Sunday, March 22, 2009

Poor Jimmy

There is a series of images depicted shortly after the initial childhood images that begin the novel. The series shows a grown Jimmy Corrigan enjoying a quiet, solitaire breakfast in his home prior to his day at work.

The significance of these scenes and more specifically a image of jimmy pouring his milk onto his Cap’n Crunch cereal is the parallels that can be drawn between Jimmy’s adult life and that of his childhood. Assuming the author is attempting to show us that Jimmy, a now middle aged man, is still continuing a routine that has been the same ever since his childhood is rather disturbing. This is disturbing to me mainly because it shows a lack of maturity through out the many years that are missing between the initial young Jimmy and the modern “now” Jimmy. In fact the scene is nearly identical bar the appearance of Superman the morning after sleeping with Jimmy’s mother, and Jimmy’s mother entering the room. Though it should be noted that Jimmy’s mother does call him at the end of the series of frames and is also significant because it shows the lack of development caused by the overprotection of his mother.

After the series of frames ends Jimmy is seen walking to work and picking up an answering machine symbolizing his passive, yet effective attempt to cut the constant communication between him and his mother. Conveniently following those set of images there is a series of two frames depicting Peggy, Jimmy’s then crush petting his head and sitting above him. Signifying Jimmy’s ideal woman is a woman that is a mother figure to him. This infatuation with his mother is quite disturbing and a continuing theme within the book, striking me as an Oedipus complex.

Finally Jimmy is seen interacting with Peggy and the harsh reality that is their relationship. Peggy is completely uninterested with Jimmy and it is visible because of her frustration with Jimmy and her overall inattention to anything Jimmy has to say.

What I believe is the takeaway message from the frame with the Cap’n Crunch is Jimmy’s lack of independence and his inability to cope with adulthood due to his mother constantly “checking up” on him and hindering his ability to grow into a man. Instead Jimmy lives in this pseudo-manhood state where he appears as an old balding man but has a laundry list of insecurities that constantly are holding him back from achieving anything of sustenance that would help build his now dwindling confidence. This definition of Jimmy really can be applied down the road and is a main theme throughout the novel. Jimmy truly is depressed and it shows. It should also be noted that the author did a fantastic job in choosing the color palette for the novel. The bland, dark colors truly show a depressing hopeless image that is Jimmy’s life. Unfortunately.


John Whitehead said...

I know i touched on a lot of different subjects in this initial draft and that could be seen as a downfall of this paper. However, I do think that the broad range of subjects covered does incorporate a large portion of Jimmy's life. Let me know what you think, and if i should cut or add more on a specific topic.

P.S. sorry it's late too. I'm sending an email to Kate to make sure she knows it's up.

K8 said...

i commented in the email doc i sent back to you...sorry it took 3 days.

Adam Johns said...

John - I was going to grade this today, but realized that you might still be intending to revise. Let me know if, and when, you plan to revise it.

Adam Johns said...

I think your analysis of the Cap'N Crunch panel and its implications is pretty good. One thing I'd add to the discussion of Captain Crunch is that he is, in a very Saturday morning sort of way, almost a superhero figure himself; for anyone of Ware's age (or mine - I'm closer to his age, I guess, than I am to yours) Captain Crunch and superman would go pretty naturally together. This point would add considerably to everything you're saying - which is a good thing.

I do think that your analysis of the oedipal complex here, while basically being correct, is underdeveloped - you aren't really explaining your reasoning in detail, nor are you developing its implications as much as you could. Just on the basis of your analysis of the visual language, this is a good entry; following the implications of your analysis a little more would have made it outstanding.