Sunday, September 23, 2012

Watchmen: Chapter IX - page 24


Panel 1:  The image of the snowglobe smashing at Laurie’s and Schexnayder’s feet symbolizes the shattering of Laurie’s beliefs about her heritage. She believed that Hooded Justice was her father.  She now realizes that Blake was her father.

This smashing snowglobe, and the spilling of the water, signifies the end of this final flashback scene.

Panel 2:  Laurie unscrewing the cover of the bottle of Nostalgia perfume is symbolic of the purging of the nostalgia she has harbored all these years.  That is now gone, as she comes to understand the man who was her father was also the man who raped her mother years before she was ever conceived.

The reflection of Laurie’s adult face in this bottle of Nostalgia perfume is a call-back to the reflection of her face in the snowglobe of her earliest memory.

Panel 4:  And here we see when the Nostalgia bottle, which we have watched slowly tumble across the Martian landscape throughout this chapter, was launched into its orbit. 

Panels 1-4:  These four panels are the symbolic purging of her distorted memories, as foreshadowed by Laurie’s actual vomiting on Page 4, panel 1 of this chapter. 
This emotional vomiting is a metaphorical variation on her exclamation from Page 4, panel 2 of this chapter that, “[she] always throw[s] up whenever [Dr. Manhattan] take[s] her anywhere…” which is triggered here by the completion of this journey through her memories that Dr. Manhattan initiated at the outset of this chapter.

Panels 5-7:  All of the captions in these three panels are from earlier in the chapter, from Laurie recounting that first memory when she found and broke the snowglobe.  The words are juxtaposed against the present scene of the Nostalgia perfume bottle tumbling toward Dr. Manhattan’s fortress, and in each panel the caption relates not only to the initial memory, but also to the Nostalgia bottle in the particular panel.
In panel 5, the “…toy, this snowstorm ball…” relates to the round bottle of perfume.
In panel 6, Laurie’s comments of “…slow time…” relates directly to how we, the readers, have experienced the tumbling of this perfume bottle throughout this chapter.
In panel 7, her final remark upon dropping and smashing the snowglobe in the previous recounting – “…and inside there was only water…” – relates to the perfume bottle as it smashes against Dr. Manhattan’s fortress.

And the smashing of the bottle of Nostalgia perfume ultimately symbolizes the draining of Laurie’s nostalgia, which has left her an empty, broken vessel. 

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