Tracing Pages Reflection

A preview of my essay’s argument:

“Comics allow an author to control the visual information drawn by the cartoonist to better convey characters’ motivations and focus, while panel layout and framing captures characters’ strained and startled feelings. By formulating their memoirs as a graphic novel, rather than an alphabetic text, Small and Walden successfully immerse the reader in the emotions and experiences of the protagonists, granting her a more authentic experience of the trauma in the narrative.”

The process of tracing a page from each of the books was a unique experience that allowed me to meditate on the visual techniques employed by the cartoonists before delving into annotating and analyzing the pages. During the annotation step, I found that rather than trying to come up with things to say, I was just writing down all the things I had noticed when I was tracing the pages. Thus the process of tracing pages helped my analysis come to me more naturally.

Since this was my first time writing an inductive essay, I struggled a lot with keeping track of the overall direction of my essay. Without an outline, I couldn’t tell when I was straying too far from my argument, which led to much more time spent editing later on in the writing process. The hardest step for me was combining my two topic sentences into a thesis, since in a typical essay I’ve written I begin with a general thesis and merely have to tweak it after solidifying my topic sentences.

This assignment gave me greater insight into the “secret language of comics” because it granted me the opportunity to conduct in depth analysis of the visual techniques and patterns cartoonists use to tell their narratives. Moreover, I got to consider the unique properties of comics that allow authors to most effectively capture their experience with trauma. I now have a more developed idea of how I might utilize the artistic resources of comics when I produce my own comic from my literacy narrative. An specific insight I gained into Stitches was that while I had previously known there were images in the background from another part of the story, I had no idea it was an entire trace of another page.

Click here to see my essay

Click here to see the assignment prompt

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