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Watchmen Portraits - Rorschach's Journal

Rorschach plays a major role throughout the Watchmen timeline as one of the Crimebusters. Alan Moore depicts this complicated characters' thoughts through the use of his journal which is contained in many passages inside the story.

Rorschach's journal within the narrative is explicitly titled "Rorshach's Journal: 1984-1985", which may imply that he kept previous annual journals.

Just before leaving to confront Adrian Veidt, Rorschach mails his journal to The New Frontiersman for safekeeping, in the hope that even if he dies the information within his journal will one day help expose Veidt.

The police report when Rorschach is arrested describes it as, "one notebook, pages filled with what is either an elaborate cypher or handwriting too cramped and eccentric to be legible" - leading to the further ironic implication that the fate of the world's future rests not only on Rorschach's single journal, but on his bad handwriting.

Rorschach's journal

March 18th, 1964

This is Rorschach's first journal entry, written in his very first journal, immediately after he finished creating his mask from the Kitty Genovese dress. It is one of three entries written by Alan Moore for the Watchmen Sourcebook, for the Watchmen RPG model released in the early 90s. In this entry, he details that he has finished the face, that he is glad he kept the dress and that he finally has a face that he can stare down in the mirror. He also explains that he has decided to keep an account of all he sees and experiences that could have an effect on his nocturnal mission. It is an account of his mission that he can refer back to, and a voucher of his achievements for when the angels come to collect him on Judgement Day. To end the entry, he writes "I'll start tonight, with the woman and her killers." It is notable that his writing style is much more natural and organic sounding, with full sentences and a very straightforward demeanor.

June 11th, 1968

In this second Sourcebook-exclusive entry, he notes that his neighborhood is degrading, having spotted 17 transients. He reminds himself to look for a new apartment the next day. He says that the city is changing, and that the few splatterings of black ink will give way to the entire bottle flooding the city. He blames dopers, politicians, preachers, whores, hippies, liars, pushers, poets and thieves for this. He asks whether great men are holding the world aloft and waiting for their successors, or if "the forces of compromise" take a more active role and release their dogs to hunt down each of them, one by one, to open the way for a sinister masterplan. He then ponders that if the latter is true, then when did the hunt begin? Has all of recorded history been a slow, steady slide into the abyss? Clearly, his mental state has begun to degrade.

August 14th, 1979

In the last of the Sourcebook entries, he notes that he has at least one ally, a cab driver who helped him escape from the police and respects him. He asked Rorschach how he managed to escape from the police, to which Rorschach replies by saying the police don't want to catch him. He elaborates by saying the police protect the public from people the public can never understand. He says that he protects the police from people they can never understand. He says that there is no love between them, nor respect, but there is an understanding of their functions. He says that the day will come where the police become desperate and will lock him up, and they'll realize in horror that his incarceration hasn't pulled them up one rung much less raised them from the entire pit. He ends the entry by saying he has been faithful to his journal... his voucher for when that day comes.

October 12th, 1985

Watchmen Comic -1 Page 1

Excerpt from Rorschach's journal in Watchmen Chapter I.

This entry opens Chapter I: At Midnight, All the Agents..., giving introduction with Rorschach's perception of New York. The Comedian's badge is seen as his blood is washed from the sidewalk below his apartment, and a man walks by with a sign that reads "The End is Nigh."

Rorschach claims he has seen New York's true face and refers to its people as vermin who follow lechers and communists. He says all the liberals and intellectuals and smooth-talkers will see the end and all of a sudden not have anything to say. animation

The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"...and I'll look down, and whisper "No."

Also, the Watchmen (movie) ends with the presumed opening words of his October 12th entry: Rorschach's Journal, October 12th, 1985. Tonight, a comedian died in New York.

October 13th, 1985

Also in Chapter I, after Rorschach investigates the Comedian's apartment and warns Dan Dreiberg about the 'mask killer'. He is seen writing atop a building. He gets down the stairs and enters Happy Harry's bar and grill, asking questions and breaking one man's fingers.

