Team Members: Nicholas Bilcheck, Sam Greenberg, and Hang Ha
Project Title: Nexys2 Calculator
The goal of this project is to develop a broader understanding of Verilog and the Nexys2 board to develop a functional and useful product. The product for this project will be a calculator whose functionality is limited only by time constraints. In order to develop a calculator, knowledge on components that can be used with the Nexys2 board to make a more practical device will need to be obtained. These additional components include but are not limited to a keypad for inputs and a LCD display for outputs. In order to power the LCD display, knowledge on how to use an arduino to supply 5 V will also be required. In addition, further knowledge of Verilog will be required to input values from separate components, use those inputs to perform calculations, and then output those results to various screens. This knowledge will likely be obtained initially from instruction sets and other guides made by the developers of the Nexys2 board, the keypad, and the LCD. Using these guides will allow for an understanding of how integration between the modules and physical components will work. Furthermore, our goal for this project is to implement and master the modules necessary for storing and managing our data on the calculator and implementing the add, subtract, multiply and divide modules. A significantly challenging task for this project will be displaying the values on the LCD in our calculator. In addition, attempting to take further advantage of the LCD to display operators and previous entries will be later goals that will hopefully be achieved. A successful final project will have lead our group to obtain and understand the knowledge necessary to develop a calculator for the Nexys2 board involving all the functionality previously discussed, while adding further functionality as the project progresses and always being open to improving the final project.
Hang is in charge of the inputs. This includes the keypad and buttons on the Nexys2 board. Hang will need to implement modules to correctly receive input from the user and interpreting that information as a 4-bit number. She will then have to convert that into its decoded meanings – numbers and operations. In addition, she will have to figure out how the keypad works in terms of how to wire the keypad to the board and how to supply and read voltages to understand the outputs from the device. When she has finished that she will be assisting Nicholas with his section of the project. Along the way, she will work on integrating the various project components together.
Sam is in charge of the computational aspect of the project. He will have to implement the different computational algorithms which include addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Implementing these modules may be as simple as just using the operators or may involve writing individual modules to perform the operation. At later stages of the project Sam will also need to implement these operations, possibly with possibly negative numbers and order of operations. Sam will then need to pass the stored values to Nicholas for his phase of the project.
Nicholas will be using the information sent to him from Sam’s phase of the project to display on the LCD display the information stored in the calculator. This will include the previous number, the operation, and the result. Nicholas may eventually, if time permits, need to learn how to display “scrolling” information to allow the user to read text longer than the LCD display will allow.
There are three big portions in the block diagram: The keypadToHex decoder, the processor, and the output.
The keypadToHex decoder: this block will receive an input from a 4×4 keypad, and figure out which button was pressed using the keypadScan module. The keypadScan module will be made up of a multiplexer and an FSM . There is also a debouncer inside this block so that inputs from the keypad function properly. The output will be a hexadecimal value that indicates which value is pressed of the inputs whether it is a decimal value, a clear function, or an operator. This block is of difficult complexity and Hang works on this module.
A delay module is used to delay the key-pressed signal so the keypad scanner and the computational module can work together.
The computing module: this block receives the hexadecimal input from the keypadToHex module. The code involves a case/if statement to navigate through different arithmetic modules and produce the result of the equation as the output. This task is very difficult and Sam works on this module.
The result from the computational module is connected to a binary to decimal converter, which divide the result into hundreds digit, tens digit, and one digits so that it can be easily displayed on either 7 segment display or LCD.
The hexToAscii module converts hex value to corresponse string value.
The storeEq module store the equation string until the equal button is pressed. At that point, the result of the equation is assigned to the equation string.
The LCD module: this block receives inputs from the memory block to display equations and results on the LCD display. This task is very difficult as well. Hang and Nick work on this module.
How the module will be tested: The methods of testing will mostly involve having the Nexys2 board run the module. For the keypadToHex decoder, there will be the 7-segment-display on the board show the value of the button pressed. For the arithmetic module simulations will be run as well as physically using the Nexys2 board. For the LCD display, the only method of testing that will be used is attempting to display and change outputs on the LCD display properly.
