Thursday, March 19, 2009

Red is the color for alarm...and epiphanies

Jimmy Corrigan in its entirety proved to be an "issues" laden storyline. The multiple were confusing at first but as I got nearer to the end of the book, I knew that theJimmy/James stories were leading up to something. As James' story progressed, a young boy is in a typical stage where he starts to get thrust towards adulthood quicker than he should.His own awareness of the world around him made him much more insightful than his childlikeadult counterpart Jimmy. I wasn't quite sure where these parallel stories were headed until the family connections started to make sense.

Near the end of the book after Jimmy has met Amy, they left the hospital and went to theirgrandfather's house it happened. Jimmy looks down at a picture of his grandfather holdinghis father as a child in his arms. He looks up to his aging grandfather then Jimmy's backgroundgoes red. This sudden color change signifies some type of alarm in Jimmy. There is a closerview of his grandfather. Then another headshot of Jimmy. Then another of his grandfather. So far Jimmy's expression matches his grandfather's but in the next frame he uncharacteristicallysmiles, only to be met by the same unchanging frown of his grandfather. Then the grandfather speaks,he asks Jimmy if he's going to sleep, Jimmy takes it as a command, upon rising from his chair,his grandfather's voice stops him again with another question, this one having greater meaning thanthe previous. Jimmy pauses as if he is physically torn between listening to the meaning behindthis next question and complying with the first. This is followed by two more pages of the grandfathertalking to a frozen Jimmy. Before Jimmy leaves his grandfather stops him and tells him he is agood kid. Then Jimmy leaves to freeze outside.

It was like two worlds colliding. Everything from the fact that the two had on the same expressionto the fact that they were both sitting, even that they were both wearing blue. The monumental meeting of Jimmy and James. I realized that in those first few frames that it was as if the two characters were facing down their polar opposite and twin in the same moment. They are oppositesbecause James is the old man who grew up without a mother and no doubt hit adulthood very early. Jimmyis the thirty-six year old man raised by his mother wihtout a father who still acts as if he is a child (evident by his breakdown he had a few pages prior). They are like twins as well. James was probably having a "blast from the past" moment staring at a younger version ofhimself,although it can only be guessed as to whether Jimmy recognized his future self in the faceof his grandfather(Amy laters points out the physical resemblance between the two). They both were raised in single parent homes, being susceptible to scarring events while growing up,inevitably messing with both of their psyches. It was the last thing Jamessaid to Jimmy that really pulled everything together. When he told Jimmy that he's a good kid, it was James recognizing that shared struggle between the two. Jimmy's inability to truly attain adulthood and James' lack of chilhood. He gives him an encouraging word that was meant as a form of support and strength for the both of them.

The remainder of the book was significant in other ways but this scene did bring closure to the parallel storylines, James' life in particular.

3 comments:

Nathaniel Bacon said...

On a side note, check your grammar first. Just copy and paste what you have into Word and you’ll be able to fix like 99% of the problems right away.

Now, the first thing I want to say is you do a good job of describing the scene we’re supposed to be looking at. I can clearly remember this with what you give. But as you’re giving a frame-by-frame account, I would try and throw in some analysis as you’re giving the account to help it flow better. You do do this right near the beginning of the second paragraph with, “He looks up to his aging grandfather then Jimmy's background goes red. This sudden color change signifies some type of alarm in Jimmy,” so I would just say try weaving some more of this analysis into your description of the scene so that it’s not so cut-and-dry.

I loved your connection between Jimmy and James. I hadn’t thought of that while reading it but I think you’re exactly right.

As for the argument itself I have two comments. First – by the end of the essay I knew fairly well what the argument was, but I definitely wasn’t able to figure it out from the introduction. I think you’re setting yourself up for saying what the argument is in the introduction, and then you stop just before you say it. So make it clear what your argument is in the first paragraph.

Second – I don’t think so much that your argument needs to be developed any further, insofar as coming up with new ideas regarding your argument is concerned. But you definitely have a lot more you can say and develop with what you already have to further solidify your argument. You can definitely spend more time on detailing the likeness and difference between Jimmy and James, like by using other scenes specifically about Jimmy and specifically about James as he was growing up. Really solidify why it is that Jimmy and James are both the same and yet very different. And near the end where you say, “Jimmy's inability to truly attain adulthood and James' lack of childhood,” – I think this is the true heart of your essay, so really state why Jimmy isn’t a man and why James wasn’t a child with some other examples from the book.

