Monday, March 26, 2007

midterm responses to Sin City

Question: In the world of Sin City, things are not always black and white. Good and evil are extremes at the opposite ends of a spectrum, but in between these two are many shades of gray. Where do you think Marv sits on this spectrum of morality (is he a hero, anti-hero, villain?) and why?

Answer: In any other story, any other world, Marv would probably make for an effective villain, at best an anti-hero. His ultimate goal, superficially anyway, is vengeance for Goldie's Death, and not just revenge but VENGEANCE at any cost. Marv doesn't care how much property he destroys or how many people he kills; he is determined to avenge Goldie's murder no matter what. This type of violent disregard for the consequences of his actions would call for intervention from a hero in any other story, any other world... except Sin City.

The citizens and the authorities in Sin City are so corrupt and so depraved they create a dark backdrop that allows Marv's character to stand out. We see that his methods are not by choice but out of necessity. If Marv is to overcome his enemies he MUST use any means available, including his natural talent for wanton destruction. Then, seeing his actions in this light, and hearing his thoughts in the internal monologues, we find that Marv's goal is not just vengeance at any cost; he feels obligated to mete out justice to the true villains. No one else in Sin City has a real desire for justice. So, I'd say Marv is a hero. In his own way he stands for justice and truth. He succeeds in preventing future evil. He's a good guy.

Question: What is the significance of the recurring religious symbols in Sin City, both in regards to character development and theme?

Answer: The Hard Goodbye is a graphic novel about sin and redemption; therefore, it is full of religious symbols. Frank Miller turns our concept of the righteous and the evil upside down. Marv, who always wears a cross around his neck, is our vengeance-thirsty hero, while Roark, a man of the cloth, is a flesh-eating villain.

The first religious symbol we see is Marv's cross necklace. This connects Marv to God through the eyes of the reader. It makes me think Marv is drawing from a higher power. Marv's cross is always white and seems to more often than not stand out in shadows. I think this symbolism represents the pure sort of spirituality Marv embraces as compared ot the religious officials/villains.

The statue of Cardinal Roark, on the other hand, seems very ominous. He is holding his right hand in the air while holding a staff in his left hand. He wears a frown and a jutting brow. He towers over Marv. In contrast, Roark is a short, round, and hunched-over man. This is showing the reader what a hypocrite Roark is. He represents himself as a righteous figure while indeed he is not.

Marv is what he is, no pretending or trickery there. He wears a simple cross and hunts bad guys. Roark is a fake. He hides behind religious propaganda and symbolism, while devouring the flesh of hookers. Where Marv may draw on religion for strength, Roark is a coward who hides behind religion until the very end. Even in death, organized religion promises that Roark will be remembered as a saint and Marv as the sinner. In truth, it is the other way around.