(A short story written by me in my sophomore year of college)
Victor walks into an abandoned mine. Darkness covers him, like an infinite space before the existence of the universe, with only coldness and stagnation. Dusty old bricks and decaying wood separate everything inside from the outside world. Feeling some danger, Victor triggers his plasma sword. He blocks a whip attack and squares his body in a defensive position.
In the graphene body armor, Victor
Weismann is the superhero Crow. His mission is being the sword of judgement:
eliminating evil for a utopia of peace. Through intensive training, Victor is a
master of sword fighting, knife throwing, and various forms of martial arts.
With the help of advanced equipment on his utility belt and the mechanical
wings, Crow makes criminals fear the hazel eyes behind the black titanium mask.
The light from the plasma sword reveals
the man who initiated the attack. It is Atom, the man who was behind the mass
murder at Metropia University, and he has been hiding in various places ever
Crow thrusts his sword toward Atom.
Vertical. Horizontal. Forward. His attacks are direct and powerful. Atom slips
to the side, and swings his whip. Crow advances. For a brief moment, he can see
Atom’s brown eyes. Atom cracks a smile. The whip swings twice. The first one
misses, but the second one causes a small wound near Crow’s hip. He runs
forwards and strikes his sword. The sword tears Atom’s shirt apart, but misses
“Crow, you demonstrate good skills,” Atom
says, “but you are just an immature kid.”
“And you’re a murderer,” Crow loses his
temper. He turns off his sword. A sword is not a good weapon for fighting at a
far range. He flies up and continuously throws electric-charged knives at Atom.
This man is pure evil, he thinks. As Atom is overwhelmed, Crow pounds Atom into
“You’re making a mistake, Crow. Will
killing me make the world a better place?” Atom says.
Crow hesitates for a second, “Yes. For a
greater good.” He points his sword at Atom’s chest and turns it on. A beam of
purple light cuts through Atom’s body.
Victor’s hands are covered with
blood. This is not first time that Victor killed a human being. His body
shakes. In the past year, he has killed more than one hundred criminals. After
his first mission, he was terrified. In his dream, the criminals he killed
appear and scream at him. He doesn’t want to kill at all, but he needs to. It
is his destiny to correct this rotten world.
Victor opens his wide black wings and immerses himself into the starry night, heading back to his mansion in West Metropia. From above, Metropia City looks like a sea of light flashing and blinking, flowing continuously in time. Under those vibrant skyscrapers, behind those noisy luxury cars moving on the busy street, is subtle misery, from those cracked side walk, from those back alleys, and from people hiding themselves in a corner with their damaged bodies and damaged mind. The billion-dollar Weismann Company is in the center of everything for its ability to develop of cutting edge technology. Beside his Crow’s identity, Victor is also the CEO of the company. His father, Arnold Weismann, is the founder of the company, and he was also the original Crow. The company and Crow’s identity were Arnold’s legacy to Victor, as Arnold decided to focus on his research at Weismann Research Laboratory on Coral Island.
Victor puts the suit in the wardrobe
and looks around his headquarters. In one corner, a supercomputer, Watchman, is
searching for new criminals to eradicate. Next to the weapon shelf, which has
plasma swords, electric charged knives, and mini missiles, is Crow’s plane.
This plane has many impressive features, like transforming into a submarine or
disrupting radio frequency. It is controlled by artificial intelligence and is
covered with advanced weapons. Crow can summon the plane using the emergency
button on the utility belt. However, Victor is not too fond of it. He prefers
The smell of blood still lingers in
Victor’s mind. The moment he thrusts his sword through Atom keeps popping up in
his mind. To clear his mind from the traumatic experience, Victor goes to his
favorite café, The Intersection, to meet his girlfriend Sophia. She is a
talented mathematician, and she is very quirky. Victor loves how she hits her
ears with her fingers when she is thinking, her obsession with the number six
(she always wipes her hand six times after shaking someone’s hand), and her
habit of using “epsilon” to refer to anything that is small.
