When given the choice to join “The Secret Life of Comic’s ” as a first year writing class I enrolled immediately, curious on what this course might teach me. All the other options for first year writing seemed to be generic writing classes that would not interest me or teach me anything I haven’t learned in high school. I wanted to take classes that I would truly learn something new to increase my knowledge about writing. While reading the course information, I was intrigued by how I might see comics in a new perspective and the importance that can include. Comics were never of particular interest to me because I saw them more as a quick read, picture books and just telling of superhero stories when they are way more than that. On the first day of the course, Professor Morgen introduced comics as much more than the typically know false stereotype of being a novel. In fact, comics were able to be written in all types of genres not just children’s fiction. Stitches and Fun House were the first full non-fiction comic that I ever read and they completely transform my understanding of comics. While reading Stitches, we analyzed how the image that was displayed on the page connected with the words and story the author was conveying. For a class discussion, we read an article called “Comics for Grown Ups” by Hillary Chute, that gave insight into how what is drawn on the page is way more than just an image but in fact only a piece of the puzzle in order to get and understand the true message of the page. As a group we pulled apart the concept’s specially comic authors used to fulfill their purpose of the comic.The smallest details such as the way a line was placed to the number of panels the author choose to use is all part of a bigger picture such as the theme of the comic.Before this being revealed to me, I believed the images created/used by the author was just a visual representation of what the speech box/ bubble was saying.
When I look back on the work I have produced throughout this semester, I realized that I lacked the skill of being able to look at the greater theme that is conveyed through comics. Like many others when looking at comics, I would typically describe the page through what the words in the panel meant and how the image exemplified that. I now think of what hidden messages might there be in a text that the author uses to connect parts of the theme together. A piece of writing that I am particularly proud of this semester is my tracing pages analysis I wrote based on Stitches and Fun House, comparing the two comic’s ability to use images to depict the rhetorical situation. While writing this analysis, I thought about what is the audience is looking to gain from reading my work. “While Stitches shows David’s view and thoughts while growing up in his childhood, in Fun House Alison is looking back on and reflecting on how her father’s actions impacted hers and held her back from expressing her true self.” (Renee 2). When stating this, I wanted the reader to understand how the different but similar aspects of both comics allowed the authors to project their overall purpose. I included this in my analysis by thinking in what ways can I convey this clearly to my audience and what important details contribute to their understanding of the analysis. This allowed me to get out my overall message in my writing. I was also able to think of the formality of my analysis so that I was making sure it is a non-fiction piece, informing my audience of my discovery’s.
When participating in other classes or rhetorical situations, I am able to look deeper into what I am being taught and how all these lesson are to convey the purpose of the class. An example of this is when taking my first year seminar this past semester, I was required to visit the Carlos Museum on campus (Emory University) to observe and write my findings in the museum. I have never been a huge fan of art exhibitions or museum so I was not too excited. In class we had did a Sunday sketch assignment in which we took items from our bag and go into detail as to why we constantly carried around
I normally wouldn’t think what I carried in my bag would have a bigger meaning to it but this assignment allowed me to go into the deeper meaning of what these items really meant to me and how they represented me as a person. After remembering my findings in class, I was able to look at the artifacts and understand the hidden meaning behind them and how they connect back to the border message that is being conveyed. One specific display of art that stood out to me was in the I Must Scream exhibition. While there was a lot of amazing pieces, “ The last two pictures being less colorful than the first three, to me showed the disappearance of the light/beauty in life due to humans being selfish and ruining it with things such as the internet and pollution” (Renee 2). The exhibitions main message was to convey the affects of humans on other humans/society due to ego and other factors. I then wrote an essay about my findings that left me wondering how have I been left in the dark previously that lead me to see art as worthless. The way the artist was able to add the smallest details in to allow me to analyze them and connect back to their overall theme was fascinating to me. I now realize that people attend these places and find joy in them because they look deeply into what details the creator was trying to get them to gather and come up with what the theme might be. In the future I will be able to understand the value of art and even attend new exhibitions that artist use to express themselves and ideas. This course has opened my eyes to the secret life of comics indeed, exposing me to another side of the reader-writer relationship to truly allow the reader to capture the writers vision/ hidden agenda. This inspires my future work by allowing me to become more literate in my writing and produce stronger, detail-oriented pieces.