He talks about his landlady, who cheats on her welfare, and notes how he will investigate the death of the Comedian. After leaving Happy Harry's he writes that he has business elsewhere with a 'better class of person.' animation

This city is dying of rabies. Is the best I can do to wipe random flecks of foam from its lips?

October 13th, 1985, 8:30 P.M.

Also in Chapter I, Rorschach warned Adrian Veidt about the possible mask killer. The text is shown while Rorschach is breaking into the Rockefeller Military Research Center and avoiding its guards.

Rorschach refers to Veidt as 'pampered and decadent, betraying even his own shallow, liberal affectations,' and accuses him of being possibly homosexual. He refers to Dan Dreiberg as being 'a flabby failure who sits whimpering in his basement. He also calls the first Silk Spectre a 'bloated, aging whore, dying in a Californian resort.' He reveals the death of Captain Metropolis, who was 'decapitated in a car crash back in '74.' He notes Mothman being in an asylum in Maine, as well how the Silhouette 'retired in disgrace, murdered six weeks later by a minor adversary seeking revenge.' Then he explains that there are only two of the past Crimebusters left to warn. He points out how seemingly pointless this last action is when he says 'I shall go and tell the indestructible man that someone plans to murder him.' animation

Why are so few of us left active, healthy, and without personality disorders?

October 13th, 1985, 11:30 P.M.

His last entry in Chapter I follows his confrontation with Doctor Manhattan, and after being transported outside of the research center when Laurie Juspeczyk asks him to leave. He walks past a graffiti filled alley (a poster advertising a concert at the Madison Square Garden, a peace sign, a sports raving, "Krystalnacht", and "Who watches the Watchmen?"), also by a woman and man in a window making love, and then another poster that has President Nixon with 'Four more years' written below it.

Rorschach writes about the death of the Comedian and how he's the only one who cares. He wonders if everyone is right for not caring, since 'soon there will be war. Millions will burn. Millions will perish in sickness and misery.' He asks why one death matter against so many. animation

Because there is good and there is evil, and evil must be punished. Even in the face of Armageddon I shall not compromise in this.

October 16th, 1985

This entry is in Chapter II: Absent Friends, after the Comedian's burial and Rorschach's visit to Moloch's. He walks down 42nd street and passes a business called Burlesk, with a sign that reads 'Tonite Enola Gay and the Little Boys', as well he is seen being offered sex from a hooker, refusing, and being flicked off. Then he picks the lock to the cemetery and enters where the Comedian was buried. There is a flashback to Eddie Blake's death, and being thrown out of his apartment window, and then Rorschach takes one of the red roses that were lain at his grave.

He notes women's breasts being displayed on every billboard and littering the sidewalk. He suspects Moloch for the death of the Comedian, suggesting it was part of a revenge scheme that was planned during his decade behind bars. He says he pays his last respects quietly, without fuss, referring to the priest's scripture reading. He comments on how Edward Blake was buried in the rain, how there's a life of conflict with no time for friends, and that when it's done, 'only our enemies leave roses.' He notes that masked adventurers never die in bed, 'not allowed,' saying it might be something in their personalities, 'some animal urge to fight and struggle.' He shrugs the idea, saying it's unimportant, 'we do what we have to do.' He believes that Blake understood the world's behavior, even though he treated it like a joke, becoming a parody of it. 'No one else saw the joke. That's why he was lonely.'

He then tells a joke he heard once: "Man goes to doctor. Says he's depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says 'Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.' Man bursts into tears. Says 'But, doctor...I am Pagliacci.'" He then calls it a good joke. 'Everybody laugh.' animation

Was offered Swedish love and French love...but not American love. American love; like Coke in green glass bottles...they don't make it anymore.

October 21st, 1985 (1)

This entry is found in Chapter V: Fearful Symmetry after Doctor Manhattan's disappearance and Rorschach's questioning of Moloch. He walks out of the Moloch's and starts toward his apartment.

