Thursday, December 20, 2012

Critical Paper Assignment

In class on Thursday, I handed out the Critical Paper options for our Graphic Novels course.  Remember to do ONE of the three options (not all three!) and follow the basic instructions/prompt carefully.  There's a lot of wiggle room, of course, but make sure you're following the basic assignment and be sure to use at least 2 graphic novels and 2 secondary sources.  We'll discuss finding sources in class tomorrow (Friday).

Click on the link below for the assignment:


Having read at least six graphic novels (including your extra one, that is), you are now well-equipped to tackle the following paper, which asks you to take an argumentative stance on one of the following issues.  Choose ONE of the following as a basis for your final researched paper…

Option#1: Neither graphic novels nor comics are a particularly suitable name for this diverse and unique art form.  Each one has connotations that are juvenile, lurid, or simplistic.  Coin a new term for this art form that you feel adequately describes its characteristics and defend it using examples from at least two graphic novels.  Explain how the novels can be read and seen as ‘X’ rather than as ‘comics,’ ‘graphic novels,’ or ‘funny books.’  In addition, if you read and enjoy manga (Japanese comics), you might consider the limitations of that word, which most Americans don’t understand and/or find meaningless. 

Option #2: Literacy rates are falling in public schools as students seem more and more resistant to reading.  Many teachers and scholars believe that graphic novels are an ideal way to reach students, as even the least prepared reader can ‘read’ comics and become engaged in the text.  Why else might comics/graphic novels become an important component of the curriculum in its own right?  Use at least two graphic novels to support your argument, and show how they function as accessible yet complex works of art.  Also consider how you might use them in the classroom: what would they help you teach, and what would you want students to see and understand about your particular texts? 

Option #3: What do you think distinguishes a ‘graphic novel’ from a ‘comic book’?  While some might say length, many graphic novels (such as Batman: Year One, Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns) once started out as comic books or newspaper installments and only later became novels.  What unique qualities made them suitable to be called novels—or should we even distinguish between the two terms?  Use at least two graphic novels to explain how they tell stories in a unique way which demands its own genre or category.  You might also consider whether any comic book (or comic strip) could become a ‘graphic novel.’  What is the essential ingredient(s) that makes comic book frames into novels?   

  • Use at least 2 graphic novels, one from class and one outside work (preferably your 6th graphic novel for the Blog Assignment)
  • Use at least 2 outside sources: these can be websites, journal articles, books, interviews, etc.  These should either help support your argument or offer ideas to argue against or somehow incorporate into your discussion.
  • Be sure to quote passages (words and illustrations) from your novels as support.  Don’t merely summarize what happens in the books: show us what happens and how the books tell their story.  The more you summarize, the less persuasive your argument. 
  • Final paper due via e-mail by Friday, January 4th by 5pm.  Late papers may not be accepted (depending on how late!). 

1 comment:

  1. Page 258, the last frame takes place in the present time. The Spiegelmans are in the car when they encounter a black hitchhiker and Vladek has a fit because Art stop to pick him up. The one thing he did not learn from his experiencces in WWII was racial tolerence. It is hard to fathom how a person can be treated so brutally because of who they are and still treat others as a stereotype and be prejudice against them because of who they are.