Study Guide

Watchmen Chapter IX

By Alan Moore

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Chapter IX

The Darkness of Mere Being

  • Laurie and Jon hang out on Mars, no big deal. Jon builds a giant, trippy crystal castle yet forgets Laurie needs oxygen to survive. And he’s supposed to save humanity?
  • Jon denies the existence of time, arguing that everything happens all at once.
  • Flash to Laurie’s first memory, of her mom (Sally Jupiter) and dad (agent Laurence Schexnayder) fighting.
  • Kid Laurie shakes and drops a snow globe. She knows Laurence isn’t her real father. Is it Hooded Justice?
  • Back on Mars, Laurie confesses she slept with Dan Dreiberg. Jon states that his last connection to Earth has been severed.
  • We return to Laurie’s past where her thirteen-year-old self lifts weights while her mom hosts a sad excuse for a Minutemen reunion.
  • To Mars again, where Jon and Laurie fly around in the now mobile, psychedelic castle.
  • They debate the meaning of life.
  • This brings us to another memory. At sixteen, Laurie attends the first and only Crimebusters meeting in 1966.
  • Even then, she nurses a crush on Jon. After the meeting, however, it’s the Comedian, Edward Blake, who comes over to check her out.
  • Not on mom’s watch. Sally Jupiter shows up to take Laurie home before Edward Blake can hurt another woman. But what does Jon care about any of this?
  • Usually, Jon can see the past, present, and future, except now there’s static in his way.
  • Jon and Laurie approach Olympus Mons, which is like Mt. Everest on steroids. What human drama can compete with that?
  • Flash to Laurie at a banquet in 1973.
  • Laurie, drunk, confronts Blake for attempting to rape her mom, and throws her drink in his face. We return to the present. Still flying in the trippy crystal castle, Laurie despairs, giving up.
  • She looks back at her life, at Life overall, and discovers there’s not much worth saving.
  • Jon reveals to Laurie, through piecing together her memories, that the Comedian is her father. Jon’s crystal castle implodes, crumbling to the earth. Or should we say crumbling to the mars?
  • Feeling betrayed by her mother, Laurie considers life to be a joke.
  • Somehow this helps Jon see the meaning in meaninglessness, how life is a miracle in spite of everything.
  • Laurie wins the debate; they will return, and Jon will try to prevent World War III.
  • Chapter Postscript: As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being. –C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections

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