October 15, 2012

Symbols in language

Throughout the past couple of weeks, we have been going into detail about the use of metaphors and symbols in language to create meaning. I found McCloud's "Vocabulary of Comics" to be eye-opening in the sense that comics and images in combination with words have an impact on how people perceive a message. I never thought of how the generalization of images shaped how people conceptualized ideas. I would agree that I do identify more with a plain image without much definition because of what it symbolizes in the actions portrayed in the comic more than a defined character. As in any other story, there is reader identification with certain characters, however, I do think that the character has their own identity when their character is more defined. When the character is more general, it appeals to a general audience.

I think Arab in America played this out rather well, because we had a character, Toufic, who was drawn specifically like the author, who was Arab. The characatures of the stereotypical arab where there were less definition on personal features and more definition on stereotypical features showed a generalization. The way the characters and situations were drawn had a generalization to them to appeal to certain groups of people, whereas they had some other not-so specific generalizations with other peoples' faces. I thought that the mixture of the two showed what was supposed to be significant, and illustrated the reality that El Rassi faced along with the exaggerated emotions through stereotypes as an Arab in America.

I have never been a huge fan of comics, but knowing the purpose of the illustrated image with the language creates a very defined way of storytelling that appeals to the visual perception as well as the languistic perception of reality.

1 comment:

KatieA said...

I talked about a similar concept in my blog post too. I talked about how the details given in the drawing of Toufic effected how the reader identified with him. I like the point that you brought up though. I didn't get as far in my analysis as diving into the rest of the novel and comparing why some characters, like Toufic, are drawn in such detail why others, like the exaggerated stereotypes, are drawn to be more general. I think some characters were drawn in such detail because they were concretely representing someone. For example, any of the drawings of George W Bush (page 68 specifically) needed to explicitly look like his so that the image was a clear representation of the words that were being said involving him. In the same fashion, some were drawn with less detail because the character it was representing is a less concrete one. Like the images of the stereotypical Arab on page 39. This rendered of the Arab is done with significantly less detail as many of the other characters therefore making it more identifiable to some people and almost less realistic.

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