October 15, 2012

McCloud and el Rassi

When reading the graphic memoir, Arab in america, I struggled to personally identify with the narrator, Toufic.  I think mostly that is because of our drastically different backgrounds but also, because I visually did not see myself in him.  What I mean is that I do not personally identify with the narrator Toufic because I do not visually find similarities between us.  He is a man while I am a woman, he is Arab while I am American, he is dark skinned with dark hair while I have light skin and light hair.  In fact, there really are no physically similarities between the two of us, our eye color is even different. 

This is important because it goes back to what McCloud talks about is his comic essay.  He claims that we can't help but relate things back to image, specifically with people and trying to see ourselves in them.  This concept is two fold though,  just because I can not directly identify with Toufic, it does not mean that the details of the drawing of the character is a bad thing.  McCloud also states that the more detail that is added to a drawing, the more life-like it becomes making it more identifiable in itself.  Basically, I may not identify with Toufic personally based on his detailed description but I do identify with him on some level solely based on the fact that he is being drawn as a clear representation of human.  The added detail can take away some identification or projection of the reader as the character based on the detail but at the same time the detail helps to make the character more life-like and real.

1 comment:

Adam Schwartz said...

I think you might be going about the viewing yourself in the image the wrong way. When McCloud says that we view ourselves in simplistic imagery, he is not just saying that from a physical stand point. I feel he is saying that as a general standpoint. I know you are not Arab, dark haired, dark eye colored, or male and I don't think he sees every reader to have those characteristics. The reason he made the main character so simplistic is for any facet of the character to be similar to the reader, whether it being his personality, how he reacted to a certain situation or or just some of the thoughts he came up with. I am a male, dark haired who is white and has dark colored eyes, but I'm not Arab and I found ways that I related to this character. For example, I remember as child wanting to be Batman after watching a movie just like he wanted to be Rambo, I remember dressing like people at my school to fit in and it not working out like he did. See its not just the physical aspects that cause the reader to relate to cartoon characters, its the little things that draw us to them.

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