:
First, peeled off face, folded it, hid inside jacket. Without my face, nobody knows. Nobody knows who I am.
...the inference I read into that being, as far as Rorschach is concerned, who he is is Rorschach all the time, with or without the mask.

The awkward mumbling of the sign bearing vagrant to which you refer is all part of the act, allowing him to wander the streets seeing and hearing all without attracting so much as a second glance.

This facade then becomes unnecessary once in jail because, to reiterate my original point, everybody knows he's Rorschach just minus costume which doesn't make him any less of a target but even more of one if anything.


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 Post subject: Re: Rorschach "Unmasked"
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 10:23 pm 
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well if Rorschach takes it off himself and has it with him then he feels ok with having it off because it's still with him, but when he gets arrested it was forced off and taken away, he feels uncomfortable and he gets pissed and wants his face back.


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 Post subject: Re: Rorschach "Unmasked"
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:21 pm 
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well, in a way, Rorschach does live on (the journal).

but what i feel is that Rorschach finally compromised when he realized it was either life or death, having never really been in the situation himself before that. it was usually Rorschach in control. take the bar scenes for example. Rorschach questions, breaks fingers, gets answers. same with Gerald Grice. kills dogs, locks up the bastard, kills him. in the final moments, there was no controlling state for him, so he had no other choice but to compromise. in the end, he finally became what he had always said what he wouldn't be. the deconstruction of the superhero into just another human. just one more body amongst the foundation.


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 Post subject: Re: Rorschach "Unmasked"
PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:01 am 
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Quote:
Here I cite Rorschach's journal entry at V.11.3 with regard to his mask:
First, peeled off face, folded it, hid inside jacket. Without my face, nobody knows. Nobody knows who I am.
...the inference I read into that being, as far as Rorschach is concerned, who he is is Rorschach all the time, with or without the mask


Hmmm, yes. I see. So he has totally smothered Walter with Rorschach, until the point of death anyway. I get the whole "mask as face" thing but I also considered that, maybe, he could switch back and forth between the two persons.

Quote:
The awkward mumbling of the sign bearing vagrant to which you refer is all part of the act, allowing him to wander the streets seeing and hearing all without attracting so much as a second glance.


That grates me a bit. Rorschach participating in deliberate and effective artifice? I don't know... Maybe, if he feels it's for the cause.
He takes of the mask (and his lifts) as a practicality and I wonder if his mannerism change in the same way a woman in a dress moves differently that a woman in jeans. Whether, perhaps, he acts different because he feels different? Not Walter, perhaps, but a different Rorschach and maybe it isn't all deliberate act? Maybe it's a sense memory. He knows what it's like to be an odd little vagrant. Surely it's not that hard for him to slip back into those mannerisms.
A throw back more than a wholly new creation.
Maybe it is deliberate but he seems more straight forward and less calculating than that to me.


WJK wrote:
well, in a way, Rorschach does live on (the journal).

but what i feel is that Rorschach finally compromised when he realized it was either life or death, having never really been in the situation himself before that. it was usually Rorschach in control. take the bar scenes for example. Rorschach questions, breaks fingers, gets answers. same with Gerald Grice. kills dogs, locks up the bastard, kills him. in the final moments, there was no controlling state for him, so he had no other choice but to compromise. in the end, he finally became what he had always said what he wouldn't be. the deconstruction of the superhero into just another human. just one more body amongst the foundation.


See, I felt he died because he wouldn't compromise. But you are saying in those last moments, is the only time we see Walter and that is his compromise? That becoming just another human? So in refusing to compromise he compromises? Man, no wonder he was crying.

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 Post subject: Re: Rorschach "Unmasked"
PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 12:18 pm 
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I'd definitely have to disagree with the person who said earlier that Rorschach didn't die at Karnak. I think the point they were trying to make was that it was essentially Kovacs who was disintegrated. While I supose i agree with that sentiment, I got the impression that Rorschach died when Kovacsa took his mask off, as he had realised that the black/white (right/wrong) mentality wasn't how the world worked after all.


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 Post subject: Re: Rorschach "Unmasked"
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:45 am 
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Awesome discussion everyone!

As for masked or unmasked....here's just a bit of what I feel here. I think that deep down he's both Walter and Rorschach. I don't believe he has split personalities, just that Rorschach is the hard shell, a blanket, protecting the Walter inside. That Walter represents the humanity's weakness from which he's trying to separate himself. This quest for justice, this deep passion for punishing the evil, this is all him as a person. Rorschach breaks the fingers, Walter feels the feelings behind it.

