Sunday, February 26, 2012

00A #3 (short)

In Chapter Three in Concepts in Composition we are introduced to two revision approaches: internal and external(80). Donald Murray encourages the internal approach to revision. Which would you teach in your classroom? Which is taught in most composition classrooms? Are there benefits or drawbacks in emphasizing both?

In most of my experiences of school prior to college (and even in college at times) external revision is the style of revision that was predominantly taught. The downfall of teaching only this style of revision is obvious in its onesidedness; it's limited and functions only as a mechanical focus lacking completely in any sort of content adjustment. Seeing as though either taught solely as the only means of revision would not allow for a complete method of revision, a hybrid blend of the two would be a better choice for a composition course. However, the one adjustment I would make would be to focus a little bit more on the internal revision (as I believe content is more valuable then stylistic errors) which tends to be the harder of the two styles to impart on students. The benefits of having a duel approach comes down to the fact that a balanced methodology typically is, well... balanced. Students are able to learn multiple avenues of revision in which they get to focus on the portions that they find they are lacking in the most. Not all students will be poor mechanically for instance and the hybridity would allow for them to move on to other potential erroneous aspects within their drafts. The only possible issue to come from teaching both would be in that students may gravitate to the easier of the two (external) and completely disregard content revision.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

20 HH #3

Reading the first half of Gilbert Hernandez's Heartbreak Soup only portrayed a portion (obviously) of the overall function of the many short stories.  In reality the functions of the stories were interlinked in a way that was not visible on a partial scale.  It wasn't until the full graphic novel was complete did the overarching cyclical nature of Gilbert's work stand out.  Many of the stories that link are done thought shifting points of view from one character to another, wherein each character revisits a particular moment in time shared amongst themselves.   Pages 162 panel 3 and 236 panel 7  are one such example of two characters, Luba and Heraclio, who share a single event together.  Page 162 is a flash back within a flashback from Heraclio involving Luba and their 'moment' together which is again revisited from Heraclio's point of view on the later page explaining it more in-depth.  On page 226 panel 3, Vincente has a nightmare about Luba falling down a hole.  This event then actually takes place on page 244 panel 4 from the view point of Lupe.  There are localize examples of cyclical aspects even as visual elements on page 206 panel 9 with its immediate counterpart on panel 7 of the adjoining page.  Even the beginning story of Luba in which the children are introduced contains a cyclical arch.  Page 7 introducing the twins Aurora and Israel, remains ambiguously unexplained until page 268 shifting from an omniscient narrator's point of view to Israel's.     These various loops, cycles and archs all serve to strengthen the overall story.  Gilbert forces the reader to come back to certain events multiple times also creates a sense of importance within the characters and certain events that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.  Strangely enough many of these cyclic aspects remain solely within the second portion of the graphic novel.  This might be attributed to the fact that the ordering of the stories are not necessarily their original ordering though the time signatures seem to indicate a constant move from '83 onward.  Either way this technique show a strength and maturing in Gilbert's writing that was previously absent in his earlier works.

(picture taken from google search)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fun Picture to Start off the Week

A couple of version of this have been floating around lately, but I found this one to be the best (and accurate) one of the lot.  Sorry this is just a drive by post until I finish the rest of my uploads for tomorrow.  Until then, I hope everyone finds as much amusement in this as I did.

[picture taken from google search - the facebook one was too small]

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Jaime vs Gilbert 20HH #2

Of the two graphic novels,  Amor Y Cohetes was the more difficult.  It wasn't the visual components that created this aspect but more in how the story was rendered in words.  The monologues and dialogues that explain the visual aspect create a disjointed and at times incoherent process of action.  Stories like "BEM" become a hodgepodge of separate situations all breaking in on each other making it very hard to follow what exactly is happening.  Each characters section makes some sense on a localized level, but when various other story directions cut into these sections randomly, the overlying story becomes muddled.    Lenore, random people, Luba, and Mr. Radium are the various character 'sections' of the story.  Each starts off completely separated for the most part ,until they all wind together.  The problem is that in doing so, they are threaded together in an incomprehensible manner. Lenore for instance, on page 17 and 24 is shown to know information about Radium that seems almost metacognitive to the story.  This creates confusion as to whether this is a story within a story or if the Lenore characters are somehow separated from the world of Radium.  It is these constant small disconnects that make the reader pause and question the stories structure.  Unfortunately much of the questions remain unanswered and "BEM" is left loosely concluded.   'Random' is the overall feeling that I get when I read most of the stories in this graphic novel.  Very few of the stories seem to be set in our reality or close to it (which maybe another reason for the feelings of disconnection).   
            On the other hand Maggie the Mechanic, though still containing aspects not of our reality, tells a story that is more firmly rooted in structure and is easier to understand.  I thought at first that it might be that the stories in Maggie were all connected for the most part and that was why it was easier, but "BEM" and "Music for Monsters" are either longer pieces or stories that contain multiple parts.  It may be that the Maggie story does span the entire graphic novel and thus has more room to be connected but this probably isn't the case.  Maggie tells a consistent story/stories that are all connected fairly tightly.  Each interchange of character serves to either tell backstory or highlight some other relevant aspect of the overall plot.  These elements are typically either absent or are erratically shown in Amor.  Maggie's stories are told closer to a traditional novel, containing many recognizable tools and structures.  It is this lack of deviation that reduces the puzzlement and allows the reader to accept more of what is going on rather than scratch their heads wondering 'what the hell is a BEM'.  Lastly, a point of further discussion might be on how Maggie's character is depicted in the first thirty pages and how this begins to slowly transfer or change in the later portions of the beginning chapters (page 50).  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Double Awareness 00A #2

