Saturday, October 26, 2013

Comments & Questions on Jimmy Corrigan and Marcuse, Week 2

Post your questions/thoughts as comments to this post.  Again:  a paragraph is fine, or a couple if you feel so moved.  You are posting on a question, problem or topic of your choice.  Citing a particular passage is recommended but not required.

12 comments:

Adam Lewis said...

I found the second half of Jimmy Corrigan to be a bit abrupt but not all together unsatisfying. The flashbacks now make a lot more sense since they don't actually go any further than the grandfather in the novel.

I can honestly say that I did not find it unbelievable that the great-grandfather would leave his kid on the top of a building at the World Fair, but that didn't stop it from being a bit unexpected and jarring. I couldn't help but think, however, that it was probably the best thing that could have happened to the poor kid.

I was also a bit surprised by the death of Jimmy's father before I thought about it more. There was no way this book was going to have even a remotely happy ending, not after the way Ware set us up with the instructions etc. In retrospect, it only seems fitting to the novel that his father come around, so to speak, and reach out to Jimmy only to have him die in short order. It was also fitting that Jimmy tried, in his mind, to push away from his sister and father before they learned he had passed away.

Jason Wald said...

Just a small detail I want to focus on here: the fact that about halfway through the past-generation story, the cursive writing changes from third person to first person. Originally it starts with ‘the boy’ etc. while by the end of that section, it is James narrating his own life. It is almost as though he has become old enough in those later passages to be self-aware. He is able to communicate his own feelings to us and not have to rely on the narrator (whoever that may be) to give himself feelings or actions.

Sarah Ayre said...

Jared, i think you're post might be clarified a few pages later. The switch from third person to first person tense appears to be because the narrator is suddenly telling the story of his life to Amy, which is how the two stories-past and present-connect. I thought this was an interesting way of tying the story up together. That being said, I felt that the connections in the book were still pretty loose, not underdeveloped per say, but just that none of the characters really seemed to have any close relationship with each other. That disappointed me, mostly because i don't like to read/watch super sad books/movies, and that's a lot of what this graphic novel was.

To take a different approach, and to link Jimmy Corrigan to Marcuse's One Dimensional Man, I think that while Marcuse might not approve directly of the story told, because it doesn't envision a better future, I think the story of Jimmy's life relates to exactly what Marcuse describes when he talks about living and unfree and untrue life. Jimmy is unable to achieve his full potential based on the society he lives in and the class he is in, and he lacks major relationships: he cannot even communicate with other people. This isolation represents the type of society that Marcuse sees our society becoming, and something he desperately wants to stop. This could be a stretch, and i was wondering, does anyone else have any ideas on how Marcuse would read Jimmy Corrigan?

Abby Peters said...

I noticed a real change from the first half of the book to the second half. Mainly that we begin to see our main characters start to take part in the story. I thought that Jimmy talked much more after the introduction of his sister. Granted he is still quiet but not as painfully so. Also, as others have said Jimmy’s grandfather begins to narrate his own story. I think that while it may not be a happy ending. It does offer the reader a bit of hope for the future because Jimmy begins to become an active character in his own life. The introduction of Tammy at the very end also provides the reader some hope. I thought it was interesting that the first part of Tammy that we see is her face and her eyes rather than her breasts which is how we meet most of the other women in the novel.

Ronald Rollins said...

What stuck most with me is how Jimmy Corrigan shows that people are doomed to repeat the mistakes of their ancestors somehow, no matter how much they resist. Jimmy's grandfather was abandoned and history repeated itself with Jimmy being abandoned by his father. The social anxiety seemed to be passed down the line as well, and the ending seems to imply that Jimmy may one day (slightly) overcome it just like his ancestors did.

Jared DiSanti said...

