After our discussion in class, I found it a little easier to read Jimmy Corrigan. There were still many parts of the book that I did not understand. I think that there are many different images to choose from to analyze. In fact, you have to analyze the pictures to get the full story from the book.
The image I decided to analyze appears a little past the middle of the book. It is right after Jimmy and his red-headed friend decide to sneak to the top of the new building. Right after she decides to beat him up. After we see a few images of Jimmy lying in his bed wondering why the girl was so mean to him we see a larger images of Jimmy that takes up about half of the page. Jimmy is depicted as a giant, towering over the town. He has picked up the girls house and plucked her from it. He continues on to eat her as she begs for his mercy.
This seems like just another one of Jimmy’s daydreams, but I think it has some meaning behind it. This may sound a little crazy, but I believe that this image depicts Jimmy’s struggle throughout his whole life with women. If we decide to take this meaning out of the picture it can explain why Jimmy is pictured eating, essentially killing, this girl that hurt him.
Many of Jimmy’s struggles with women are written into the story. His problems start in his childhood with his redhead friend. One minute she is nice to him and wants to be best friends, the next minute she is beating the crap out of him. She toys with his emotions so much that he finally cracks and hits her back. Another problem he has is with Peggy from work. She is never very nice to him, but he still seems to like her. He can never figure out a way to ask her out because he knows he will get shut down. He even has troubles about women with parents. His mother is the only real woman he can think about in his life that would not be mean to him, but still never wants to talk to her because he nags him constantly. Also, his father is always asking about his girlfriends. He has to lie about having one so that he is not embarrassed in front of his newly met father. He always finds himself being put down by these women. Maybe this is why he is always having sexual fantasies; because they don’t come to him in real life.
In the image, Jimmy imagines himself as being a giant, a dominant force. Jimmy has been walked on by women his whole life. Now, in his mind, he finally gets the chance to do the same to them. Maybe this is the solution to his problem with women. He just gets so frustrated that he eats/kills them. Of course, he would not be able to do this in real life. Death and murder seems to be a reoccurring theme in this book, so that is the way I took it. When Jimmy is faced with a problem, he pictures himself as a superhero, or a giant, or whatever else he can think of to come up with solutions (which are never things he would get away with in real life).
We also learn later in the book that Jimmy’s mother died while giving birth to him. The whole fight with the girl escalates because she called Jimmy a bastard. He says he is not and the girl replies with, “Yes you are! If you don’t know who your mother is, then you’re a bastard!”(Ware). I believe that this picture could also be a way that Jimmy is saying that he has had enough. Trying to fight the girl did not work so he needs a new way to avenge himself and his dead mother. I guess eating her was the next best thing.
Overall, I enjoyed the book even though I am still confused about the sequence of events and why the author jumps around throughout Jimmy’s life.
Ware, Chris. Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth. New York: Pantheon, 2003.