With excitement, Sophia shares her
works in proving the Riemann hypothesis, which is going to be published soon.
Victor tries his best to pay attention, but his head is filled with the image
of Atom’s dead body.
“Are you OK, Victor? Do you want an apple?
I always feel better when I put an apple on my head,” Sophia picks up an apple
and puts it on her head.
“I definitely want to try,” Victor laughs.
He puts Sophia’s apple on his head, but he doesn’t feel any better.
After the date, Victor comes back home and
opens Watchman to talk to Arnold, “Father, I have just killed Atom today, but I
feel terrible. Please help me.”
“Breathe,” Arnold says, “and repeat
after me: Justice is on my side. I killed Atom, the rotten rat of this world.”
“Father…” Victor hesitates.
“Say it, Victor.”
“Justice is on my side. I killed
Atom, the rotten rat of this world, for the greater good.” Victor says. He
feels better. His action is righteousness, therefore, he should not feel bad.
“And what is Crow’s purpose?” Arnold
“Construct a new world with only
good people by passing judgment on evil,” Victor answers. He has said this
thousands of times.
Nothing is more important than
achieving their dream, Victor thinks. He has been receiving training from
Arnold since he was ten, preparing for his mission of being Crow. Victor always
wanted to be a hero of justice, because the utopia that Arnold constantly talks
about is so beautiful that he obsesses over that ideal.
It has been one month since Crow killed
Atom, and Crow’s journey is still going on. Recently, there is a new villain
who is very popular on the news, Zero. Zero killed eight people by forcing them
to play lethal games of chance in which losers die. Russian roulette. Baccarat.
Poker. No one survives after playing the brutal game. As Watchman determines
Zero’s location, Victor leaves the mansion in his Crow’s suit, and heads to the
abandoned garage in North Metropia.
The garage looks fragile. Time has weakened
concrete poles, torn off the paint and put a thick layer of brown iron oxide on
everything. Old cars are distributed randomly around. Water drips down from the
roof, creating a hollow noise. Victor hides himself behind one of the poles.
Zero has a red mask which has small black
“Zero” engraved on it. Next to her is the victim, who is tied to a pole under
“Heads or tails, mister?” Zero says.
“Tails…No, heads,” the victim says.
Zero flips the coin, “It is tail. Too bad,
mister. The luck is not with you tonight.”
Zero puts her finger on the trigger. An
electric-charged knife comes at her. Zero dodges it, “Look like someone want to
join our game. Is that true, Crow?”
“You should pick someone of equal power to
play with, Zero,” Crow walks out and starts throwing knives at her. Zero dances
under the rain of knives, successfully dodges all of them.
“Crow, what‘s the epsilon, two or one? By
that I mean what’s smaller,” Zero shoots one bullet toward Crow.
“One,” Crow hides behind a pole to avoid
“If a plane with 400 people loses
control in the sky which can possibly destroy Metropia, would you destroy the
plane with 400 human beings inside it?” Zero pulls out another gun. However,
she still only uses her revolver for combat.
“I’d rather sacrifice 400 people to save
the whole city. The scale is obvious,” Crow runs forward with his sword.
“Do you know how many human beings that
you’ve killed already?” Zero jumps up to a car.
“I don’t need to count. Those rats are
better not to live for the ultimate peace of this world. And you’re next,
Zero,” Crow jumps up and forwards his sword.
“You‘ve been killing many people. Kill
yourself already to save lives of many,” Zero moves backward and pulls the
trigger. The bullet misses Crow because she has no time to aim.
“Sure if you kill yourself first,” Crow
“I refuse to believe that crap,” Zero
moves close to Crow and triggers her second gun.
