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Tera Joyce
Dr. Erin Dietel-McLaughlin
WR 13200
5 December 2011
ReIlective Essay
When it came time to start the visual essay, we immediately jumped at the
opportunity to work together. We had spent the previous assignments bouncing ideas oII
oI each other, helping each other edit, and being a part oI each other`s writing process. It
seemed to be the perIect opportunity to Iinally work together on the same project. Since
Kaitlynn had spent her research paper Iocusing on Batman and terrorism, and Tera hoped
to dive Iurther into the idea oI terrorism, our ideas began to mesh together quickly. The
synthesis oI our ideas led to an essay centered on comparing modern Batman to
America`s struggle with terrorism as a result oI 9/11. The original paper lent itselI very
nicely to a visual essay, since the movies oIIer an endless supply oI clips to include as
visuals.
The main goal oI the essay was to take some oI the bigger comparisons Irom
Kaitlynn`s essay, and turn them into more concrete arguments by showing readers, rather
than just telling them. The essay is divided into these key comparisons. BeIore we reach
our argument, we begin the visual essay by presenting our counterargument. Batman has
been around Ior many years, as a comic, TV show, and in various movies. This is shown
the in clip montage at the beginning, and we lead our reader into our thesis with the
words accompanying these images. We were Iaced with the challenge oI saying that
Christopher Nolan`s movies were not your typical Batman movies but are connected to
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the War on Terror.
From there, we established the setting oI our argument. The terrorist attacks oI
9/11 impacted New York City the hardest; thereIore convincing readers that Gotham is
New York is vital. The argument is made by beginning with a quote Irom the director
that says that Gotham`s layout was strongly inIluenced by New York. This is then
solidiIied with a montage oI images that goes between Gotham and New York in an
almost indistinguishable way. We conclude that section with an artist`s depiction oI
Gotham that Iades into a picture oI New York, showing that the two cities are almost
identical.
With the image comparison oI Gotham and New York set, the next Iocus was to
show Gotham and New York in action. The terrorist attacks oI 9/11 are a key element oI
our argument, so it was essential to dedicate an entire section to establishing this
connection. It begins with a quote Irom President Bush, in which he describes justice, and
it`s role in our response to the attacks. A conversation between Batman and his Iriend
Rachel Dawes reIlects a parallel Iocus on justice. From there, we provide quotes
describing both enemies. In the case oI Batman, Ra`s Al Ghul describes his motives Ior
attacking Gotham, and a quote about the 9/11 terrorists shows a similar motive. AIter
these quotes, images provide the most convincing argument yet. A video clip Irom
'Batman Begins¨ shows as a hijacked train bullets towards Wayne Industries, the
ideological center oI Gotham until ending in a Iiery explosion. A second clip shows the
second plane hitting the World Trade Center. The clips are eerily similar, and provide
strong visual rhetoric.
From the evil actions, the presentation switches to the evil people. By
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synthesizing a quote Irom a speech by President Bush and a clip oI the Joker perIorming
the evils Bush describes, the comparison between the two evils can be solidiIied. From
there, we approached the necessary evil.` Both Bush and Batman, deIenders oI justice,
were criticized Ior their acts Ior justice: Bush with the Patriot Act and Batman with his
own surveillance system. Despite the necessary evil exhibited, there truly are heroes
worth comparing, which we show in the last section. A montage oI images show the
heroes oI the War on Terror, and Batman and his aids. This section compares the actions
oI Batman to the actions oI Fire Fighters, Policemen, and Soldiers; these are all examples
oI citizens who Ieel responsible to protect the Ireedom and way oI liIe they possess, as
well as ensure that others around them enjoy those same Ireedoms.
The total visual is Iormatted like a comic, in order to show that although the
character is the same, the meaning within the media is changed. The sections are placed
into the background as iI they are panels in a comic book. As the presentation moves
through, we dive into the comic to see a deeper meaning and comparison. AIter siIting
through countless images, videos, songs, and quotes, we compiled our ideas into one
presentation, that we Ieel convincingly compares two seemingly separate things. Our
audience, patriotic comic Ians, will be taken into a new understanding oI their Iavorite
characters. Overall, we were both enjoyed working together and exploring the new
medium.