Jews Comix

Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comix

For your second short paper, you will be writing a brief (3-4 typed pages) comparative essay about two (and only 2!) of the following commix: Yossel: April 19, 1943, Maus, and We Are On Our Own. Below, I have listed four options for your essay; please choose one.

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Choose one visual motif: panels, color, abstraction or naturalism (how much or little something looks like it would appear in nature), symbols (like Stars of David or swastikas), the display of speech and captions, or characterization (the way a particular character is drawn). Then compare and contrast the ways in which this motif contributes to the overall aesthetic, intellectual, emotional, and thematic texture of each book?

Each of the three books arranges time differently. Please compare and contrast the way that each author depicts a time (and/or location) jump. How are these temporalities differentiated visually? And, why is the ability to move from past to present to future an important element in these historical works? How do these frontispieces contribute to the mood and meaning of the graphic novel as a whole?

Compare and contrast the graphic style of two of the graphic novels. How do the different styles contribute to the moods and meanings of the respective comics and the work as a whole? [And, if you choose Maus as one of your books here, you will need to decide whether you are going to discuss Spiegelman’s predominant drawing style or that of Prisoner on a Hell Planet. It would be too much to try and cover both.]

Maus and We Are On Our Own are both autobiographical books that reveal as much about the relationship of parent and child as they do about the war. Please identify two scenes in each book that you feel best depict these relationships.

This paper is designed to highlight your ability to look closely. No plot summary is necessary. And, you also don’t need to provide any historical background. Feel free to just jump in and get straight to your main point: a comparative study of the visual aspects.

You must include four specific examples (two from each story) in your paper. Simply noting that there is a significant time jump on page 50 is not enough. I want you to describe it thoroughly, making clear what you see and why this is so significant. Sometimes that might feel like you are stating the obvious. But by looking very closely and remembering every flourish of the pen is intentional, you are demonstrating the ways in which the visual aspect of the graphic novel informs the narrative.

Requirements:

Your 3-4-page paper must be typed (12-point Times New Roman font) and double-spaced with standard 1-inch margins.

All text must be written in your own words. Any ideas that you got from a reading, must be acknowledged with a footnote or parenthetical reference. [See below for additional information on the university’s statement on academic integrity and plagiarism]

You must include a clear title that indicates what the essay is about.

You must provide a clear thesis statement that articulates your main argument.

You must begin your essay with a one-paragraph introduction that sets up the rationale for your argument and includes your thesis statement.

You must substantiate your argument with references to specific images and quotations, all of which must be accompanied by the corresponding page number. You must have at least 4 specific examples (two in each book) in your analysis. [see my note above about close analysis]

There is no need to include a plot summary in this paper.

You do not need to include pictures in your paper. If you decide that you want to include them; please put them at the end of the paper and number them [figure 1; figure 2 and so on…]

If you cite any source other than the three graphic novels (including articles that were assigned in class), you must include a citation in the body of the paper and a correctly formatted alphabetical list of Works Cited at the end of your essay.

You must include a one-paragraph conclusion that pulls your main ideas together.

Proof-read. Edit. Spell-check. Avoid contractions. Avoid writing in the first person: “I think,” etc. Instead, use “the viewer,” “the reader,” “one,” etc. Poorly edited papers will be marked down. For more information on Jews Comix check out : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Jewish_comic_book_characters

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