Rorschach In Alan Moore's The Watchmen

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Through the character Rorshach, The Watchmen explores the issues of nature verses nurture for him. Moore adds that a super hero, can be a psychological argument. A super hero is neither born nor shaped by environment, it is the creation of an alter ego to suppress childhood conflicting inner issues. Rorshach dealt with issues as a young child that rationalized in his mind to hide behind a costume and a mask in order to live.

The first character the book introduces to the reader to is Rorschach, Walter Joseph Kovacs, one of the main characters. Rorschach reveals his past and why he wears a mask on page eleven. Walter’s past is revealed in chapter six when he is examined by a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist gives Walter ink blots and his first vision is of his mother and a man. Also on chapter six, the reader, see that his mother was a prostitute who worked out of her home. Her reasons for practicing prostitution appear when she interacts with Walter. On page four of chapter six, Walter walked into his mother’s bedroom while she was entertaining a man. As soon as his mother realizes he is watching she hits him across the face. "You little shit! You know what you cost me, you ugly little shit. I shoulda listened to everybody else! I shoulda had the abortion." (Pg.4, chap.6, panel 6-7) Walter’s mother did’nt hesitate to physically or verbally abuse him. Her first reaction was to punch him in the face. This reflects the issue of a chain of a abuse. Walter’s mother was probably abused in more ways than one by her parents. Through her behavior of name calling and the rage she portrays it is most likely she was subjected to the same as a child. She basically told Walter that she didn’t want him and regretted having him. She neglects Walter of attention and love, just as she was by her parents. Both Walter and his mother are dealing with issues of neglect and a craving for attention. As a prostitute, we see on page three in chapter six Walter’s mother substitutes sex for love, attention, beauty, and care. She begs her male friend to stay, "Oh baby, please, listen. he’s kinda backwards. Please don’t get mad." She begs the man to stay because having sex makes her feel beautiful because the men want her and touch her. In chapter 6 on page three she says, "Oh you’re hurting me." She says this to her male customer, she did not make him ...

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... therefore he is taught and did not inherit. Moore explores both of these issues in depth, and creates a third element. This third element is the most controversy. People are not born to be good or bad, nor are they raised to be good or bad. Psychologists would say they are either natured or nurtured to be good or bad. Rorschach is a good example of both of those. He is also a confusion in the argument because he develops himself into a super hero. His mother did not influence him in anyway, either through gene heritage or observational learning to become a super hero. Through creation of this alter ego Walter receives attention. When he is dressed up he is no longer vulnerable to his mother or society, now he is feared and respected. He can hide from his memories of abuse because his sole concentration is on being a super hero. Even though he can forget, the memories still exist and therefore effect the rest of his life. Moore adds the third element to a psychological argument that disrupts the whole concept of either beliefs. Rorschach is a developed image in Walter’s mind that allows him to act as what he sees as a psychologically sound human being, with an average up bringing.
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