Crow sees gas emitted from her gun. Paralyzing
gas! In a brief second, with incredible desire to live, Crow hits the emergency
button on his utility belt. Five seconds after that, he cannot move no matter
how much he tries. Zero walks toward Victor, holding her revolver.
“Now mister, want to play a Russian
roulette game with me?”
Suddenly, Crow’s plane comes in between
Crow and Zero, aims its weapons at her. Knowing the danger, Zero rides away on
her motorcycle. After thirty minutes, Crow recovers. He unties the victim, then
rides his plane back to the mansion.
After throwing off his suit, Victor calls
Sophia, “Hello, Sophia? I am not feeling well, so I cannot meet you tonight. I
am really sorry.”
Victor lies down on his bed. He thinks
about his conversation with Zero. The fact that Zero said “human being’
multiple times annoys Victor. Is what he has been doing so far not justice? No
way. Victor wants to talk to Arnold about it, so he opens Watchman and greets
his father, but the bell rings. Victor asks Arnold to wait then he runs out to
open the door.
“Sophia, why are you here? I canceled
Not waiting for Victor to say anymore
words, Sophia pulls out a strange device.
“I can’t wait to show you this cool thing.
Ultraviolet light. Isn’t it awesome?” Sophia turns on the switch, “I’d never known
electromagnetic radiation could be this cool.”
The light is inconveniently bright.
Victor’s eyes are overwhelmed.
“Turn it off Sophia.”
“Are you a vampire or something? It is
just a little enlightenment,” Sophia laughs.
“Sophia, I am very tired.”
“Fine. I will see you later then. Have a
good rest Victor,” Sophia turns off the light then leaves. She doesn’t look
Victor comes back and talks to his father. He tells Arnold about his conversation with Zero, about how she accused him as a killer, and about his confusion of justice.
“Repeat after me, son,” Arnold says,
“Justice is on my side. My mission is to eliminate the rotten rat of this
world, for the greater good.”
“But father, Zero said that I killed
“Just do it, son.”
Victor follows his dad‘s order, “Justice
is on my side. My mission is to eliminate the rotten rat of this world, for the
After talking to Arnold for a while,
Victor is illuminated. Arnold said that criminals are not worth listening to.
As Crow, Victor needs to be determined. Victor is glad that he is able to talk
to his father every day.
When he is finally alone, Victor feels a
little bit guilty because he pushed Sophia away. He calls her and apologizes
for his annoying attitude. Sophia admits that she was a little bit angry, but
his sincere apology makes her feel better. Victor then asks Sophia to come over
his house for lunch the next day and Sophia agrees. They look forward to the
Sophia comes to Victor’s mansion at around noon. Victor opens the door and he sees beautiful Sophia in her red dress. Their eyes meet each other. She has captivating brown eyes, which reminds Victor of morning espresso. He feels energized as he looks at her eyes.
They get in the Victorian-style dining
room. The dark oak table in the middle of the room makes a great complement
with the cream wall. Polish silverware glistens under warm sunlight. While
eating, Sophia and Victor discuss probability theory. Sophia seems to be
extremely interested in Cauchy-Schwarz inequality. However, Sophia is strange
today. She asks Victor about his personal values, and his definition of what is
morally right. Victor passionately talks about his Crow’s ethics, about
punishing bad people for a better society.
Sophia says, “I conclude with 95%
confidence that you are Crow.”
Victor freezes for a second. His identity
as Crow cannot be revealed that easily. He has been very careful. Maybe Sophia
said that just to mess him up.
“What are you talking about? I am just
Victor, a boring billionaire with a big mansion,” Victor laughs.
“You know I’m not a fool,” Sophia leans
toward Victor, “You’re Crow.”
“No, I’m not. Your claim is just a
hypothesis without proof. Also, the idea of me being Crow is absurd.”
“I have proof, Victor. But it’s better for
you not to know it.”
Victor feels uneasy. He wants to know the
proof so badly to be able to convince her that he is not Crow.
“Tell me the proof, Sophia. I’m interested
in how you come up with that ridiculous idea.”