In Ch. 2 of Reading Rhetorically, Bean discusses the concept of “double awareness” in which we are trained “to analyze not just what texts say, but how they say it” (18). What techniques have you been taught to develop your “double awareness”?

"Double Awareness" wasn't a concept that I was ever formally taught until late in my undergraduate career. There may have been some form of this taught to me in high school but being that it's been more than 15 years since then I don't remember if any teacher specifically taught this concept. Oddly enough the first time I came in contact with this in any form as an active component was in a creative writing course. It was a workshop based structure and the professor made it clear that in our formal analysis and subsequent presentation of another students writing, we had to go beyond what was written and into the 'how'. For this purpose, we used a narantological style of expression to do this but the method is still the same (or close to the same) in a standard composition or literature class. The specifics might change, but each class requires a 'how'. However, it wasn't until I took graduate level rhetoric courses that the explicit "How are they saying it" was discussed in depth. Various techniques were looked at as well as definition of what this means: ancient, new rhetoric, modern styles were all unpackaged. I feel that, even though it wasn't until late in my academic career that the "double awareness" was ever mentioned in depth, it is still a component that is inherent in much of what is taught in the English department. It is an understood component that is formed from bits an pieces of how we are taught over the years in the various classes so that when it was finally verbalized, the moment wasn't more of a 'oh so that's the terminology behind it' moment and not a earth shattering discovery of immense proportions. An interesting point I find, looking back, that the first actual use of this technique came not from a literature course but from a creative writing class. This breaks the typical mold of what is seen a stypically taught in the various genres within the English department.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

20HH Class Post

1st Post from my other class. [I went back and removed names ;p]

A problem that is echoed in both of Professor H--s pieces is the way in which comics are seen, both within the context of the university as well as the 'common' view.  The external problem is one that has been around since almost the conception of comics and although much forward progression has been made over the years, most likely will still be an issue for sometime: that of comics being recognized as an academically valid genre (both within and from a layman's view point).  One thing struck me and that was the claim that "comic art is a form of writing" (Alt Comics 33).  Writing has been changed to italics because it would seem that here if the word 'Text' were to be exchanged would form a claim that might be more globally accepting (the later use of text in the subsequent paragraph is used as a secondary form of reference).  This statement is not used to criticize Professor Hatfield but to highlight the possible idea that writing typically denotes a strict sense of words exclusively (to most) while 'Text' takes on an aspect more ambiguous and more open to interpretation, while still maintaining the air of academic weight (or at the least containing the same 'worth').   This by no means invalidates or contradicts any of the further arguments in either piece.  In fact it would highlight the capacity of comics to transcend many stereotypically wrong perspectives.  It is multi-disciplinary; it is multi faceted in that it is both visual and written.  Seeing it then as a Text elevates the comic into the many angled artifact that it truly is.  The Richard McGuire piece "Here" is a complex work comprised of multiple frames and nonlinear usage of time.  As the pages progress, the use of panels within panels and varying time markers intertwine a dizzying weave of visual mechanics as well as precise use of word indicators.  Yet when compared to the heavy dialogue centered and linear style (both in panels and time usage) of "A Duck's-Eye View of Europe" by Carle Barks, it's easy to see how comics are a style of writing but it's a text that performs on so many different levels that 'writing' seems to almost limit what these masterpieces are doing.  Maybe stating that "comic art is a form of writing" is as correct as stating "comic art is a form of Text" are the same.  It could be that there needs to be new ways of being able to address the complexity of this genre that would correct any limiting aspects of our discourse on the subject.  Either way comics need to be seen as an academically viable form of art, one in which is begging to break away from the many assumption that have damagingly surrounded this genre for far too long.