Society & Culture & Entertainment Reading & Book Reviews

Reading: The Crow

Ideologies are embedded in all media products of today's society.
An ideology is "a set of deliberately formulated, coherent, rational, usually political ideas that is used as a way of defining and understanding how society can be organised " (O'Shaughnessy, 1999 p158).
The comic book, The Crow: The Line Between The Devil's Teeth, is an example of this.
By simply reading this comic, readers are exposed to the ideologies and beliefs that the writers and creators have hidden inside this particular text.
By using ideological views within texts an overall idea on a particular issue can be made, this allows the creators to put forward their views and ideas of society.
Many media products tend to portray that the world is a bright and joyful place.
By creating likeable, sunny characters and using bright colours readers are shown a view of society that seems perfect, or how the creator would like the reader to view society.
The Crow is relatively different as it shows society and the world as a dark and painful place where people have to struggle to find a moment of happiness, it shows a perception of today's society that many do not wish to acknowledge.
It uses sad, unfortunate characters, like that of Eric Draven, which draws the reader towards the story, and uses the viewers' sympathy to make them 'open their eyes' to see this perception of today's society.
It is the dominant beliefs of the creators that are found within the text.
Race, gender, life and death are just a few of the central ideologies found within the text.
These ideologies are how the world and society is viewed by these people, and are put forth in the text to allow an audience to view these ideas.
By incorporating the ideologies of the creators, their voice is allowed to be heard by those reading the text.
The audience is important to the creators of the comic because without them, their ideas and views are not heard.
Gender roles play an important position in The Crow.
This relates to the function of masculinity and femininity roles played out according to the values of ideology.
(O'Shaughnessy, 1999).
These values have tended to give the male gender greater privileges and powers to the lesser powerful female gender, this is also referred to as the Patriarchy System.
The people that The Crow 'protects,' and tries to help, are females and children.
This tends to reinforce the old belief that women and children need to have the protection of a male entity.
Although this belief is slowly becoming obsolete to prove this, the comic uses a lady, Lillie, to protect a group of children at the beginning of the story.
This role, however, is short lived when "The Crow" arrives to protect them all.
Race is another issue that is touched upon in the comic.
Even though nothing is actually said about the issue it is important to note that there is only one black person in the comic, the rest are all white.
This character, Officer Albrecht, although given a main part, is only given a small place for readers to see.
At the end of the story the narration blames Albrecht for the deaths that occur because he didn't act quickly enough to the information he was given.
Even though the black community has been represented within the comic, it gives off a negative attitude towards this particular community.
Also no other ethnic race is represented within the comic.
This negative attitude puts down the significance of the black community represented by this character.
This noticeable issue tends to portray the white community as a more superior race than that of any other race.
These media representations give the reader "constructions and images of ethnic difference, as such, they teach us how to understand ethnic issues" (O'Shaughnessy, 1999 p220).
If media representations give a negative attitude to different races then the reader is generally given the impression that the particular race in question is generally unpleasant.
Images and representations from the media are an important source of how people think and view the world and society around them.
The issue of life and death is covered deeply within the text.
The life of Lillie is represented as a righteous one because of her goodness.
It is seen that because she has protected a group of children from an 'evil' man she is considered 'good' in the eyes of God and therefore has a right to living her life.
D, on the other hand, is portrayed as an evil person.
His life and the way he has chosen to lead his life is considered a sin, the view that he is undeserving of his live is portrayed within the text and is therefore an undesirable character whose life is not mourned when he is killed.
This is relevant in the narration just before his death, "...
The wages of sin is death" (McFarlane, 1999 p19).
Eric Draven, The Crow while already dead himself; has been given a second chance of life to rectify his own guilt about not being able to save his wife from the people who killed them both.
It is in his confused transition to this second life that he starts to 'protect' those he believes to be innocent.
By saving these innocent people, Eric believes that he will redeem himself in the eyes of God, so that he can once again be with his love.
The audience is able to see five different views of the story.
This allows the reader to see many different angles of how the story takes place and how different characters are seen.
The 'narration' of the radio joins the stories together.
For example, the stories of 'The Crow,' Lillie and D come together through the radio narration in the scenes on pages 20-21.
The 'narrator' or the reverend sums up Lillie's death by saying "...
She was intended by God to be a righteous woman" (McFarlane, 1999 p20).
The statement not only sums up the life of Lillie but also justifies her death.
The use of the colour scheme helps the mood of the story; it is not intended to be a happy tale.
Therefore the use of little to no colour (besides a standard of black, white and grey) enforces what is being said throughout the text.
The world is not always bright and cheerful; society can be a dark place to be if you are not ready to accept its terms.
Ideologies are part of everyday products, it is hard not to notice these when they are embedded within texts.
Within the comic book The Crow: The Line Between The Devil's Teeth, many issues that are relevant to our society are embedded into the story.
Race, gender, life and death are important issues in society.
By implanting the ideologies that the creators and writers believe, a new view can be analysed by the reader, perhaps change their own views or confirm their own personal views about a particular topic.
It seems that the ideologies of the creators that create the story and make it worth something to the reader.
References: McFarlane, Todd.
The Crow: Book Four - The Line Between The Devil's Teeth.
Image Comics.
O'Shaughnessy, Michael.
Media and Society: An Introduction.
Oxford University Press, Australia.
Cited Materials: Ly, Prof.
Ideology Handout: A Brief Guide.
[WWW document].
Available: http://www.
html [2001, May 28].

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