The passage is from the veryfirst panel of the book. Bruce Wayne is no longer Batman. Bruce grew a mustacheand is wearing a racing helmet with the upper face being covered. The mustache indicatesthe amount of time that has passed since Bruce’s retirement as Batman. However,the resemblance of the helmet as his Batman costume foreshadows the inevitablereturn of Bruce Wayne as Batman. Therefore, the motif is established rightaway. 2.
B)The passage is from almost the end of the book,when Batman chases after Joker, who is running around in the abandoned amusementpark mirror room. Joker constantly uses thepronouns “you, as if he is talking to the reader. This enables the reader tofeel more engaged in the work, trying to understand and answer the questionsJoker is asking.
The significance of this passage is that Joker is staring athimself in the hollowed mirror but appears as if he is staring right at thereader. By asking the why although the world is “a black, awful joke, … but youcan’t see the funny side”. The joke he refers to here has a negativeconnotation, possibly indicating the actual killing of people, hence the titleof the book The Killing Joke. AsJoker is asking himself the questions through the mirror, he notices thedefense of absurd is at odd with himself. This signifies the panel right after,when Batman breaks through the mirror, illustrating the foil between Batman andJoker, as Batman was able to recover from one bad day, whereas Joker was notable to.
PART B1. The Dark Knight Returns proposesthat vigilantism is not only a preferable course of action in light of civil indifference,it is the correct choice. I agree with this statement, as the public display ofvigilant justice portrayed by Batman ultimately shows hope and confidence inthe civilians. In contrast to the typical hero figures, Batman is moreaggressive and violent in order to get the job done and pursue his needs. Thisreinforces the idea of standing up to what the individual thinks is right, thepower to fight back against the broken system and the assailants. Batman as thefigure of vigilante justice shows enhances the strive for freedom for thepopulation, against the government and the enemies. The government’s order is not obeyed by Batman,when fighting against the villains. In order to pursue his view of justice,Batman violates the laws and imposes his conception of the proper punishment.
Batman’saction of fighting against the evil and protecting the citizens of Gotham Cityabuses the legal boundary of use of force, as well as highlighting the lack ofgovernment’s action in citizen protection. Ironically, although Batman tries toprotect and ensure justice in Gotham City, he is also feared by the citizens.The contrasting opinion of the TV interviewees highlights the opposite perspectivesof the citizens on Batman – revering or fearing (Miller 65). When one describes Batman as “ruthless,monstrous vigilante”, the next frame interviews another citizen who is “surprisedthat there aren’t a hundred like him out there … people who are fed up withthe terror’ (Miller 65).
Batman essentially fights against anything – even itsown country’s government – in order to save its citizens, from corruption andcriminality. The reason for the vigilantism to be not just apreferable choice but the correct choice is because the government or organizationsof Gotham city does not implement any preventative measure for any crimes.Therefore, in order to protect the citizens, Batman’s actions, although couldbe seen violent or sometimes inhumane, is justifiable. The presence of Batmanas unrelenting vigilantes questions the state’s ability to ensure the maintenanceof order and justice.
Therefore, Batman not being sanctioned by the state inorder to achieve justice poses the question with regards to what truly constitutesa ‘legitimate’ use of force. 2. TheJoker’s position, is one of self-acknowledged insanity, yet still relying uponlogic in order to prove his points. Therefore, in order to convince seeminglysane people to go crazy, Joker does so within the logic they share. Joker isinsane, in my opinion. Joker believes that life is “all a joke, everything andanybody ever valued or struggled for …
a demented gag”. Therefore, he choosesto be the star performer, sharing his twisted sense of humanity through hisactions. Insanity could be defined as someone who is not mentally stable, but thedefinition is not limited to illogical actions. Therefore, insane person mayact in a logical way, not just illogically.
The reasoning behind the Joker’sactions are to prove that there is no meaning in real life and that everything isabsurd. In order to highlight this, when Joker shoots Barbara, he takes out anddrinks the liquor ‘Plaisant Farceur’, which is translated as “funny practicaljoker’, enhancing the idea that the actions he takes is ‘all a joke’. Additionally,the liquor allows the Joker to move beyond a simple violent act directedtowards to one person – Barbara – in order to invoke madness in others –Gordon. Therefore, in order to prove his insanity and the belief that there isno meaning in keeping order and absurdity of life, Joker acts in a horrible,yet logical manner.
Thebook constantly builds the tension throughout the book as Batman, in which as aresult, the reader becomes more frustrated with the action of Joker, as heconstantly wants to prove his insanity. However, in comparison to The Dark Knight Returns, there is noepic final battle at the end of the book. In contrast, the final scene mirrorsthe beginning of the story, where Batman tries to reason with Joker, offering helpand rehabilitating him before either one of them “kill each other”. Thisconversation is futile, as Joker does not intend on killing Batman at all.
Insteadof targeting his enemy Batman, Joker targets Gordon. This could be reasonedbecause Joker sees Batman as his reflection – a man driven to the edge by “onebad day” – individuals who had to deal with random injustice of the world. However,the outcome of this bad day depends on whether the individual was able to recoverfrom it or not, in which Joker could not and Batman could, accentuating the foilbetween the two characters.
This could explain the reason why Joker adoresBatman so much and wants him to understand the way Joker sees the world, protectionof law and order is pointless, as life is just a joke. This highlights thelogical way in which Joker thinks, in order to find the way a ‘sane’ person tobe driven crazy – to prove his insanity. Thebiggest ironic tragedy is that despite the effort of Joker trying to prove hisinsanity, he is proven wrong with Gordon. Despite going through the ‘one badday’ like Joker, Gordon does not snap, and the balance of mole order ismaintained. Consequently, Joker acts as if he no longer cares about makingsense of the world, that everything he does is an attempt to find some form ofreason. He wants someone – Batman – to understand his actions forjustification.
However, when his attempts are denied, he realizes that hisactions have gone too far off, opposing him from becoming rational again.Therefore, when Batman pleads to Joker to let him help and rehabilitate him inthe final scene, Joker has a look of confliction and wonders whether his absurdistworldview is actually right and contemplates finding a sense of meaning in hislife. Ultimately, Joker refuses, because he himself acknowledges and understandsthat he has gone too far to the point of no return of ‘sanity’.