The rose is often associated as a symbol of love, and sometimes regret when apologies are in order. Alan Moore and David Lloyd use the rose for much more than that in V for Vendetta. The rose can simply be looked over as the reader scans across the pages of the graphic novel or viewing the movie, dismissing it as something V associates with his past, but it’s so much more than that. The Violet Carson is significant, it’s not a random type of rose that the authors thought would look pretty, and happens to start with a V. As our protagonist V would say, “there is no coincidence, only the illusion of coincidence.”
The Violet Carson rose was actually named after the actress Violet Carson. In Orvis Evans’s presentation “The Thematic Significance of Intertextual Allusions in V for Vendetta” Evans's research shows that Violet played a character named Ena Sharples on a show called Coronation Street. According to Evans, “Ena Sharples was the self-proclaimed moral voice of the show.” These facts show the rose in V for Vendetta represent V’s morality. V needs to seek revenge on the people who have harmed so many people. He sees that there has to be a balance, an eye for an eye. V leaves the rose on his murdered victims, providing the symbolism of vengeance and justice.
The rose is also personified in the character of Rosemary. Rosemary is a meek woman who loses her husband, and her world slowly falls apart. She continually spins in this downward cycle as the world begins to crumble around her. Much like the roses that have gone extinct after the war, Rosemary becomes “completely and utterly alone.”
It is V who revives both the Violet Carson and Rosemary. V has taken everything away from Rosemary, but it’s through this process that she becomes V’s “most special rose.” Evey walks in the garden with V and asks, “Is there a rose here for the Leader; for Mr. Susan?” V responds, “Oh no, not here. For him, I’ve cultivated a most special rose.” V gardens, nurtures, and provides the backdrop for Rosemary in the same fashion he has for Evey. It’s Rosemary that is the last rose presented when she kills Leader.
This gives the rose another meaning, hope. Rosemary states, “You were my lifeline. I was stuck at home. You connected me to the world and I’m still clutching at you. Even though you’re broken and I’m adrift.” At first glance, it is obvious that she is talking to herself about her dead husband, but it applies to a deeper meaning.
Rosemary is the rose that is still clutching at the world, trying to bring it hope. The world is broken, but the rose is there to provide hope. V’s prison neighbor Valerie tells the story about her life to V while in the concentration camp. Valerie writes,
“I hope that the world turns and that things get better, and that one day people have roses again.”
After the war there were no more roses, no more hope. The government had squashed all hope after they had completely taken over. It’s not until V shows up that the world begins to see the roses again. V provides hope. Moore and Lloyd close the story with an image, a bushel of roses blooming in the midst of the world’s rubble.