Watchmen

Watchmen

by

Alan Moore

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Hollis Mason is the original Nite Owl and one of the Minutemen. Hollis becomes a masked avenger while he is a police officer, after he finds himself enamored by children’s comic books and reads about other costumed vigilantes in the newspaper. Hollis retires decades before Watchmen’s story takes place in 1985, passing the identity on to Daniel Dreiberg and opening an auto shop. However, during his retirement he writes an expose of his experiences as one of the Minutemen in a memoir called Under the Hood, which reveals that the Comedian (Edward Blake) tried to rape Sally Jupiter, among other grim details. Hollis dies on Halloween night after a local gang breaks into his house and bludgeons him to death in a random act of anarchic violence.

Hollis Mason (the original Nite Owl) Quotes in Watchmen

The Watchmen quotes below are all either spoken by Hollis Mason (the original Nite Owl) or refer to Hollis Mason (the original Nite Owl). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the DC Comics edition of Watchmen published in 1986.
Chapter 2: Absent Friends Quotes

Yes, we were crazy, we were kinky, we were Nazis, all those things that people say. We were also doing something because we believed in it. We were attempting, through our personal efforts, to make our country a safer and better place to live in. Individually, on our separate patches of turf, we did too much good in our respective communities to be written off as mere aberration, whether social or sexual or psychological.

Related Characters: Hollis Mason (the original Nite Owl) (speaker)
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7: A Brother to Dragons Quotes

Looking back, it all seems so… well, childish, I guess. Just a schoolkid’s fantasy that got out of hand. That’s, y’know, with hindsight… on reflection.

Page Number: 216
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Watchmen LitChart as a printable PDF.
Watchmen PDF

Hollis Mason (the original Nite Owl) Character Timeline in Watchmen

The timeline below shows where the character Hollis Mason (the original Nite Owl) appears in Watchmen. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: At Midnight, All the Agents…
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
Identity and Empowerment Theme Icon
Daniel Dreiberg, a middle-aged man, talks with Hollis Mason, an older man, in Hollis’s home. They reminisce about their past days as heroes—they... (full context)
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
American Corruption and Patriotism Theme Icon
Rorschach thinks it’s more likely that someone is killing “costumed heroes.” He mentions that Hollis said some critical things about the Comedian in his book, but Daniel says he’s wrong... (full context)
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
Moralist vs. Utilitarian Ethics Theme Icon
American Corruption and Patriotism Theme Icon
...died. She says the man was a monster who tried to rape her mother, as Hollis wrote in his book. Rorschach blows off the event as a patriot’s “moral lapse,” which... (full context)
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
The next section is an excerpt from Hollis Mason’s Under the Hood. A fellow writer told Hollis to start his book with the... (full context)
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Hollis describes how he graduates the police academy and becomes a cop when he is 23,... (full context)
Chapter 2: Absent Friends
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
Identity and Empowerment Theme Icon
Another excerpt from Hollis Mason’s Under the Hood: When Hollis decides he wants to be a caped crusader, he... (full context)
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
American Corruption and Patriotism Theme Icon
Hollis recalls that the Minutemen formed in 1939, when Captain Metropolis convinced Sally’s agent—and later, husband—Laurence... (full context)
Chapter 3: The Judge of All the Earth
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...she’s tired of being around “super-heroes.” Daniel is about to go have a beer with Hollis, so Laurie offers to walk with him there. The repairman warns them that they’re headed... (full context)
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
American Corruption and Patriotism Theme Icon
...laugh it off, then part ways. Laurie goes to find a hotel. Daniel goes into Hollis’s house and finds him watching Jon’s botched interview on TV. On the street corner, the... (full context)
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
American Corruption and Patriotism Theme Icon
In another excerpt from Under the Hood, Hollis recalls that the 1950s saw the decline of costumed heroes. The public stops being interested... (full context)
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
Identity and Empowerment Theme Icon
Nihilism and Meaning Theme Icon
American Corruption and Patriotism Theme Icon
...the 1960s, Dr. Manhattan appears—the first true “super-hero,” who makes all the other heroes obsolete. Hollis thinks that Dr. Manhattan’s existence changes the entire world, causing both fear and wonder that... (full context)
Chapter 4: Watchmaker
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
Nihilism and Meaning Theme Icon
American Corruption and Patriotism Theme Icon
...In 1961, Jon shakes President Kennedy’s hand. Two months later, Kennedy is assassinated. In 1962, Hollis Mason retires. He tells Jon he’ll become an automotive repairman—the world is changing fast, but... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Abyss Gazes Also
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
Moralist vs. Utilitarian Ethics Theme Icon
Identity and Empowerment Theme Icon
Nihilism and Meaning Theme Icon
...were soft like that. Kovacs commits no truly violent crimes before 1975. He works with Nite Owl in 1965, until Nite Owl eventually quits. The Comedian is the only one who stays... (full context)
Chapter 8: Old Ghosts
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Identity and Empowerment Theme Icon
Nihilism and Meaning Theme Icon
Hollis, in New York, calls Sally in California and tells her that he saw Nite Owl... (full context)
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
Moralist vs. Utilitarian Ethics Theme Icon
Nihilism and Meaning Theme Icon
Elsewhere, Hollis Mason carves a jack-o-lantern while listening to the news talk about a feud between New... (full context)
Nihilism and Meaning Theme Icon
...be caught in an atomic blast. A gang of young adults force their way into Hollis Mason’s house. He thinks they are trick-or-treaters at first, but they beat him to death... (full context)
Chapter 9: The Darkness of Mere Being
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
Nihilism and Meaning Theme Icon
...first-generation vigilantes. Laurie overhears them wondering if all of their crime fighting actually achieved anything. Hollis asks Laurie if she’s read his new book yet, but Sally implies that there is... (full context)
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Nihilism and Meaning Theme Icon
American Corruption and Patriotism Theme Icon
...implies that he was behind the J.F.K. assassination. Laurie is drunk and furious. She’s read Hollis Mason’s book and knows what Blake did, and she hates him. Laurie approaches Blake, throws... (full context)
Chapter 10: Two Riders Were Approaching
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
Moralist vs. Utilitarian Ethics Theme Icon
Identity and Empowerment Theme Icon
Nihilism and Meaning Theme Icon
...thinks he’ll be next. Meanwhile, a gang member tells Daniel that some other gangsters murdered Hollis Mason. Daniel becomes enraged and threatens to kill everyone in the neighborhood, but Rorschach convinces... (full context)