V for Vendetta: Internal and External Environments

V for Vendetta: Internal and External Environments

            Psychedelic experiences are affected by a number of factors that can be categorized into two types, those originating from the internal environment and those from the external environment. The internal environment refers to the cognitive state of the individual experiencing the psychedelic. This includes the user’s emotional state, level of self-awareness, and consciousness. The external environment refers to the physical setting the user is in during the trip. This includes the physical characteristics of the location, presence of other people, and state of the world. While the internal and external environments are typically controlled by different stimuli, psychedelics marry the two. This causes both an internal reflection of the external embodied by the cognitive changes experienced by the user and an external reflection of the internal in the form of hallucination. In V for Vendetta, Eric Finch, the Police Chief hunting down V, takes lysergic acid diethylamide at the Larkhill Concentration Camp. This narrative allows Moore to deconstruct Finch’s internal and external environments resulting in a simultaneous development of character and world that allows Finch, and the reader, to better understand that character and world.

            Finch experiences permanent change in his internal environment as a result of his acid trip. The trip is preceded by Finch explaining that his biggest concern regarding V is not his seemingly supernatural physical abilities, but the abnormality of his mentality that motivates his actions. In order to better understand the state of consciousness V is operating out of, he decides to take four tablets of LSD at the concentration camp V was held in. Before the trip, Finch is a passive supporter of the corrupt systems V is fighting against. While he has objections to certain actions taken by Norsefire, his primary value is upholding the law despite those objections. Entering into the trip, his internal environment was largely characterized by his value of law and order. However, as the acid affects his external environment, he begins to see the flaws in maintaining blind loyalty toward the law. He experiences the epiphany that he has been conflating his internal need for order after his family’s death with the external need for order through a totalitarian regime.


V for Vendetta

(Moore 211).

The visions he receives, which are reflections of both his internal and external environment, provide him a visual representation of the organization he’s been working for. Experiencing the horrors of war, genocide, and incarceration causes a fundamental shift in his internal environment.

            Finch experiences massive changes in his internal environment as a result of the external environment of the trip. His hallucinations take shape by emulating the horrors carried out at the concentration camp. This serves as commentary, both for Finch and the reader, on the world of the novel. He transcends the physical location of the camp for the first time when he sees a large group of smiling black people. He mourns all of their deaths and remembers the beauty of the world’s diversity before genocide.


V for Vendetta

(Moore 212)

This external manifestation of the sacrifices made by the government to uphold their definition of “order” massively affects Finch’s internal environment. He actively mourns the black race, proclaims his love for them, and is finally able to understand the horror of this genocide. Finch experiencing the physical, or external, presence of black people allows his internal environment to recall the feeling of that experience causing him to gain a new perspective on his external environment through internal emotion.

            Finch then wanders into a house where he hallucinates Delia cooking him food. When he expresses his confusion and concern, she volunteers to medicate him and is joined by a priest who begins coercing Finch. It is ultimately revealed that she plans to poison him as she pledges loyalty to the priest, a representation of a “higher power”, by kissing his finger and reciting the sign of the cross in Latin.


V for Vendetta

(Moore 214)

This external vision provides commentary on society’s obsession with pharmaceuticals and religion. Members of society either see drugs or God as the ultimate solution for all problems, but Delia’s blind loyalty toward a “higher power” causes her to abuse her ability to distribute medicine exposing the disjoint relationship between the two. This affects Finch’s internal environment by reinforcing the idea that blind loyalty can result in abuse of power. His internal acceptance of the government’s actions in the name of order and security is resulting in tangible form that he now has presented in his external environment.

            Finch finds himself in Room V where he has a monologue addressing the concept of internal imprisonment through the visual of external imprisonment. He obsesses over seeking to understand V’s perspective until he finally understands that V is free because he refuses to not be.


V for Vendetta

(Moore 215).

Finch’s experience culminates in the realization that he is the only one with ultimate control over his life. This internal revelation manifests in an external visualization of the prison’s brick wall being blown open as Finch strips out of his prison uniform and runs toward Stonehenge naked, joyful, and free. The altering of his internal and external environments by the psychedelic experience allows him to finally understand V’s perspective as he intended.


V for Vendetta

(Moore 216).

The relationship between the internal and external in this chapter is uniquely psychedelic. Moore is able to simultaneously characterize Finch and the world of the novel through psychedelically marrying the character’s internal and external environments. The internal changes Finch experiences are caused by his external environment during the trip. However, his external environment is informed by his internal perspectives on what’s going on in the world. This dual relationship of the internal and external creates a flow of perception that allows for a greater understanding of the self and the world.

Works Cited

Moore, Alan. V for Vendetta. DC Comics, 1988.