Monday, December 26, 2011

Response to Gaiman's Coraline (by Erin Black)

1.         How is the work illustrated?  Be specific: would you characterize it as sketchy, realistic, cartoony, artistic, ornate, spare, expressionistic, tight, loose, etc.?  What is the overall feel of the artwork, and what kind of tone does it create for the reader?  Do you feel it is the uniquely suited to the story being told?   
Coraline is illustrated in a more realistic cartoon style. It does look cartoon but it’s detailed. The book is very colorful so I think that makes there be more of contrast in Coraline’s world and her other mother’s world. When Coraline gets sucked into her other mother’s world the deeper she gets in, the darker and darker it gets. We even see how there’s part of her other mother’s world where there is nothing. At first Coraline thinks it’s just fog but then she realizes it’s different and finds out she’s in a part of her others mother’s world where nothing exists. The detail in this cartoon also helps show us how while the house is supposed to be the same in her other mother’s world you can see that it’s not in as good of shape. In Coraline’s other mother’s world there are cobwebs and the wall paper is starting to come off the walls.

2.         Why was this story written as a graphic novel?  What might this story lose if translated to a novel, short story, or even a film?  What elements of the story almost require the juxtaposition of words and images? In other words, what does the comic format allow us to see and experience that a traditional novel wouldn’t?  Again, be as specific as possible.
Coraline has been done in all three ways. I have only read the graphic novel. We are able to read a little of Coraline’s thoughts as we go through the book and that would be lost in a movie but other than that I feel like Coraline would probably transfer well to a movie.  In a book I feel like a lot explanation would be necessary for us to see some of the contrast between worlds and how weird the other world is. In the graphic novel we’re able to see it for ourselves without there being too much explanation. There are also a lot of conversations in this book. For me it’s easier to just see their conversations in a graphic novel then having the he said and she said there would be in a novel. 

3.          Who narrates the story?  How do they do this?  Traditionally, narration is told from either a third-person or first-person perspective; how does a graphic novel challenge this approach?  Consider how the form of comics ‘tells’ a story and allows us to see multiple points of view within a single narrative frame.
Coraline is narrated by a third party. Sometimes the narration is in its own little speech box and other times it is written in the frame. This was different from the other graphic novels we read in class. The ones we read in class were all narrated by a character in the book.  Like the other books though we are also able to read Coraline’s thoughts, read conversations and see the pictures to know other things that may be going on or see facial expressions.  One thing I thought was interesting in this book with conversations was that, in the other world, when they talk their speech bubbles have a wispy look to them. Just seeing this showed me that the people in the other world talk in a creepy, almost whisper-like tone.
4.         Describe one scene in the novel, either a single frame, or a series of frames, that you feel is particularly significant.  Why is this sequence so important?  Do you admire this passage more for its narrative (the words) or its art (the images)—or both?  Make sure we can not only see what’s going on here, but we see how it relates to the story at large.
One scene that stood out to me is a scene where Coraline goes down into the basement. In this scene Coraline is looking for her real parents. When she goes down there though all she finds is her other father. He normally looks mostly like her real father but now he’s decomposing. She discovers that her other mother put him down there because he said too much to Coraline about the other world. In this scene he tries to warn Coraline to run because the other mother wants him to hurt her. I think this scene shows us how the other mother is really in charge of this world. When she doesn’t need you anymore she throws you out and they began to decompose like maybe they are slowly disappearing. Then maybe they will slowly become the mist of the world and go back to places in her other mother’s world where nothing yet exists.

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