Argh, it's so hard to express in words my understanding here!

At the end, he yells for Manhattan to "do it" while he's masked. As Rorschach, with the Rorschach dialogue bubble. Then unmasks and yells it at Walter with the Walter dialogue bubble. Both aspects of who he was were in unisen with this challenge. Not about Walter's humanity finally breaking through, but what he believed as a person as a whole Rors/Walter person. That person who was Walter all along, with that cocoon of Rorschach.

It's a great scene. To unmask. Manhattan would have to be faced with kill in a MAN, not just a mask.

Bah, I hope I made any kind of sense at all. I have deep feelings about this scene and sometimes it's hard to express that verbally.

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 Post subject: Re: Rorschach "Unmasked"
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:44 am 
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Quote:
I'd definitely have to disagree with the person who said earlier that Rorschach didn't die at Karnak. I think the point they were trying to make was that it was essentially Kovacs who was disintegrated. While I supose i agree with that sentiment, I got the impression that Rorschach died when Kovacsa took his mask off, as he had realised that the black/white (right/wrong) mentality wasn't how the world worked after all.


Ooh, excellent point. I like this more than mine *steals*

Quote:
As for masked or unmasked....here's just a bit of what I feel here. I think that deep down he's both Walter and Rorschach. I don't believe he has split personalities, just that Rorschach is the hard shell, a blanket, protecting the Walter inside. That Walter represents the humanity's weakness from which he's trying to separate himself. This quest for justice, this deep passion for punishing the evil, this is all him as a person. Rorschach breaks the fingers, Walter feels the feelings behind it.


The last line nearly made me cry.
I think you may have hit something here (and I think you are articulating yourself very well!) There is no way Rorschach hasn't been shaped by Walter's experience and there is no way Walter has been wiped out altogether (as he reappears at the end). I think this explanation makes the most sense.

Rorschach is a M&M. I like that idea.

Quote:
At the end, he yells for Manhattan to "do it" while he's masked. As Rorschach, with the Rorschach dialogue bubble. Then unmasks and yells it at Walter with the Walter dialogue bubble. Both aspects of who he was were in unisen with this challenge. Not about Walter's humanity finally breaking through, but what he believed as a person as a whole Rors/Walter person. That person who was Walter all along, with that cocoon of Rorschach.


Very good observation here. Then, it seems, they both die. Rorschach when the mask comes off and Walter when Dr Manhattan... does his bit. I believe that Rorschach and Walter share the same space and time but are also separate.
One but not the same (thanks Bono).

Under Rorschach there is Walter but they have also kinda melded and I'm failing at this.
*smacks head on desk*

So what you are saying (and I am saying) is Rorschach and Walter are the same person but also not the same person at the same time? *fizzles*

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 Post subject: Re: Rorschach "Unmasked"
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:19 am 
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Minutemarch wrote:

Quote:
As for masked or unmasked....here's just a bit of what I feel here. I think that deep down he's both Walter and Rorschach. I don't believe he has split personalities, just that Rorschach is the hard shell, a blanket, protecting the Walter inside. That Walter represents the humanity's weakness from which he's trying to separate himself. This quest for justice, this deep passion for punishing the evil, this is all him as a person. Rorschach breaks the fingers, Walter feels the feelings behind it.


The last line nearly made me cry.
I think you may have hit something here (and I think you are articulating yourself very well!) There is no way Rorschach hasn't been shaped by Walter's experience and there is no way Walter has been wiped out altogether (as he reappears at the end). I think this explanation makes the most sense.

Rorschach is a M&M. I like that idea.

Quote:
At the end, he yells for Manhattan to "do it" while he's masked. As Rorschach, with the Rorschach dialogue bubble. Then unmasks and yells it at Walter with the Walter dialogue bubble. Both aspects of who he was were in unisen with this challenge. Not about Walter's humanity finally breaking through, but what he believed as a person as a whole Rors/Walter person. That person who was Walter all along, with that cocoon of Rorschach.


Very good observation here. Then, it seems, they both die. Rorschach when the mask comes off and Walter when Dr Manhattan... does his bit. I believe that Rorschach and Walter share the same space and time but are also separate.
One but not the same (thanks Bono).

