Thursday, December 2, 2010

Importance of Graphic Novels

The graphic novel, Maus II, uses its literary form to transcend that of the typical comic book image. Maus II uses a powerful medium of expression for the story of the Holocaust survivor, Vladek Spiegelman. Although the novel harbors typical qualities of a comic book in its struggle for good against evil, a super hero is not present to save the world but rather the novel depicts once man saving himself from the depths of oppression. As the novel presents a journey of survival, the reader follows this journey through the created images. This journey, tied into the placement of images, demonstrates the true importance in sharing a travel story.

The novel journeys through time allowing for images and stories of the past to be shared. Similar to most trips that are taken, images of what has happened are brought home with tales of adventures and typically positive sentiments. The structure of the graphic novel creates a sort of scrapbook feeling with the placement of images in telling the story of Vladek’s journey for survival. This scrapbook of pictures notion is particularly depicted on pages 114-115 in the placement of family pictures over top of the event that is being depicted. Having heard Vladek’s story, the family memories are added to further the journey that the characters create for the reader in their connection to the events and characters of the novel. The idea of creating a scrapbook through the characters tales and images demonstrates the importance of the events of the Holocaust for they are something that is to be preserves along with the images of Vladek’s family. Vladek states on page 115, “Anja’s parents, the grandparents, her big sister tosha, little bibi and out richieu…ALL what is left, it’s the photos.” Transcending the people of the photos, are the images themselves that are depicted. In this sense, the idea of photo images of being the last medium to show a person’s life or story increases the importance of the graphic novel. This would suggest that in the process of “scrapbooking” images of lives and thus history, the negative images and adventures would be even more worthwhile to preserve as Art Spiegelman does through his graphic novel.

Throughout this semester I was surprised by several aspects of travel literature. First off I was surprised by the overall broad range of the genre and the many different forms and types of travel. My initial thoughts as to what the class would be like very much narrowed the ideas of travel literature and I enjoyed expanding my own definition of travel and traveling through my own thoughts and journeys as the class progressed. Another surprising aspect me to was the idea of the forced journey. I feel I focused on this concept several times in my blogs for I am rather fascinated with the idea of a forced journey and what it entails, implies, and even the broad scale this journey could be measured upon. Throughout the texts I was further intrigued by the many different emotions that are involved in a journey and particularly how many of the depicted forced journeys expressed strong emotions of simultaneous dislike/hate/unkindness and love. I really enjoyed the thought provoking nature of the class, for I would often get lost in my own train of thoughts throughout the discussions, and for the fact that this class has really made me look at the ways and how I journey through my own life.

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