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Watchmen

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Submitted By Jacqu3lin3tran
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“Watchmen” Time is constantly brought up within this comic. We can see time through the titles of the chapters, the main characters bringing the seconds, the minutes, and the hours. There are clocks sporadically placed, which brings symbolic meaning within the comic, and it gives the audience a better view as to when the comic jumps back and forth through time. Many of the main characters within Watchmen struggles with time, they always seem to have flash backs to when they were a child, or in some cases have the ability to go forward in time and see what will happen in the future. One of the scenes that particularly stood out the most is chapter four. Prior to the chapter’s introduction, there is a splash page of a clock as it tells the audience that it is 10 o’ clock. As Dr. Manhattan, or Dr. Jon Osterman picked up a photograph he gazed at it. What is really happening in that particular moment is, he is viewing a picture of himself. He is seeing himself within that photograph, but it seems as if he cannot recognize that it is actually he within the photograph. Within the few pages of this chapter Dr. Manhattan is talking in third person. “It is the photograph of a man and a woman they are at an amusement park, in 1959.” He is reminiscing of what the picture actually is. “In twelve seconds time, I drop the photograph to the sand at my feet, walking away. It’s already lying there, twelve seconds into the future.” This quote describes the switching of time as twelve seconds pass dropping the picture and twelve seconds of it lying there as predicted. “Its October, 1985. I’m on Mars. It’s July 1959. I’m in New Jersey at the Palisades Amusement Park. Four seconds. Three.” “It’s still there, twenty seven hours into the past, in its frame, in the darkened bar. The photograph is in my hand. The woman takes a piece of popcorn between thumb and forefinger. The Ferris wheel pauses. Seven seconds now.” Even though Dr. Manhattan is clearly describing his memories, he does not say that it is he. He does not see himself as the man in the picture, he sees himself as what time did to him at that very moment. He does not acknowledge that he is having flashbacks into the pass as he strolling down memory lane when he was “normal/human”. What is actually happening is, within these segments as Dr. Manhattan is looking at the photograph he is remembering his love; he is remembering when he love the woman within the photograph. The time is ticking, ever second counts as he remembers what happen within the time he fell in love with the woman and when he turned in to nature’s freak show. “I am going to look at the stars. They are so far away, and their light takes so long to reach us… all we ever see of stars are their old photographs.” This statement that Mr. Manhattan states makes the audience realize that he’s comparing the speed of light that travels within the night sky and an old photograph. Since the light from a star takes awhile for us humans to be able to see them, Dr. Manhattan describes the view as being old, because we were not there when the light was actually visible, making him state them as old photographs. “I am two hundred and twenty-seven million kilometers from the sun. It’s light is already ten minutes old. It will not reach Pluto for another two hours. Two hours into my future, I observe meteorites from a glass balcony thinking about my father. Twelve second into my past I open my fingers, the photograph is falling. I am watching the stars. Halley’s comet tumbles through the solar system on its great seventy-six year ellipse. My father admired the sky for its precision. He repaired watches.” A series of moving back and forth through time as the character develops a sense of remembrance of the time where Dr. Jon Osterman became Dr. Manhattan. His character develops when he starts to tell his story to the audience in first person. “It’s 1945. I sit in a Brooklyn kitchen, fascinated by an arrangement of cogs on black velvet. I am sixteen years old. It is 1985. I am on Mars. I am fifty-six years old. The photograph lies at my feet, falls from my fingers, is in my hand. I am watching the stars admiring their complex trajectories, through space, through time.” The photograph that fell to his feet is now back at his hand, while he further elongates into his memories. Since the setting is in space, time is more likely to get lost. Therefore being in space does time actually exist? Does it stop? Does it fast forward? By controlling time, the inevitable might not happen, as time gets lost into a rewinding spiral. At the end of the segment big bolded words “Watchmaker” ends the page, as the page breaks into a new time, the past where Jon Osterman is looking at gears. “If time is not true, what purpose has watchmakers hein?” As Osterman’s father threw his gear into oblivious, the scenes fast forward to Osterman graduating Princeton University with a Ph. D in Atomic Physics. As his father tells him to apply his brains into something more academically more challenging. As Oysterman was turning into Dr. Manhattan many time reference were stated. “Really, It’s just a question of reassembling the component in the correct sequence.” Time moves in a sequence, as Oysterman was being transformed into Manhattan all he can think about were the times, and dates that rapidly went through his mind. Time plays an important role within the text, therefore making it one of Watchmen’s themes. Time is always changing. From other comics that portrays a super hero, you never see them age, but for characters in Watchman you see them age. Within the sequence of this comic, time does play a role for the characters because they grow old, and time effects them.

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