V for Vendetta, 30 Years Later Part IV: Valerie

So, I have said, in every part so far, something that either references or directly mentions the scene of reading the letter written on toilet paper during the imprisonment section. And every time, I have said to keep it in mind, as I would cover it later. Well, it’s time to talk about that scene. When Eve is under arrest and thrown in her cell, she finds a letter written on toiler paper crammed into a mouse hole in the wall. Written in this letter is the life story of one woman, Valerie. After the ruse is revealed, V explains that Valerie was indeed real, and the letter was the same one he himself had read in the cells of Larkhill five years before. She was the woman in Room 4. The first half of Valerie’ds story touches on a lot of major issues faced by the LGBT community, beginning with her years in grade school and her first girlfriend “growing out of the phase”, a sad but common occurrence, then moving up through her acceptance of who she is, being rejected by her family, finding a life on her own, falling in love, and all the things that come with that. Up to this point, her experiences are, if not directly relatable, at least the sort of thing that can be easily understood by the average reader, enough to create a sort of empathy for Valerie and blunt the edge of fictional detachment. It’s at this point that the story moves into her experience with the war, the Norsefire taking over, her wife getting captured and tortured into betraying her, her arrest, and experience in the camp. The value in this story is primarily in its service to the book’s commentary on fascism. Up until this point, the things we the audience saw about Larkhill were entirely from the perspective of the Norsefire members, specifically Prothero and Surridge, and as such couldn’t fully convey the horror of it. Then, with the introduction of Valerie, the book presents the same events from the opposite perspective, and because the previous two accounts pulled no punches on how horrific the treatment of prisoners was at Larkhill, Valerie serves as the bridge connecting the audience to all those horrible things, due to the first half of her story building that sense of understanding and connection to her as a character, the parts that describe and/or imply the horrible things done to her in the camp hit all the harder because the reader (ideally) has built up enough empathy for her as a character that they can even begin to imagine the horrible things she describes in much more vivid ways. This is built on further when Finch, the closest thing to an impartial observer the book has, visits Larkhill himself, and that experience for the reader further colors their perception of his observations. In so far as what her story does directly in the narrative, being the lynch pin in V becoming who he is, and Eve following his footsteps, her story is the perfect catalyst, even as far as V is concerned, the suffering and misery endured by a woman who died mere feet from him yet he never got the chance to speak to serves as the most understandable reason his mind broke and reformed into what he became, especially combined with the mind-altering effects of Batch 5. As for Eve, someone who has only vicariously known of any of the horrors of the Norsefire until that point, and then suddenly finding herself in similar conditions, Valerie’s note serves as the fullest possible “eye opening” device, the thing that snaps Eve into fully understanding exactly how horrible the Norsefire are capable of being, and setting in motion the chain of personality changes that lead to her final decisions in the book. All of this from one small scene comprising only one chapter, and a few short mentions afterwards. It’s things like this that make V For Vendetta as great as it is.

Well, there’s ONE more thing, but we’ll need to wait until the next installment for that one.


Author: WhenSomethingCriesAgain

Several years ago, I found myself positively brimming with opinions and insight, with no way to express them, so I began writing, and found that I liked it. I decided to start a page to keep records of my writing, and hopefully convince a few people to agree with my ideas.

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