Don’t forget you have 2 postings due for this week.
1.) A short, approximately 100 word posting on a possible final research project for the course. Remember to think about starting with a “traingulation” a critical theory or term from the readings applied to 2 different performances. That will give you a good base of keywords from which to conduct your research.
2.) An overall response to the Mental Illness Unit readings (Marbles, American Splendor, and perhaps Warm Bodies if you want to explore it metaphorically. This Unit reflection should be a bit longer than a routine weekly posting–around 1000 words. Here are some ideas to consider for your response.
– Why might graphic novels in particular be helpful for exploring issues of mental illness? For example, are there specific moments in Marbles and American Splendor that work better narratively specifically because they can illustrate multiple images, or words next to images?
– El Refaie extensively discusses the power of graphic novel to speak autobiographically. Taking some of her key terms, discuss where you see her concepts at work in Marbles, even though she doesn’t specifically address this graphic novel.
-In Amy Gall’s review of Forney’s work, she says Forney poses the question of whether bipolar diagnosis is a gift or a curse. Can you apply this question to American Splendor as well, and analyze specific scenes in which mental illness could be seen as a gift? What problems do you see this provoking in terms of the metaphors of illness we’ve discussed relative to cancer, Ebola, and AIDS? Discuss specific frames or scenes where the curse/gift dichotomy is explored in these texts.
Read any of the 3 articles posted on Blackboard and use them to post on one of the following topics after watching the film American Splendor (this film is on Amazon instant video and on reserve at the library as well).
1.) How do graphic novels represent first-person experience vividly, and why do you think artists like Forney and Pekar are drawn to this medium to tell their stories of illness in particular? El Rafaie’s article should be particularly helpful for this approach.
2.) How do images of depression in Pekar’s life differ from those in Forney’s life? Do you consider this a representation of depression on film, although Pekar never fully claims this status? (Fulford’s article might help here).
3.) How does the medium of film integrate graphic images into its narrative differently than a “straight” graphic novel like Forney’s? How do the moments of graphic novelization affect the overall telling of Pekar’s story in this film? (Meyer’s article might help with this)
Use these ideas, or choose another approach, for this week’s posting on Ellen Forney’s “Marbles.”
1.) Forney talks a fair amount in her interview with Lambda Literary about why she chose the graphic novel and memoir forms to tell her story. Choose a quote from her interview, and apply it to a specific set of frames from the book to explain why you find the graphic novel and memoir formats to combine well (or poorly) to tell her story.
2.) We’ve talked a fair amount about literary realism and how an author might distort medical reality in order to tell a story well. Forney goes to great lengths to make her story medically informative as well as personally expressive. Find a set of frames where Forney is either very true to medical realities without losing a sense of personal reality (you might compare her version of instability with that of Harper in Angels, for example).
3.) To what extent does Forney position mental illness as not entirely an illness? That is to say, what frames show her doing things better due to her “disability,” and when/how does she balance her desire to conform to societal norms with her own desire for expressive individuality? Choose a set of frames that show her struggling with this issue and explain how they impact you as a reader.