An Annotation of Literary, Historic, and Artistic References
in Alan Moore's Graphic Novel, V For Vendetta.
Madelyn Boudreaux,
April 27, 1994

Last Revised: August 13, 2004
Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Book 1
  • Book 2
  • <- You are here
  • Book 3
  • Sources and Credits
  • Quotes and fanmail
  • Part 3 of 5

    Copyright 1994-present, Madelyn Boudreaux.

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    92, 2, 1 torch song

    A torch song is a popular song style; torch songs are always about unrequited love (Simpson, OED, 264).

    92, 3, 2 queers

    The slang "queer," which generally meant odd or strange, took on the meaning of "homosexual," circa 1920 (Partridge, Unconventional, 1354). In this instance, it is referring to homosexuality.

    93, 1, 1 yids

    This term, which derives from the word "Yiddish," the language of Israeli Jews, is a pejorative reference to all Jewish people, regardless of whether they speak Yiddish (Partridge, Unconventional, 971).

    104, 3, 2 The Salt Flats

    This is not a real film. Halliwell gives no entry for it, and it appears to only serve a minor internal plot point, as Valerie Page's popular film.

    107, 2, 3 Storm Saxon

    This television show appears (thankfully) to be another invention. The Complete Encyclopedia of Television Programs,1947-1979, includes no such program. The choice of the name "Saxon" is important; the Saxons were descendents of the Norse conquerors who settled in France and England in the 5th century (Greer 178-179). Note that Storm's female companion is a white-clad blond named Heidi -- the paragon of Aryan purity!

    108, 2, 2 ...on N.T.V one...

    Apparently, N.T.V. stands for Norsefire Television, and is the fictional replacement for the B.B.C.-T.V., the British Broadcasting Corporation's television programing (Greene 566).

    108, 2, 3, on One...

    The B.B.C. currently airs on Channel One and Channel Two (Greene 566).

    112, 1, 3 ...Pay your bloody licence money for?

    The B.B.C. is non-Commercial, and is supported by selling license fees paid by television and radio owners.

    114, 1, 2 Space image

    This is Neil Armstrong walking on the moon's surface. Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, took his historic step in 1968.

    115, 3, 2 " always hurt the one you love...the one you shouldn't hurt at all.

    I have been unable to find this common quote in any standard references on quotations or cliches.

    Addendum - reader David M. Ryan noted: I believe that that quote refers to a song entitled You Always Hurt the One You Love by Allan Roberts and Doris Fischer. It was popularized by the Mills Brothers, a vocal quartet popular in the 1940's. (Ryan, personal email, August 15, 2001)

    Addendum - reader and Italian Vertigo translator Leonardo Rizzi added: From what I understand, they are the first two verses of a well-know song from the '40s, sung by the Mills Brothers, a popular Black Barbershop Quartet, quite famous at the time. I am pretty sure that the song must have been performed by someone else as well, but am not sure "where or when". Of course, the expression "you always hurt the one you love" has become increasingly popular in pop culture, but I am not sure if that happened before or after the song success. (Rizzi, personal email, November 06, 2001)

    116, 3, 1 Hitler

    One of the images in the background collage is of Adolf Hitler, leader of the German Nazi party, the ultra-right wing government that held Germany from 1933 to 1945 and executed some 6 million Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, and other political prisoners (Sauer 248).

    116, 3, 1 Stalin

    Josef Stalin's picture is included because, like Hitler and Mussolini, he is associated with violent tyranny. He controlled the Soviet Union from 1929 to 1953; during the years between 1934 and 1939, he imprisoned and killed his political enemies, which was nearly every military member, politician, and thinker in the country (Simmonds 571-74)

    116, 3, 1 Mussolini

    Benito Mussolini, another leader pictured in the collage, was an Italian leader who's despotism was nearly equal to Hitler's. Although he began as a pacifistic socialist, during WWI, he formed his right-wing Fascist Party. He was the Italian dictator from 1922 to 1943, and controlled Northern Italy from 1943 to 1945, before he was executed (Smith 677-78).

    117, 2, 1 troops marching in the background (image)

    These are Nazi troops from Hitler's army.

    124, 2, 3 Sarky

    This slang for sarcastic dates to the late 19th century. (Partridge, Unconventional, 727).

    125, 2, 1 ...who's flag is deepest red...

    Red flags have historically symbolized anarchists or communists, or both.

    125, 3, 1 ...I like the thrill... of the triumphant will...

    This line from the cabaret song refers to the famous Nazi propaganda-documentary film , The Triumph of the Will, produced for Hitler by Leni Riefenstahl in 1934. The film depicts the Nuremburg Nazi Party Rally of 1934 as a "quasireligious, mystical experience," just as the singer is describing (Cook 366).

    126, 1, 2 "...blonde and blue-eyed boy..."

    This is yet another reference to the Aryan ideal race.

    126, 1, 2 The Kitty-Kat Keller

    The name of the night club is possible a reference to the similar burlesque club, the Kit Kat Klub, from the film Cabaret, which is set at the dawn of Hitler's rise to power in pre-World War II Germany. Both stand out as having the initials KKK, which carries an inevitable association with the infamous white-supremist organization, the Ku Klux Klan.

    126, 3, 1 and when they 'heil' I smile...

    Still another reference to the Nazis; the "heil" was the verbal salute given to Hitler along with an upraised right arm.

    143, 3, 2 Punch and Judy Man

    Punch and Judy shows are puppet shows which originated in Italy sometime before the 17th century. They are extremely violent; Punch generally beats all the other characters to death. Like V, Punch always destroys his enemies (Encyclopedia Americana 6).

    166, -, - Paintings (images)

    I have been unable to determine the artists or titles of the paintings on this page.

    173, 2, 1 Arthur Koestler, The Roots of Coincidence

    Koestler was an early 20th century journalist, humanist and intellectual. This work, which dealt with the paranormal (Encyclopedia Americana 530-31).

    Introduction | Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 | Sources and Credits | Quotes and Fanmail