Friday, March 16, 2012

20 HH #5 Monkeys and Motiffs

Gilbert Hernandez continues to broaden his story telling skills in the graphic novel Human Diastrophism.  The previous GN Heartbreak Soup contained a cyclical attribute that appeared later in his story, yet this technique is apparent immediately within the first few pages as well as taking on a new, more refined quality.  The opening title page of "Human Diastrophism" (the story the GN is named after) immediately introduces the monkey motif.  I use motif instead of symbol here due to the many varying attachments throughout the story the monkey motif is associated with.  After page 20 Gilbert delays the use of this motif again until page 28 creating a sense of delay in reoccurrence, almost tricking the reader into ignoring a vital aspect of the story itself.  The monkey motif becomes attached to multiple elements within "Human Diastrophism". 

Page 29's monkeys are seen immediately after a death has been discovered,  on page 30 they become directly involved with mischief as they steal a school book, and on page 53 they reappear amidst chaos and violence.  This monkey image creates a way to associate various themes  and a trigger for the reader that something important is happening.  Gilbert even breaks it into two images: the visual monkey as well as the 'visual sound' of Chit Chit.  Gilbert goes so far as to arch the whole story with the image on page 20 panels 1-3 being revisited towards the end of "Human Diastrophism" on  panel 5 page 113.  This constant arching and reoccurring imagery continues to strengthen Gilbert's writing style both visually and thematically.

[Pictures are not owned by the author.  Uploaded from image search.]

1 comment: