1. right at the reader. By asking the why

1.   
The passage is from the very
first panel of the book. Bruce Wayne is no longer Batman. Bruce grew a mustache
and is wearing a racing helmet with the upper face being covered. The mustache indicates
the amount of time that has passed since Bruce’s retirement as Batman. However,
the resemblance of the helmet as his Batman costume foreshadows the inevitable
return of Bruce Wayne as Batman. Therefore, the motif is established right
away.

2.   
B)
The passage is from almost the end of the book,
when Batman chases after Joker, who is running around in the abandoned amusement
park mirror room.  Joker constantly uses the
pronouns “you, as if he is talking to the reader. This enables the reader to
feel more engaged in the work, trying to understand and answer the questions
Joker is asking. The significance of this passage is that Joker is staring at
himself in the hollowed mirror but appears as if he is staring right at the
reader. By asking the why although the world is “a black, awful joke, … but you
can’t see the funny side”. The joke he refers to here has a negative
connotation, possibly indicating the actual killing of people, hence the title
of the book The Killing Joke. As
Joker is asking himself the questions through the mirror, he notices the
defense of absurd is at odd with himself. This signifies the panel right after,
when Batman breaks through the mirror, illustrating the foil between Batman and
Joker, as Batman was able to recover from one bad day, whereas Joker was not
able to.

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PART B

1.    The Dark Knight Returns proposes
that 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 of
vigilant justice portrayed by Batman ultimately shows hope and confidence in
the civilians. In contrast to the typical hero figures, Batman is more
aggressive and violent in order to get the job done and pursue his needs. This
reinforces the idea of standing up to what the individual thinks is right, the
power to fight back against the broken system and the assailants. Batman as the
figure of vigilante justice shows enhances the strive for freedom for the
population, 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’s
action of fighting against the evil and protecting the citizens of Gotham City
abuses the legal boundary of use of force, as well as highlighting the lack of
government’s action in citizen protection. Ironically, although Batman tries to
protect and ensure justice in Gotham City, he is also feared by the citizens.
The contrasting opinion of the TV interviewees highlights the opposite perspectives
of 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 “surprised
that there aren’t a hundred like him out there … people who are fed up with
the terror’ (Miller 65). Batman essentially fights against anything – even its
own country’s government – in order to save its citizens, from corruption and
criminality.

The reason for the vigilantism to be not just a
preferable choice but the correct choice is because the government or organizations
of Gotham city does not implement any preventative measure for any crimes.
Therefore, in order to protect the citizens, Batman’s actions, although could
be seen violent or sometimes inhumane, is justifiable. The presence of Batman
as unrelenting vigilantes questions the state’s ability to ensure the maintenance
of order and justice. Therefore, Batman not being sanctioned by the state in
order to achieve justice poses the question with regards to what truly constitutes
a ‘legitimate’ use of force. 

2.    The
Joker’s position, is one of self-acknowledged insanity, yet still relying upon
logic in order to prove his points. Therefore, in order to convince seemingly
sane people to go crazy, Joker does so within the logic they share. Joker is
insane, in my opinion. Joker believes that life is “all a joke, everything and
anybody ever valued or struggled for … a demented gag”. Therefore, he chooses
to be the star performer, sharing his twisted sense of humanity through his
actions. Insanity could be defined as someone who is not mentally stable, but the
definition is not limited to illogical actions. Therefore, insane person may
act in a logical way, not just illogically. The reasoning behind the Joker’s
actions are to prove that there is no meaning in real life and that everything is
absurd. In order to highlight this, when Joker shoots Barbara, he takes out and
drinks the liquor ‘Plaisant Farceur’, which is translated as “funny practical
joker’, 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 directed
towards to one person – Barbara – in order to invoke madness in others –
Gordon. Therefore, in order to prove his insanity and the belief that there is
no meaning in keeping order and absurdity of life, Joker acts in a horrible,
yet logical manner.

The
book constantly builds the tension throughout the book as Batman, in which as a
result, the reader becomes more frustrated with the action of Joker, as he
constantly wants to prove his insanity. However, in comparison to The Dark Knight Returns, there is no
epic final battle at the end of the book. In contrast, the final scene mirrors
the beginning of the story, where Batman tries to reason with Joker, offering help
and rehabilitating him before either one of them “kill each other”. This
conversation is futile, as Joker does not intend on killing Batman at all. Instead
of targeting his enemy Batman, Joker targets Gordon. This could be reasoned
because Joker sees Batman as his reflection – a man driven to the edge by “one
bad 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 recover
from it or not, in which Joker could not and Batman could, accentuating the foil
between the two characters. This could explain the reason why Joker adores
Batman so much and wants him to understand the way Joker sees the world, protection
of law and order is pointless, as life is just a joke. This highlights the
logical way in which Joker thinks, in order to find the way a ‘sane’ person to
be driven crazy – to prove his insanity.

The
biggest ironic tragedy is that despite the effort of Joker trying to prove his
insanity, he is proven wrong with Gordon. Despite going through the ‘one bad
day’ like Joker, Gordon does not snap, and the balance of mole order is
maintained. Consequently, Joker acts as if he no longer cares about making
sense of the world, that everything he does is an attempt to find some form of
reason. He wants someone – Batman – to understand his actions for
justification. However, when his attempts are denied, he realizes that his
actions have gone too far off, opposing him from becoming rational again.
Therefore, when Batman pleads to Joker to let him help and rehabilitate him in
the final scene, Joker has a look of confliction and wonders whether his absurdist
worldview is actually right and contemplates finding a sense of meaning in his
life. Ultimately, Joker refuses, because he himself acknowledges and understands
that he has gone too far to the point of no return of ‘sanity’. 

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