“You don’t even know the consequence,”
Sophia says, “It’ll end everything. Do you still desire to know?”
“It isn’t fair for me to be the only one
who is confused. Tell me Sophia, then we’ll try to resolve everything.
Together,” Victor holds Sophia’s hand.
Sophia shrugs Victor off, “If it’s what
you want, I’ll show you the proof.” She opens her purse, pulls out the UV
“Remember this, Victor? That day, under UV
light, you have a mark on your face,” Sophia says, “I put invisible ink in the paralyzed
gas emitted from my gun.”
Victor connects everything together. Only
now he realizes the similarity between Sophia and Zero, from their voice and
mannerism. And “epsilon”! They both refer it as something that is small. How
could he miss such an important detail?
“Sophia, you are Zero?”
Silence. It is confirmed, Victor thinks.
He loves Sophia. But he is also Crow. Crow needs to destroy Zero. And of all
the absurdities, Sophia and Zero are the same person.
“Victor, do you love me?”
“Yes, I do,” Victor says hesitantly.
“Then please die, Victor. For me, and for
Victor’s adrenaline level increases. What
is going on? And he realizes that this is Zero. To die just because of a
request is weak. He would not do that. And Crow would never do that, especially
for a criminal.
“No. I am Justice,” Victor says.
“I am not a good person. Not anymore. At
least I know that. But you still blindly think that you are good,” Sophia loads
her gun, “That is why I need to eliminate you, as Zero.”
This cannot be the end, Victor thinks. In
the mist of confusion and fear, Victor hears his father’s voice, “Victor,
remember that you are Crow. And Crow’s mission is to exorcise evil in this
world.” “But I love Sophia, father,” Victor murmurs to himself. “The person
that stands in front of you is Zero. Wake up, Victor. Zero is trying to kill
you”, the voice inside Victor’s head says. And Victor decides. He puts his hand
in his pocket, pulls out a cigarette and his black matte lighter – a present
from his father, “Sophia, do you love me?”
“I used to, Victor,” Sophia says, “But it
will not stop me from attempting to kill you.”
“Then can I just have the last cigarette
before I die under your hand?”
“I didn’t know that you smoke. Anyways, if
smoking is on your bucket list, I will grant you that wish,” Sophia seems
Victors turns on the lighter. He brings
the lighter to the tip of his cigarette. Suddenly, he throws his cigarette at
Sophia’s eyes. She drops her gun. Victor picks up the gun.
It is now or never. If Victor sees
Sophia’s eyes, he knows he could never be able to kill her. In this situation,
the choice is either to kill, or to be killed.
“I love you, Sophia,” Victor says. And he fires the gun.
Victor feels like time stop. The gun clicks,
then the spring exerts force on the bullet. At that moment, Sophia opens her
eyes and looks at Victor. This time, it is filled with hatred. Her brown eyes
stares deep into Victor’s soul. Victor wants to stop, but he has already pulled
the trigger. There is no way back. The bullet rushes through the air, then it
reaches flesh. Sophia falls down, like a rose petal. Sophia’s blood runs on the
checkerboard floor. It has the same color as bouquet of roses on the table. Her
blood touches the revolver, then the cigarette, and then Victor. Sunlight
shines on the unfinished plates, the red napkin on the floor, and Sophia’s
purse. The purse catches Victor’s attention. He opens the purse and sees a
“My dear daughter Sophia,
By the time you read this letter, I
probably have been killed by Crow. I want you to know that I am innocent. I was
the only survivor in the classroom that day, so the investigator quickly
accused me as a culprit without even trying to find the truth. That is why I
became Atom. I just want to let you know that I always love you. Your father.”
Victor collapses into the couch. He killed
Sophia’s father, and now he killed Sophia. He looks up Atom’s real name –
Albert Brandt. Atom is indeed innocent: they caught the real culprit a few days
ago. Sophia must have hated Crow so much for killing her father that she turned
into the criminal Zero.