He believes Jacobi knows nothing about the attempt to discredit Dr. Manhattan and that he has only been used. He suspects the Russians since the Comedian and Manhattan were both key military figures. He says he hasn't slept since Saturday, and he's too tired to concentrate. animation

Trashcans stuffed with rumors of war, weighing factors; bodies; motives...waiting for a flash of enlightenment in all this blood and thunder.

October 21st, 1985 (2)

His second entry is also in Chapter V. Since his last entry he has been asleep. He takes off his mask and looks at a group of knot-tops putting graffiti on a door. He talks with his landlady and sees Dan Dreiberg and Laurie Juspeczyk coming out of Gunga Diner, although they cannot identify him because he isn't wearing his mask. He enters Gunga Diner and puts syrup in a napkin, folding the napkin and taking it a part to make symmetrical splotches, while he stares at his maildrop (the trashcan).

He wakes at eleven because of shouting outside, and says he was disturbed to find he slept with his 'face' on, and that he should be more careful. He then memorized the boys that were defacing the abandoned building's descriptions. He takes off his face and said 'without my face, nobody knows. Nobody knows who I am.' He says the landlady complained about the hygiene and rent, and noted she had purple bite marks on her 'fat white neck.' He then says she reminds him of his mother. He noted that the graffiti on the building was a silhouette, 'man and woman, possibly indulging in sexual foreplay,' and that he didn't like it, claiming it makes the doorway look haunted. He sees Dreiberg and Juspeczyk and wonders if there is an affair, then suspects Laurie of engineering Dr. Manhattan's exile to make room for Dreiberg, noting she also hated the Comedian. He commented on the trash people 'deposited for him'; candy wrappers, newspapers, a pair of keds. animation

This city is an animal, fierce and complicated. To understand it I read its droppings, its scents, the movement of its parasites...I sat watching the trashcan, and New York opened its heart to me.

October 21st, 1985 (3)

His last entry in Chapter V takes place after news of Adrian Veidt being attacked was released. Rorschach lifts a note from his 'maildrop' from Moloch that says 'R- call tonight, 11:30 p.m. Have information. URGENT. Jacobi,' and then walked into an alleyway to grab his hat and mask that were beneath a Nostalgia poster before encountering a rapist in the act.

He recalls news of the attack on Veidt and sees it as proof of his 'mask killer' theory, then wondered again if Moloch was connected. Outside of Utopia he saw police restraining a youth on KT-28s, who was screaming something about President Nixon and bombs. He asks if everyone but him was going mad. Over 40th street he saw an elephant drifting and noted that beyond it, unseen, were spy satellites that could narrow their eyes and kill everyone. He writes about putting on his disguise and becoming himself, 'free from fear or weakness or lust.' He recalls hearing a woman scream, the 'first bubbling note of city's evening chorus.' He noted the disturbance an attempted rape, mugging or both. animation

The man turned and there was something rewarding in his eyes. Sometimes, the night is generous to me.

November 1st, 1985

This is Rorschach's last entry, from Chapter X: Two Riders Were Approaching, in the meantime Rorschach had been captured, blamed for Moloch's murder, broken out and killed The Big Figure, did questioning at Happy Harry's and discovered Adrian Veidt's involvement with Pyramid Deliveries.

'Final entry?' he asks, noting that Dreiberg's convinced that Veidt is behind everything and wants to visit Antarctica. He's not sure if they're ready, and can't imagine a more dangerous opponent. He shows his only admittance of physical weakness with that statement and then following with 'I am cold tonight.' Then claims Veidt may be faster than both of them, and foresees return from the mission as unlikely. He decides to mail his journal to the only people he can trust. He tells the reader directly that whether he is alive or dead, the truth is that Adrian Veidt is responsible. He says he hopes the journal will reach them (The New Frontiersman), but says 'tanks are in East Berlin, and writing is on wall.' He completes his journal quickly by adding that he regrets nothing, has lived his life free from compromise and steps 'into the shadow now without complaint.' animation

Oblivion gallops closer, favoring the spur, sparing the rein. I think we will be gone soon.

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