October 7, 2012

Words and Symbols

One of McCloud's discussion points is that whenever we see a cartoon or a figure, or many other things in life, we put ourselves in it. One of the examples he used for this was just a simple drawing of a circle with two dots and a line drawn at the bottom. What I was able to connect from his point was that not only do we unconsciously jump to conclusions with drawings, but we do the same thing with words too. I can type the word "chair", and in your mind an image pops up of an item with four legs, a cushion and a back which has the purpose of allowing people to sit in it. It's interesting how we have been trained to associate one thing to another simply by the use of symbols, pictures or words, and how we can even interweave all of them together.

McCloud states that symbols fall into one category meant to represent concepts, ideas and philosophies; pictures are images meant to resemble their subjects, icons are meant to represent a person, place, thing or idea (p. 27), and that non pictorial icons have a fixed and absolute meaning (p.28). So where do words fall in? Where is the line that separates symbols from icons? I'd like to follow up this question by bringing up the example where McCloud made the distinction in the car accident. If one person driving a car is hit by another person driving a car, the victim says, "He hit me." rather than saying, "He drove his car into my car." Is this an example of an icon being misused? A symbol? Words? How does one get differentiated from the rest if they are being misused? Are they being misused at all, or are they being used properly as symbols or icons?

Kari K

1 comment:

gabyjoe21 said...

Great point, Mccloud did a great job in depicting this point and it directly correlates with what we have discussed in the class so far. The idea the we relay things that we interact with and read with what we have already experienced in our own live has been recurrent in this unit. What make comic strips so successful is that the illustrations make it easier for readers to input themselves into the scene.

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