October 15, 2012

Arab in America and McCloud

I had no idea what I was in for when I started reading Arab in America. I went into it with low standards and thought it was going to be extremely boring to read, but once I opened it I could not stop reading it. I thought I was just going to read 20 or 30 pages before class and finish the rest before Friday's lecture but I had to see what was going to happen to Toufic and the different scenarios that he was going to go through.

I have to say that I read this before I read Scott McCloud's Vocabulary of Comics, and I am glad I did because when I first read the graphic novel I was actually doing things that McCloud mentioned would happen when one reads a comic, without knowing. I saw myself in many scenes throughout the novel. I am not an Arab American, but I am Jewish and I sort of went through the hazing that one goes through during middle school and elementary school. I was one of the only Jewish kids in my class and I would get asked and told odd things that I never heard of before. I felt like Toufic did when those kids in his neighborhood were calling him racial slurs that he didn't even know existed. I also noticed after reading both McCloud and El Rassi's work that El Rassi uses the Japanese style of imagery.

He uses simplified images for himself and certain characters to allow the reader to relate themselves to them and photo realism for politicians and certain characters that he clearly wanted to not be related to,even though they probably were, since images create different ideas for different people. I think that if I read this graphic novel after reading McCloud's Vocabulary of Comics I would have seen the graphic novel in a different way and would have forcefully implemented his ideas about comics as I read it.

1 comment:

Karlyn Mckell said...

I agree that it was very easy to put myself in Toufics shoes. I have never before experienced racism or discrimination. I am also a white girl. But interestingly, the person I identified most with in the comic was Toufic. I found this very interesting because many people in my class said it was hard for them to see themselves as him because of his beard and Arabic features. With the overwhelming voice in this novel, I found it impossible to see myself as anything but. I thought Toufic had an awesome portrayal of heteroglossia in the graphic novel. Political figures were portrayed as both themselves, but also as racial slurers. Touric really showed us the two dimensions of each character, or the two faces.

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