Bayou and the fey

After reading some of the first readers posts, and remembering what was discussed in class, I found myself agreeing with what Daynee Rosales was talking about with Bayou being almost like Pan’s Labyrinth meets Nat Turner.  Both of the stories of Bayou and Pan’s Labyrinth deal with themes of racism, and how the perspective of the main character radically changes as she enters a world of a decidedly fey nature.  After it opens up with a lynching, where Nat Turner ended with one, Lee dives into the pond and reemerges in a world straight out of a dark fairytale.  In this world of talking animals, bizarre magic and a skewed view of history where the line between illusion and reality starts to blur.  There’s the fact that Lee is a child, so there is a certain level of exaggeration on her part, and some of the events that happened to her could be in her head, that if you suffer enough emotional trauma, you could potentially retreat into a world that’s all in your head.  Then again, she really could have talked to a drunken, lecherous bear-priest.  You never know.

Swallow Me Whole: Echoes of Madness

When the class was talking about Swallow Me Whole and the themes of madness that are present throughout, I thought it was very interesting when we considered the grandmother’s little pill-creature as not so much a negative thing, but more like something that protected her from Ruth’s madness with the side-effects of the drugs.  The entire subject of insanity is, by its nature, very controversial and I felt that Nate Powell wanted to convey just how disturbing it can be for everybody involved.  He also wanted to show that it’s not just the elderly who can lose touch with reality; it can happen to anybody,  at any age.  With Ruth, Powell explores how someone who is insane can perceive reality and if they allow their madness the “swallow them whole”, so to speak, it can consume them utterly.  All-in-all, Swallow Me Whole was a chilling graphic novel when I first read it, and while the class discussion cleared a few things up, it still left more questions unanswered.

Maus II: Auschwitz

I noticed while reading the blog that some people were fascinated by Art’s masterful depiction of Auschwitz and the other camps.  I have to agree with Lauren on this;  seeing those images of sick and dying mice makes you wonder what kind of psychopath would do such things to human beings, and it makes you admire the people who survived against incredible odds.  Again, Art does a superb job of depicting Auschwitz, considering that he has never seen the camp, or the horrors within.  In order to have drawn the death camp so hauntingly, he must have visualized his idea of a place that was the closest to being a real-life hell on earth.  Lauren also makes a good point in that, unless you experienced the Holocaust or something similar, no one would truly be able to understand the atrocities committed in the name of racial superiority.  Everyone gets caught up with the visual representation in Maus, but the dialogue is just as important, too.  The way the accents are captured makes it so easy to hear the characters actually speaking to each other rather than just reading text on a page.