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Parents and Dysfunction Reflection

For an assignment which, to me, was by far the most challenging and difficult, I chose to focus on what made sense to me the most from what we’ve learned and the pages that have had an effect on me. My thesis was that while Stitches was better in its choice of image, they were similar when it comes to their choice of moment and the flawlessness seen in the two pages. The similarity also lies in their upbringing. Therefore, comics was the solution for them to present their story the best way possible.

Annotating helped in making me think more about comics generally and the two pages more specifically. It made me think more critically about things that I would have just spent a second on otherwise. When it comes to the format, my English from the first place is not my strongest suit, so writing in the new format made it extremely more difficult. It changed primarily in making me revise the essay more and more. The assignment led me to shed light on topics that I would not think about. The single biggest thing I would say is how emotions/feelings could be displayed in a way much, much more effective than an actual movie.

Parents and Dysfunction

Stitches (by David Small) and Fun Home (by Alison Bechdel) are two graphic novels memoirs that describe the authors’ relations with their unusual families. I chose page 219 of Stitches and page 255 of Fun Home to find the similarities, differences, or observations that I found comparing the two. In their comics, both David Smalls and Alison Bechdel describe their upbringing and growing up with a dysfunctional family. I chose the two pages since they do an excellent job of explaining the more significant themes in both comics. The two selected pages differ in how emotions and, relating to McCloud’s framework, choice of image are displayed, with Stitches being more detailed. On page 219 of Stitches, the therapist and Small’s eyes clearly show the devastation David felt, combined with the therapist’s hesitance preparing to share how Small’s mother hates him. While reading Stitches, this was the only page (apart from David complaining to his mother about his grandmother) where I felt the emotions in a way comparable to watching a sorrowful scene of a movie. However, on page 255 of Fun Home, the feelings are more described than drawn, particularly when Bechdel notices the fear in her father’s eyes. Bechdel chose to write this as a text instead of a more detailed image showing her father’s emotions. While this might be subjective, I felt more emotions in Small’s choice of image.

   In addition, as Hillary Chute notes, “Comics is not an illustrative form, in which the words and images match, but rather one … in which the words and the images each move the narrative forward in different ways the reader creates out of the relationship between the two.” [1] In the two chosen pages, the choice of moment was reasonably similar. Both Small and Bechdel connected the dots flawlessly, making it easy for us as readers to create relationships between the words and the drawings. On page 255 of Fun Home, the three panels’ similarity from one scene to another, showing Bechdel and her father (while reading, talking, and in the car), convey the unnoticed connection between them. Noticing the fear in her father’s eyes, reading, and going to the movie made me connect what was not shown much earlier—the unexpected similarity between the two. Similarly, on page 219 of Stitches, moving to Small’s reaction and back to the therapist made me feel the tension Small felt. A strain that struck me not by looking at Small’s eyes but also at his therapist’s. While the scenes are different in terms of the way in which the message is portrayed, both share the flawlessness in moving from one panel to the other.

 When it comes to the choice of image, Stitches, compared to Fun Home, was able to deliver a more emotional effect that was exceptionally well done, especially on page 219. The choice of moment, in addition, was well-made on the two chosen pages and generally throughout the two comic books, simplifying it for the reader to understand the general theme in both. The two writers, David Small and Alison Bechdel, shared a similar upbringing: dysfunctional, immensely mysterious families. From Small not knowing about his mother’s sexuality, Bechdel not knowing about her father’s (and exploring and realizing hers, eventually), to Small realizing how his mother hates him, and Bechdel discovering her father’s unique story, a story somewhat relatable to her. Therefore, it is essential to acknowledge the extraordinary way both writers expressed their past and narratives. Comics, surprisingly, was their method of describing something that might not be describable otherwise.

  [1] Chute, Hillary. Comics for Grown-ups? from Why Comics?: From Underground to Everywhere. HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 2017.

Home Sweet Home

It took me way longer than I expected to have an idea of what to draw, so I decided to make it simple. Given that I know my inability to draw something meaningful, apart from the typical house, human, and the usual painting, I decided to challenge myself and draw an airplane. The outcome was not as good as I anticipated, but I am happy with the improvement regardless.

I struggle a lot when it comes to having a story to tell. The challenging mainly lies in creating a story. The additional layer in my opinion made it easier for me to create two pictures and their opposites. I chose this story because it relates to me more than others.


My backpack contains: file folder, iPad, masks, and my passport

As someone who tends to forget everything, I always have and hold the same things with me. Apart from my wallet, earphones, and keys on my two pockets, my bag has everything I need to take with me, whenever needed.

The file folder, as weird as it looks, has papers from last year, essential documents, and a wide range of sheets that I have no idea why I’m keeping them, though necessary regardless. The iPad is also essential since I use it for pretty much everything, except for long essays, which neither the folio keyboard nor the magic keyboard can do it. As much as I hate them, masks are required everywhere at Emory, which forces me to have additional masks with me in case I need one or others wanted one (since I have been in the same boat multiple times, where I either forget to bring a mask or lose it). Lastly, my passport has been in my backpack for over two years now. Even though, in several instances, this passport made me have to wait longer at airports (I wonder why?), I keep it with me at all times. It reminds me of home, traveling, and vacationing in the places I love.

A Bad Apple

After spending about two hours brainstorming ideas, I decided to just let go and start drawing whatever comes to mind. I drew a cage in which a prisoner is being held. Since the execution was horrible even though I spent much time on it, I stopped for a while to brainstorm ideas again. Suddenly, proverbs started to pop in my head. First, I tried to draw something that explains ”the grass is always greener on the other side.” Knowing that this might be difficult, and after an additional hour trying to get the drawing done, I decided to think about other proverbs.

“One bad apple spoils the bushel,” a proverb I have been hearing from my teachers since elementary school quickly came to mind. This assignment, although took more time to finish, was to me unique in how it led me to draw and think about things which I have not thought about before.

A Real—or not—Drawing

Given the unfavorable outcome of the assignment on which a controller resembled a head, I tried in this assignment to do a better job in combining photos, though apparently still not as favorable as I wanted it to be.

On one side, I chose a drawing back from high school in which a group of friends is hanging out somewhere in the desert, using the tree to cover them from the sun’s heat . On the other, I chose a photo of a lake just outside of the urban side of Riyadh. Combining them made sense to me since the lake added to the narrative of the drawing, in fact, it changed my own interpretation.

A Family in the 18th Century

I believe drawing the notes I have written about the material covered in the class helped significantly in making memorizing it an easier process. Although I am still behind in terms of my drawing skills, it was definitely an enjoyable and fascinating experience to draw about what what was covered in the class.

Throughout the drawing process, I have learned that the more I draw the better and faster I am in making my next drawing a less difficult experience. Hopefully it gets better as time goes on.

Blog Post Assignment

The Upringing of a Learner’s Reflection

Having been raised in a society that is often misunderstood, misrepresented, and distorted, I tried to portray my story differently with details that I thought would add to the narrative. The freewriting helped significantly since it already provided a pathway for me to write the literacy narrative. Although I already know the details of my upbringing, writing this made me realize the things I tend to forget about my life as a child. Lastly, I do not think I have a particular sentence to quote, but realizing the importance of liking what I do (in this case reading/writing) should always come to mind.

Yousef’s Literacy Narrative