Victor thinks of his missions. He did kill
a lot of criminals, but at the same time, involved many innocent people. As he
put human lives on the scale, he thought he knew the consequences of his
actions, so he made decisions based on that. But how could he know what would
happen? How does one know what is good or bad? This world is complex and
unpredictable. As one variable changes, many other variables will change as
well. He wants to be hero of justice, but he fails to understand its
foundation. He tried to save more people, but ended up making more villains by
produce more hatred. The result is that more people suffered.
So Zero was right.
Crow is a hypocrite.
Tangled in all those thought, Victor decides to go for a walk without any destination in mind. He walks in a small alley. Darkness consumes the forest of stone. The wind is screaming as it flows through some broken windows. The alleyway is twisted and convoluted, and most of the time Victor only finds dead ends in this giant labyrinth. Not much sunlight can find their ways to get in this alley, so it is still cold and gloomy, filled with loneliness. A dead rat is lying near the garbage can, producing an unpleasant smell. The smell attaches itself to the wind, scatters around, and invites flies to come for a big feast. Disgusted, Victor tries to escape the alley. He finally finds the way out and sees the sun again. On the side walk, a smashed rose lies in sadness.
Victor realizes that Crow doesn’t have the
authority to decide how the world should be. He makes a quick call to Arnold
and arranges an emergency private flight to Weismann Research Laboratory. After
two hours flight, he reaches his final destination. As Victor walks in the
research lab, he sees cold light from fluorescent tubes shine on the black tile
floor, and reflect to the stainless steel wall. The lab is divided into
different rooms, and each room has different set of machines. In the monotone
background, oscilloscope, spectrometer, particle accelerator, electron
microscope, and other expensive equipment are immersed in slight disinfectant
He tells his father about everything. Crow
need to be stopped, he thinks, because peace cannot be achieved with violence.
Zero’s words come back to Victor, and only now he understands what they mean.
Victor assumes that his father would get
angry at him because of his decision. But Arnold looks incredibly calm. He
listens to everything Victor has to say, without any change of expression on
you strongly believe that we shouldn’t complete our dream?” Arnold says.
“Yes, because Crow isn’t true justice,”
“I guess at this point I can’t
change your mind by mere talk anymore,” Arnold put on his respirator.
White gas occupies the whole room.
When the ventilation fan turns on and the gas flies out, Victor realizes that
he is unable to move. He tries to say something, but his mouth is also
paralyzed. He feels threatened.
“Don’t worry, Victor,” Arnold says,
“I won’t harm you.”
Arnold walks to the next room. The
autonomous chair that Victor is sitting in follows Arnold. A big machine is in
the middle of the room. The machine has a gurney with complex machinery covers
the head position.
“This machine can erase memory all
your memory about Sophia, Victor. I knew you would disagree with me eventually,
even though I always talked to you about our dream and I controlled your
sources of information. When I saw you killed Sophia through the surveillance
system I installed in our mansion, I thought you have grown away from yourself,
but I was wrong.”
The autonomous chair changes shape,
starts its programming sequence. A few minutes later, Victor is lying in the
machine. Victor feels hopeless. At the moment he learns the truth, he is going
to forget everything. He cannot accept that he will live his life being
blindfolded. He tries to move, but he cannot.
“Victor, you know what Crow is. Most
people would just live for themselves, stuck in their own bubbles, and do
selfish things. Someone needs to stand up and make decisions to bring this
world into order. It is no one but Crow. I have to make Crow live forever. For
the greater good.”
Victor closes his eyes. He sees
himself running through his memory castle, with each room stores part of his
memory about Sophia. In one room, Sophia is sitting in the café, talking to
Victor for the first time. Victor remembers their conversation about golden
ratio, and as Sophia left, she gave Victor a math problem, which turned out to
be her phone number. In the opposite room is his fight with Zero, which looks
like a tango dance. Victor reaches the final room, where Sophia is waiting for
him. Victor sees her deep brown eyes, so he tries to reach her. The espresso
color turns into cappuccino, then the brown color disappears. Victor feels lost
in the empty room.