Jimmy Corrigan is truly a fascinating book. Ware's choice to write in a comic book form really gives him a lot of freedom to add many different symbols and motif's that he wouldn't have been able to if he didn't. He splashes in references to the evolution of technology and electricity and commercialism that are in no way explicitly stated in the book. He also can illustrate points clearer by using this format like the way women's faces are not shown until very late in the novel. As we partly discussed in class, I think Ware uses simplistic drawings on purpose so these details can stand out more. The amount of work and copious detail put in to this work are unbelievable and I was really surprised how much merit this work had after finishing it.

Tolu Dayo said...

I think the second half of the book clarified a lot of things for me, especially the background of the father son relationships in the family. I also think that it also got a little easier to read and understand Jimmy Corrigan after the first half. I found that Ware's style is something that you get used to or learn to understand as you progress through the book.

Nicholas Flynn said...

For a book with so many flashback and dream sequences, I probably shouldn't be hung up on some small detail of the plot. However, I can't help but wonder who wrote that note to Jimmy in the first half of the novel - the one he received right before watching the faux-Superman leap to his death - did the note even exist at all? A similar sequence is brought up in the epilogue, when Jimmy goes into work on Thanksgiving holiday and finds a co-worker at the desk across from him. She seems to bring Jimmy back from the edge of self-pity and suicidal thoughts. Are these two connected, this woman who Jimmy meets at the end and the note in the beginning?
Jimmy Corrigan is a depressing book - that frame of Jimmy alone in the train station with "I couldn't be happier" was wrenching. The book "ends on the next page with a text-less image parallel to the falling Superman that so many people wrote about on the blog last week. I'm sure this is a good place to look for people who want to continue that discussion. But what makes the scenes that come after that an epilogue. It was always my interpretation that an epilogue is somehow removed from the main body of a work, by time or style or some other marker. However in Jimmy Corrigan, it seems the epilogue is a straight continuation of the end of the book. I wonder what makes the epilogue an epilogue and what separates it from the rest of the text.

Carmen Condeluci said...

In the second half of Ware's novel, we finally get some clarification as to the flashbacks depicting the life of Jimmy's great-grandfather. The similarities that exist in James' and Jimmy's social issues are too great to ignore, and I agree with Ronald that it is meant to show a parallel between all of Jimmy's ancestors. The concept of abandonment in the context of all the characters is also further explored, with James' father leaving him at the fairgrounds and disowning the servant who he had impregnated. Just as Jimmy's father eventually found him, the "family tree" of sorts that appears at the end of flashbacks shows that Amy is finally reunited with Corrigans, although Ware makes it a point to show that this was not intentional. Near the very end of the novel, when Amy lashes out at Jimmy, he abandons her, bringing this repeated ancestral trait to fruition yet again within Jimmy himself.

Brianna R. Pinckney said...

Connecting One Dimensional Man to Jimmy Corrigan, I think Marcuse would see Ware's novel as a foreshadowing of what our society could turn into if nothing were to change. The lack of social interaction and isolation is obvious in Jimmy's character but also a main concern for Ware. Marcuse would not agree with Ware's work at all but he probably would agree that it exists and that our society should be aware of its consequences.

Matthew Schroeder said...

The second half of Jimmy Corrigan really added some coherence to the story. All of the different plotlines were tied together in a quite elegant way. The whole story of elder Jimmy takes place in such a different time, I just thought of it completely separately. When I realized that elder Jimmy is still alive in young Jimmy's time it just blew my mind. It really gave me an appreciation for how he must have felt. Growing up in a time when we were on the cusp of incredible technological development, then living to see the somewhat disappointing results must have been a terrible way to close out his life.

Caleb Radomile said...

As I thought, the second half of Jimmy Corrigan gave us more background on Jimmy's grandfather and reasons why Jimmy and his father have the relationship that they do. But I was not expecting the amount of tragedy that Jimmy was going to incur. I knew he was a tragic character, but the story just keeps throwing one thing at him after another. I honestly feel bad for him. The new coworker/love interest doesn't redeem him enough for everything he has been through, and that is IF anything comes out of that new relationship.