Under enormous pressure, coal is able to transform into diamonds. In Alan Moore’s graphic novel V for Vendetta, Evey Hammond goes under a unique transformation, modeled after V’s traumatic experiences. By her twelfth birthday, she lost both of her parents. Subsequently, she had to provide for herself, causing her to grow in some ways and stagnate in others. Due to her financial issues, she offers a man sex in exchange for money. To her surprise, the man is revealed to be an undercover police officer. V rescues her and protect her in the lair that he calls his Shadow Gallery.
V acts as a catalyst by evicting her from the shadow gallery, eventually pushing her into her next stage of adulthood. Evey creates a facade of happiness by living with an older man. She is captured by police, and is placed in a cell where they torture her, starve her, and shave her head. She is interrogated and threatened viciously, however, she would rather die than sacrifice her morality. Almost instantaneously she is freed; she discovers V had created the entire illusion of her entrapment modeled after his own experiences in the Larkhill Resettlement Camp.
V deliberately plans out how Evey would be able to take over his legacy. Evey’s matures through several stages from a young girl, to a conforming adult, and the dead stage each play an integral role , which culminates in Evey becoming V. Evey’s first stage is characterized as immature, lost, and emotionally unstable. Evey was born into a world of constant fear. The war left little of the life she previously knew as a young child. She lived with her parents in a pastel room full of stuffed animals, and she spent a lot of time with her parents (27, 4).
After her mother died and her father was taken to a concentration camp for his socialist ties. She was forced to work in a factory and live in a cold, decrepit hostel (28, 6). Without her parents’ love, she is stunted in her emotional growth, leaving her mentally volatile. This is her raw initial form that V takes in and molds. A prime example of Evey’s emotional instability occurs when V leaves her alone in the Shadow Gallery. He returns to find her sobbing on the vanity admitting “I’m a baby… I was scared you wouldn’t come back. I know I’m stupid but my life’s suddenly become very strange.
I don’t know what’s happening anymore” (25, 6-7). In panels six and seven she is portrayed as vulnerable with eye-makeup running down her cheeks, and she is looking downward avoiding V’s mask. The actions of looking down and avoiding eye-contact is inherently immature. V’s position looking down at her reflects his emotional strength, and ability to provide guidance. She is afraid to be left alone, and V reassures her that she is safe now. She is ashamed of her childishness and irrational tears. Evey is afraid that V will leave her with no warning.
V decides to play on this insecurity and suddenly abandons her alone in the street launching her into the next phase of her emotional being. Evey’s young adult stage consists of her efforts to please Gordon and her attempt at a facade of happiness. The stage begins when, suddenly, V abandons Evey in the middle of a public street. Evey feels betrayed, confused, and scared because she has nowhere safe to reside. Evey pleads, “V, this isn’t funny. This is horrible! I want you to take me home,” (100, 3). In the panel, rain clouds are forming in the sky. This emphasizes the metaphorical storm approaching.
Evey is sobbing, clutching herself for comfort, and looking up at V for help. V will not aid her; he is already gone. Evey then searches frantically in the rain for a place to stay, eventually meeting and staying with a man name Gordon Deitrich. She stays in Gordon’s house, and goes on a date with him to the Kitty-Kat Keller. Gordon is concerned that Evey is not having a good time, but she reassures him, “No, I’m fine, really. Just not used to this sort of place. ” (126, 3). The panel features strange, muddy water colors representing the lighting of the night club, and the dark lines show the shadows.
Evey clearly is not very happy with her current situation, but she continues to say she is happy with Gordon. Evey’s dishonesty about her true feelings for Evey is still not mature enough to think for herself. She does not think beyond what Gordon deems moral. V’s choice to leave her gave her insight to why others’ way of living is so wrong. She ceases her passive attitude when Gordon is murdered, and creates a plan to get vengeance on the murderer. As she executes this plan, she is captured and tortured. Evey’s next stage shows her frail, jaded, and broken down. Evey believes that she has been taken into custody in a cell by the police.
She describes the cell explaining, “There’s four walls, two windows with six bars, one toilet with no seat, and there’s a wooden partition, and a cot, and carved on the cot is the name ‘Emma’… and there’s me…” (149, 3). The panel shows Evey hunched over, faced away from the viewer, dressed in something resembling a burlap sack. Evey forgets what she is fighting for. She discovers a small piece of paper, with a love letter inscribed in it. The letter describes in detail how the government had taken an innocent actress’ life because of her sexual orientation. The woman’s name is Valerie, and she states her love for the reader of the letter.
Valerie’s letter and detailed experience motivate Evey to keep her integrity, and not betray V by signing a confession. She is shown bald, hollowed-in cheekbones, malnourished, and blankly staring at the viewer, as if she would rather die than sacrifice her cause. The guard frees her after she chooses death over a confession telling her, “Then there’s nothing left to threaten with, is there? You are free. ” (162, 6). Evey begins to exit as she realizes the entire prison was a theatrical set. She discovers the props and special effects used to entrap her. As she follows the hallways, she finds herself in a familiar place: the Shadow Gallery.
Moore uses a splash page for the surprising revelation that V was the one to entrap her. The page shows various paintings and posters hanging from the ceiling, the juke box, a television, and V in the far right corner. V’s placement forces you to look at the room’s furnishings, to give hints at who is responsible for her entrapment (166). The use of the splash page works to emphasize how shocked Evey was to find her torturer was V. The more space a panel takes up, the more time passes throughout the novel. The splash page is essentially a time freeze that works to intensify the moment.
He takes her to a rooftop during a violent rainstorm. He hints at why he put her through so much torture, “Five years ago, I too came through a night like the naked under the roaring sky. This night is yours. ” (172, 7). V is illustrated with wind blowing and rain pouring down in a blue-colored-panel. V is encouraging Evey to be free from the chains she imposed upon herself. Next Evey decides to ask more and more questions about V. He continues to answer in riddles. V ends his life with the quote: “Ideas are bullet-proof. Farewell. ” (236, 8). People will continue to live and die for their cause.
V’s message is that people should choose for themselves and passively allow injustice to constantly occur. V’s message is that instead of passively allowing injustice to occur, people should choose a world that is fair. Evey understands how important V’s message is, and because of this she is willing to give up her own life to spread it. Evey sends V off to explode in a subway style Viking funeral. The subway train was filled with explosives and roses, a truly romantic and dramatic funeral that is completely in the style of V’s entire legacy (260, 7-8). This legacy will continue to live on and infect other people’s minds.
The more people who will actively fight against the injustices of their oppressors, the more redemption will come to the people of the planet. Evey’s new role of V follows the legacy that he left behind The steps Evey took to reach her final form were set by V. When he initially discovered her, Evey was a young, naive victim of the government. She needed to be an innocent child in order to know who she is fighting for. He chooses to comfort her fear of abandonment, and force her to realize how violently the government mistreats its people. Next, V evicts Evey from the shadow gallery, sending her to live in the world with new eyes.
After spending time adjusting to a new life with a strange man, V takes her back to torture her through methods paralleling his own experiences. She needed to be weak, frail and wounded in order to be broken and to be ready to fight for a cause. The novel follows Evey’s path to taking on the role of V. As Evey is taught lessons by V, the reader also learns those lessons. Evey learns many lessons, but the most important she learns is that people should actively fight against injustices. With this lesson, the reader can now identify injustice in the real world, and stand up against them.