The Violence and Villains of Little Orphan Annie

The Snatch

Later on, Annie is tortured by Mr. Mack, though Gray never lets the reader see what goes on. We know Annie is being beaten, but like the thugs in the shadowy foreground, we have to use our imagination to "see" the violence. Gray would rely on this device much more in later stories. In contrast to Gould's graphic images of violence, Gray allowed the reader to supply his or her own vision of the violence.

Use Your Imagination

The Haunted House sequence ends, as do most of Gray's stories, with the vigilante, in this case "Daddy" Warbucks, rounding up the gangsters in typical shoot-out fashion. Warbucks stands in the middle of the fray, while the villain, Mr. Mack, cowers around a corner. From the middle of the action, Warbucks is able to spot Mr. Mack and pick-off his hat. Mr. Mack responds by giving up immediately, in sniveling fashion. In Gray's world, the villain is always a coward at heart, no matter how despicable he or she has been. True justice, for Gray, seems to be vigilante-style justice. This might very well be the reason that Gray ghosted the western strip Little Joe. True justice could be doled out without the possibility of the judicial system screwing things up. The Asp and Punjab would later serve Warbucks and Gray well in this fashion, as many criminals were transported to another world, relieving the judicial system of the bother. In the case of Mr. Mack, Warbucks is able to pad the judicial system to make sure that Mack gets his due. Even Annie questions the morality of such actions, as have many of Gray's critics.


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