Personally, I'd re-title the essay if that's possible, it doesn't seem to really match the essay. If not, it doesn't really matter.

Basically you have already the structure you need for your final draft, now you just need to further develop/explain what you have said. It’s a really solid draft.

Krystal_H said...

Jimmy Corrigan in its entirety proved to be an "issues" laden storyline. The multiple plots were confusing at first but as I got nearer to the end of the book, I knew that the Jimmy/James stories were leading up to something. As James' story progressed, a young boy is in a typical stage where he starts to get thrust towards adulthood quicker than he should. His own awareness of the world around him made him much more insightful than his childlike adult counterpart Jimmy. I wasn't quite sure where these parallel stories were headed until the family connections started to make sense. That’s when I asked myself, why are these two characters so alike and so different at the same time?

Near the end of the book after Jimmy has met Amy, they left the hospital and went to their grandfather's house it happened. Jimmy looks down at a picture of his grandfather holding his father as a child in his arms. He looks up to his aging grandfather then Jimmy's background goes red. This sudden color change signifies some type of alarm in Jimmy. There is a closer view of his grandfather, then another headshot of Jimmy followed by another of his grandfather. So far Jimmy's expression matches his grandfather's but in the next frame he uncharacteristically smiles, only to be met by the same unchanging frown of his grandfather. Then the grandfather speaks, he asks Jimmy if he's going to sleep, Jimmy takes it as a command (some evidence of his childlike obedience), upon rising from his chair, his grandfather's voice stops him again with another question, this one having greater meaning than the previous. Jimmy pauses as if he is physically torn between listening to the meaning behind this next question and complying with the first. This is followed by two more pages of the grandfather talking to a frozen Jimmy. Before Jimmy leaves his grandfather stops him and tells him he is a good kid. Then Jimmy leaves to freeze outside.

It was like two worlds colliding. Everything from the fact that the two had on the same expression to the fact that they were both sitting, even that they were both wearing blue. It’s the monumental meeting of Jimmy and James. I realized that in those first few frames that it was as if the two characters were facing down their polar opposite and twin in the same moment. They are opposites because James is the old man who grew up without a mother and no doubt hit adulthood very early. Jimmy is the thirty-six year old man raised by his mother without a father who still acts as if he is a child (evident by his breakdown he had a few pages prior). They are like twins as well. James was probably having a "blast from the past" moment staring at a younger version of him although it can only be guessed as to whether Jimmy recognized his future self in the face of his grandfather (Amy later points out the physical resemblance between the two). They both were raised in single parent homes, being susceptible to scarring events while growing up inevitably messing with both of their psyches(i.e. Jimmy imagining killing his father near the beginning of the book and James imagining being thrown off a building by his father near the end). It was the last thing James said to Jimmy that really pulled everything together. When he told Jimmy that he's a good kid, it was James recognizing that shared struggle between the two. Jimmy's inability to truly attain adulthood and James' lack of childhood. He gives him an encouraging word that was meant as a form of support and strength for the both of them.

The remainder of the book was significant in other ways but this scene did bring closure to the parallel storylines, James' life in particular. The mere fact that the child used to represent James childhood and Jimmy’s childhood was the same child should have been a major clue from the start. Jimmy and James, grandson and grandfather, present and past, they are two halves of a “messed up” whole.

Adam Johns said...

Bacon - Great, detailed response.

Krystal - Your opening question is interesting, and your categorization of the book as "issues" based is both simple and fitting. Bacon has a point, though - no argument is immediately evident.

After having read the whole thing, I think my response is something like Bacon's was. It like the way most of this is written, and I think your understanding of the essence of the book is penetrating - the idea that the climax is actually when Jimmy and James look each other in the eye is really insightful. It was strange not to present this as an argument about the structure of the book, though, and I do think the argument wasn't as fully developed as it might have been -- for instance, I wonder how your reading of the end of the book is influenced by your understanding of this moment as the climax.

It's a good paper, but the structure is a little odd, and it doesn't seem completely finished in some way.