Under Rorschach there is Walter but they have also kinda melded and I'm failing at this.
*smacks head on desk*

So what you are saying (and I am saying) is Rorschach and Walter are the same person but also not the same person at the same time? *fizzles*


Well, I see them as the same person. I just see Rorschach being Walter's safety cover he can hide behind, both literally and emotionally. If Rorschach didn't have Walter's conscience then he wouldn't have been 'forgiving' of Moloch's illegal meds or held back just killing anyone that gets in his way. The whole, "I'm Rorschach, I've ceased to be Walter" I don't know, the whole way he operates is directly influenced by Walter's experiences.

I think if I was that damaged I would have wanted to stop being Walter too. Hell, there are times when I wanted to be someone else in my life. (It's a long story that I won't go into though). I think of them as the same person, just layered, actually. Gosh it's hard to explain! LOL. But I do like what you said about he's an M&M, LOL.

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 Post subject: Re: Rorschach "Unmasked"
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:55 am 
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I guess there's a sort of parallel with Dan, here. Nite Owl’s just Dan in a costume, really, but what a difference the outfit makes to Dan psychologically - he feels he can actually do something: "all the mask killers, all the wars in the world, they're just cases - just problems to solve."

I think Kovacs feels the same way about Rorschach. As Rorschach, he's no longer held back by Kovacs' qualms, and can set out to fight fire with fire. It's not a split personality, just a fictional character that he likes pretending to be. But he still has the same problem as Dan - sooner or later, the mask comes off, and he's got to stop pretending.

Biosynth wrote:
Rorschach breaks the fingers, Walter feels the feelings behind it.


I think you've hit the nail right on the head there: this is what makes Rorschach a tragic character. After the Blaire Roche case went bad, he was faced with a dilemma: to admit that these horrors were more than he could deal with, or perpetrate horrors of his own. The trouble is, having moved to more extreme methods, he can’t bear to stop being Rorschach. Only, the M&M analogy is apt: he’s still Kovacs underneath, just hiding behind a fictitious persona to distance himself from the horrors he encounters and exacts. What once was something empowering has now become essential: he's trapped pretending to be Rorschach all the time, now, whether in costume or not. But he’s still Kovaks underneath.

He gets less Rorschach-like as the story reaches its end. He’s as civil as he can be when Dan and Laurie rescue him. He may not offer the tearful thank you hugs that Laurie seems to expect, but by Rorschach’s standards acknowledging her advice as good, getting her name right and separating criticism of her costume from criticism of her personally is a pretty big step. Then we have explicit attempts to comfort Dan, even an apology.

So, how must he feel after he failed to stop three million people being killed? What’s Kovacs’ next coping mechanism? He’s already taken Rorschach as far as he can. Martyrdom, maybe? I’ve often wondered whether he wanted to die, at the end. Could he really have made it back to Archie, and then piloted Archie safely back to New York? Would anyone have listened to him even if he got there, rather than just banging him up? It’s a good way out of the bind Veidt offers them: to collaborate with him, or doom billions. Dying for your principles would represent a third way: he doesn’t have to doom billions, and he doesn’t have to live with his compromise. In his final moments, did Kovacs finally (ironically) make a choice he could live with?

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 Post subject: Re: Rorschach "Unmasked"
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:31 pm 
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My take on it has pretty much always been this:

When he's facing Manhattan, he's powerless. He can't stop Veidt's plan, and this force of supernature is going to end his life. So he goes back to the memories of his youth, when he was overborne by his mother, had no father, and had absolutely no one telling him that he was worth anything at all; quite the opposite, usually.

If it were worth putting up a fight, he'd be Rorschach. But he has no hope or fight left in him, and that's all about Walter. Hence, the removal of the mask.


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 Post subject: Re: Rorschach "Unmasked"
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 4:09 am 
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i think rorschacs last moment are a powerful and mulit-layered scene, and there are many good explanations why he did what he did and why he removed the mask.
my take on it has always been that i felt rorschach´s black and white world has finally crumbled - he´s dealed with minor challenges for it, the walter persona helping, but now he´s reached an impasse.
i don´t think he ever thought he had a chance of getting back to civilization. being rorschach, he couldn´t compromise of course, so he had to try anyway. but it was more like a last stand. he knew he wouldn´t get away with it, but he kept trying, doggedly.
when faced with the ultimate power of doctor manhattan, rorschach understand at once that this will be his end. it´s his only way out. he can´t live in veidt´s new world, so he will die trying to prevent it.
he also sees that there is no place for him left to go, he has virtually reached the end of his existence. black and white simply don´t work anymore, everything has turned into confusing shades of grey, and his only friend along with it... i think this is the moment when rorschach and walter truly become one again. he tears of the mask because he doesn´t need it anymore, it´s useless now - black and white is over and he can´t deal with grey.


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