I think where Ware excelled, as others have mentioned, is in his art style. He chooses interesting arrangements and interesting ways of depicting ideas (especially the family trees). I do not, however, think this powerful and presumably meticulous artwork is an excuse for the shortcomings in the text. I think the book might have been better served without words, so that at least the reader could have a little opportunity to place meaning in the story of Jimmy Corrigan that was watered down by the text. I think Ware fell victim to an issue I have seen in other graphic novels- too much emphasis on words. I think some of the best parts of memoir graphic novels (especially Ghost World and Fun Home) are those with minimal/no words. Ware's artwork is compelling, and I do not appreciate that he often took away from it with an overuse/misuse of words. I admit that my exploration of the wordless graphic novel genre for my research project likely is influencing my opinion on this subject, so it would be interesting to hear others' opinions. What do you think?
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Jimmy Corrigan- a profound read?
During and after reading Jimmy Corrigan I tried to look for meaning in the text. To me, it seemed like there was no deep story line, just a recounting of uninteresting events in an ordinary man's life. I do not see what makes this book distinct in terms of provoking thought because there did not seem to be a message. What I have been taught in terms of literature analysis is that a great book touches on some fundamental aspect of human nature, and I do not believe this was present in Jimmy Corrigan. I do think there were a few significant moments in the book, but these were rare and not as developed as they could have been (i.e. the relationship between the protagonist and his father, which was conveyed well in very few representative panels). In terms of the word "protagonist", I think Ware did something interesting (but perhaps unwise) by making Jimmy a character whom with it is difficult to sympathize. Even though Jimmy is supposed to be a "real" character, it almost seems as if he has too many flaws and, arguably more importantly, no significant positive characteristics, to be considered an appropriate representation of human nature. I would like to add that I believe Jimmy Corrigan is unlike some of the other memoirs we have read, namely Ghost World. It may be difficult for us to keep this in mind given our age, but Ghost World was one of the first works to provide an authentic perspective of modern (late 20th century) teen angst. Also, this book portrayed a character that had more facets to her personality than her tough exterior in much less space (in both pictures and words) than Jimmy Corrigan, who was arguably a more simplistic character.