Tuesday, October 18th, 2011...1:09 am

Pet preference

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Page 29 contains very significant color symbolism. The difference between the red lights of the secret facility and the cool outdoor setting makes the facility seem womb-like. WE3 are being born from this place; they have been recreated and built. They leave the facility with different minds and bodies than when they first entered it. We can see this clearly when Bandit finds out his name, or when he discovers that the suits are ‘coats’ and not skin.

It seems ironic that the womb would be considered someplace safe, since had they stayed the animals would have been decommissioned. However, perhaps this is reminiscent instead of birth: they have come to a point where they must leave and find their own way in the world—be born again into the ‘regular’ animals adopted at the end by the man.

 

The dialogue on this page raises issues for me. There is a lot of stress throughout the story on the animals being pets. The truck which brings them back from their mission says “pet supplies,” and all three animals have missing posters from their owners.

The main speaker on 29 says “I don’t hate animals./ I have two dogs of my own…” as if owning pets means one cares about animals. What about animals not generally domesticated? Would he care for them? His statement makes me think of the old argument: “I’m not racist/sexist/etc.! I have friends who are insert minority here!” It isn’t that he shouldn’t place human lives above animals. In fact, I can see how replacing human soldiers could seem like a moral thing to do. It’s the fact that he- or even, the whole book- seems to value animals as pets, as companions; that they are valuable only in their relationship to humans.

“I want animals bred for the job,” he says in the next panel. What difference would this make? Using lost pets hurts the owners, but what about using strays, or shelter animals? The implication to me is that animals with the potential to be pets deserve our emotional investment, whereas others do not. The truth is, however, that either animal would have as complex emotions, desires, and fears as the other. Their ability or experience interacting with humans seems irrelevant to their worth, but in WE3, it very nearly defines it.

Think about “GUD DOG” after saving a man on 66, and “bad dog” after killing a man on 73. I understand the important role this plays to the graphic novel: it shows us a compassionate and emotional side to 1, and shows that he is not a character who would be inclined to murder or killing; that he desires, instead, companionship, and is capable of feeling guilt.

But then think about this: we are made to feel that he must be okay, because he wants to be friends with people. What about animals who don’t? What if he didn’t? Would his life be any less worthwhile, or the experiments any less disturbing, if the animals chosen were ones who hadn’t shared their lives with humans?



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