Then a crow approaches Victor,
emerges in him. Victor sees his life. His physical training with his father in
sword fighting. His fight with the evil for justice. With the plasma sword, he
passed judgment on all criminals. And he sees Metropia flashing and blinking
under him, like thousands fireflies. Everything is so vivid, so colorful, seems
like they happens only yesterday. It feels so good to be Crow.
Victor wakes up in his mansion, at
Crow’s headquarters. Watchman is still running, seeking for the criminals. No
matter what happened, the earth still rotates around the sun, the universe
still expands, and Victor still does his job. “Beep,” there is a notification
from Watchman of a bank robbery nearby.
Victor puts on his suit. “Crow is
ready,” Victor says. Then, without hesitation, he immerses himself into the
sky. The sky is pitch black.
In the beginning of the semester, I was very interested
in moral philosophy and the definition of justice. I wanted to focus on the
gray area of moral ethics, therefore I developed a superhero-main character
struggling with his moral values. He represents utilitarianism value, and his
rival represents deontology value. I developed plot twist by putting this two
characters in a complex relationship, and I also intentionally gave some cliché
superhero elements to the story. The fight between this two characters, and the
fact that both of them are ethically questionable show that as human, we are
often confused and have disagreement about the truth. And in Victor’s case, he
can only get over his false assumption about justice by exchange ideas with
other people, which are Sophia and her father. Similar to Victor, we tend to
justify our actions, therefore, it is necessary to question our moral ideas of
what is right and wrong and seek for the truth. As I was writing about “the
father” character, I realized that this character can bring another big theme
beside the moral ethics part of the story. I had the father, Arnold, acted as
the mastermind who controlled and manipulated Victor to be a violent superhero.
The false belief was infused into Victor’s mind, and he blindly believed it
until he figured out that he killed an innocent man. Victor is nothing but a
tool for Arnold to achieve his goal, covered by the utilitarianism idea. By
this, I want to convey the essence of war: many people attend war, assuming
they are fighting for good cause, but have little to none understanding about
what they are fighting for, and become a puppet of propaganda and manipulation
from greater power. Arnold’s method to control Victor were surveillance,
repetition and dehumanization of the opponents. In my very first draft of the
story, I had Arnold faked his death, then he showed up to kill Victor when Victor
is no longer useful. Later, I decided that having Arnold disappeared in the
middle of the story doesn’t show how Victor is manipulated by Arnold. In the
final version of my story, Arnold always kept his eyes on his son; and Victor just
had his memory erased. I think the new ending works better since it emphasizes
that Victor was brainwashed by many different method, and he lived his whole
life being blindfolded.
“Crow” is the biggest symbol in my story. Many cultures
consider crows as the keepers of the Sacred Law, and nothing escapes their keen sight. Crows is secretive and mysterious. Crow is
omen of death. Crow eats rotten meat, which represents the evil in society.
However, as crow can eat almost everything, it damage crops and transfer
disease. This image perfectly represents the good, the bad and the ugly of this
superhero. All the names in my story has meaning: “Victor” means “conqueror”,
“Sophia” means “wisdom”, Arnold means “eagle power”, Albert means “noble”, and
the supercomputer Watchman is closely related to surveillance. The setting in
my story also reveal the theme. Metropia City is vibrant from the outside but
broken from the inside. Most of the setting description in my story are dark,
and in the end, “the sky is pitch black”. The alley that Victor go through near
the end of the story is the symbol of his journey, which is convoluted, dark,
and narrow. It is hard for Victor to find an escape out of his Crow’s
responsibility, as he is in a vicious circle. There are only few moment of
light in the story, and they are all with Sophia, because she revealed his
falsehood. The “smashed rose” in the setting of the story represents Sophia and
Victor’s guilt. In conclusion, I believe with these symbols and the plot
itself, the story has enough subtlety for an intelligent reader to get them.