Study Guide

Watchmen Freedom and Confinement

By Alan Moore

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Freedom and Confinement

“I just feel cooped up sometimes. Maybe I could use a night out” (I.23.5).

Even though she’s 35, Laurie often acts like a teenager. Not that there’s anything wrong with acting like a teenager. ☺ Hey, is that the Watchmen logo?

“If I’m gonna be a kept woman for the Military’s secret weapon, then the Military can stand me a bowl of Spaghetti Africaine every once in a while” (1.25.2).

Since Laurie hates losing her freedom, why does she choose a life of confinement?

“Don’t worry. He’s at Sing-Sing awaiting trial. He’s under heavy guard. He’s no threat” (VI.8.8).

If only you knew, Dr. Long, that even experts have blind spots.

As they dragged him away, Rorschach spoke to the other inmates. He said, “None of you understand. I’m not locked up in here with you. You’re locked up in here with me” (VI.13.2).

One of Watchmen’s all-time great lines. Try uttering it during an in-class essay or when taking a math quiz. On second thought, don’t.

"At Rockefeller I got the bad side of isolation without the compensations, like privacy” (VII.10.7).

Let’s take a cue from Rorschach and switch things up. Maybe there can be freedom in confinement, as long as you’ve got a little “privacy.”

"We’re young lovers, the world could end tomorrow, and how are we spending Sunday evening? We’re planning to bust a homicidal maniac out of Sing-Sing!” (VIII.4.1).

Sometimes, to be free, heroes must live outside the law. See "Rules and Order" for more.

“You’re alone in the valley of the shadow, Rorschach, where your past has a long reach, and between you and it there’s one crummy lock” (VIII.7.6).

So here we have a Biblical reference linked to a not-so-veiled threat, and it’s delivered by a crime boss.

My mother left me a lot of money when she died, but I gave it to charity when I was seventeen. I wanted to prove that I could accomplish anything I wanted starting from absolutely nothing (Chapter K.9).

Looks like Biggie was right: mo money, mo problems. Can a little poverty ever be liberating?

“I’m leaving this galaxy for one less complicated” (XII.27.3).

That’s Dr. Manhattan for you: ultimate confinement (trapped in a time-lock test vault, a slave to the CIA) leads to ultimate freedom (the entire universe is up for grabs).

“Children? Forget it. Not yet. You were talking about adventuring, and I’m not staying home changing diapers” (XII.30.2).

Go ask your parents about this one. Sure, having a kid takes over your life, but is there a new kind of freedom that comes with it?

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