Watchmen Study Questions and Thought Experiments

6 03 2009

Watchmen Thought Experiments

(Drafted before seeing the film)

1. Do you believe the course of history is managed by secret cabals, shadow governments, or other conspiracies?

2. How are police officers distinct from government sanctioned costumed superheroes?

3. Of the liberties and freedoms you enjoy, which are preserved through your own vigilance?

4. Which are preserved and protected by forces outside yourself?

5. Does the human capacity for violence, hatred, and other horrors result because of childhood experiences?

6. Do corporations have a moral obligation to sell products that are more healthy than the lowest standard their customers will buy?

7. What about Newspapers and other forms of media?

8. What is the moral difference between committing violence with your own hands, and allowing it to be committed by turning a blind eye?

9. Are we prisoners of our childhoods?

10. What crimes are unforgiveable to society? Murder? Rape? Other?

11. What crimes are unforgiveable to you personally?

Murder? Rape? Other?

12. If your goal is a utopian society, what actions are justified in pursuit? Murder? Rape? Other?

13. Take it as a given that you succeed.  Answer again.  What has changed?

14. When is martyrdom justified?

15. Do you believe President Kennedy was assassinated by a government conspiracy?

16. Does America have a unique role in the affairs of the world?

17. Do superpowers like America have a responsibility to act as the world’s police officers?

18. Does America have a unique responsibility as a symbol for the rest of the world?

19. Do you subscribe to any other form of American Exceptionalism?

20. Other than the absence of superheroes, what’s the difference between the world of Watchmen and your own?

21. Dr. Manhattan’s last words suggest that Veidt’s plan will not work in the end. What goes wrong?

22. If V for Vendetta is a primer on Anarchism, what is the underlying philosophy of Watchmen?

23. Do the stories we consume in mass media reflect the zeitgeist of the times we live in? Or shape it?

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2 responses

15 08 2009
Z Petilla

Hey thanks. I’m a bay area local community college teacher and I’m going to use this for my English 139 class. I would have just been a comic creator but teaching had more easier ways to get in. Still perusing the dream, but ya know.

I Googled around and ironically found this. After looking at other study guides, yours is the best free set of questions.

So here’s karma for you, about 37 students this semester will be forced to read this blog because it’s good for them. Yes, your written literary analysis is now being taught in college. Congratulations.

I also left contact information if you have any questions or concerns of how your work is being used.

Also, in the spirit of free I invite any other educators to post on and how they used this material in their class.

Cheers. Z.

28 09 2009
itchybiscuit

Thanks for the kind words, and I’m glad you found the questions useful!

I formatted the questionnaire onto a half-sheet to pass out at the Grand Lake Theater and the SF Metreon on opening night–I’ll forward it to you if I can turn up the file.

Good luck with the class!

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