Saturday, November 16, 2013

Project Proposal

I’m revising my second revision “Jimmy and His Mom.”  My argument is basically the same as it was in the revision, that we can use the psychology behind Jimmy’s character to understand just about every scene in the book. The trouble I have is making that truly important to my audience. I know why it is important to me, because I suffer from some of the same psychological conditions. However, that doesn’t make it important to my readers. I need to piece all of this together in such a way that my audience will be interested in perhaps reading the entire novel again or that they may better understand a part of the novel. I could always push it further into social norms since the divorce rate is still climbing and is at just about 50% now I think. That means that more and more children could be dealing with these circumstances growing up and in fact, some of my classmates may have already experienced them.

I think what ultimately makes my argument interesting is how I use the background research to analyze various scenes in the novel. Of chief importance: I hope to offer an interpretation of Superman as a hero/father figure and foe/victim of violence and retribution. 

I’m sure a counterargument could be launched by someone with better understanding of psychology, but to my knowledge, personality disorders are some of the hardest things to pin down and “define” into such a box that one diagnosis will always hold. In fact, some Psychologists do not recognize certain personality disorders and treat them as just another difference in normal personalities. In addition, I’m trying to relate this to Chris Ware and how he views the psychology of his character and himself. Ware has a degree in the arts, not psychology.

I’m not happy with my section on Peggy so I really hope the additional research will help me to analyze that scene better and if it doesn’t, then I will likely scrap that section. I would like to use the background and research paragraphs to once again explain scenes in the book but I intend to add interpretations, based on the research, to existing paragraphs where it fits and add other scenes to better illustrate the new points. I chose the scenes in the revision to be specifically focused on the duality of his relationship with his mother, now I’m adding other things into the lens of interpretation. That also means that I will have to revise my “transition” paragraph thoroughly to further explain Jimmy as a walking contradiction. 

I was pretty pleased with my second revision and how it progressed from mostly dreck to something I felt was pretty well argued given the limited space in which it was written. However, I also think that it doesn’t do the argument justice within the limited research and depth of analysis. As I mentioned, this research is of particular importance to me as well. For these reasons, I’m excited to get started on this project if it is approved.


"Schizoid Personality Disorder." Psychological Care and Healing Treatment Center. Web. 16 Nov 2013. <>.
            I am still trying to get to the bottom of the psychology present in Jimmy Corrigan. I’ve already started with the Oedipus complex but it doesn’t necessarily explain everything so I’m exploring other theories. Schizoid Personality Disorder is not to be confused with Schizophrenia though there are similarities. SPD suffers are withdrawn, prefer to be alone, have inconsistent social interactions, and often engage in fantasy worlds.
Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders : DSM-IV-TR. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 2000. eBook.
I’m not sure that I am qualified to play psychiatrist for a fictional character, but I’m going to try anyway. I am seeing a mix of Schizoid Personality Disorder, Avoidant Personality Disorder, and Borderline Personality Disorder mixed with the Oedipus complex already discussed at length in the revision.
Livesley, W J. The DSM-IV personality disorders. New York: Guilford Press, 1995. Print.
This one has a chapter (Chapter 10) all about Avoidant Personality Disorder and (Chapter 7) about Borderline Personality Disorder. APD really describes Jimmy’s fear of criticism and rejection.
Richmond, Raymond, PhD. "Borderline Personality Disorder." A guide to psychology and its practice. Web. 16 Nov 2013. <>.
A “pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity.” Jimmy is anything but impulsive but the rest of this fits, though seemingly not as well as APD/SPD.
Ramos, Mario. "The Effects of Single Parent Dating on Children." Global Post. Demand Media. Web. 16 Nov 2013. <>.
I’m trying to move beyond just the Oedipus complex since that doesn’t necessarily consider the string of men Jimmy’s mother has over. It’s actually pretty hard to find information on these effects so it may be hard to extend normal relationships to what Jimmy’s mom has.
Raeburn, Daniel (1999-07-04). "The Smartest Cartoonist on Earth". The Imp.
Not only is this publication outstanding at times, this issue contains an excellent interview with Chris Ware. Through interviews like this one, I hope to get an idea of Chris Ware’s mentality. In this article are themes of self-deprecation and suicide.
Edemariam, Aida. "The art of melancholy." theguardian.  30 Oct 2005. Web. 16 Nov 2013. <>.  
Another interview with Ware and also contains the theme of self-deprecation. I am actually beginning to wonder, since Ware’s relationship with his mother was not what he describes Jimmy’s to be, if he didn’t try to invent a past that would better explain his own psychology.
Britton, Ronald, Michael Feldman, and Edna Shaughnessy. The Oedipus complex today clinical implications. London: Karnac Books, 1989. eBook.
This is one of my original sources and I need to read it more thoroughly. I pulled the point that recognizing a parent’s sexuality can cause problems if it isn’t tolerated, but what exactly happens if it isn’t tolerated?

1 comment:

Adam said...

The proposal is fine, and you have a perfect understanding of the main potential problem with it. So I'm really going to address that.

Jimmy is relevant to yourself as a road to self-discovery or self-comprehension, first and foremost. Surely all of us would at least be interested and potentially sympathetic (and many of us might also see ourselves in you and/or Jimmy) if you presented it that way.

In other words, what I see here, at least implicitly, is that at one level you'd like to write this as a personal essay: an investigation of yourself via Jimmy Corrigan, or vice-versa, or a combination of both, which would arguably turn it into a borderline case of a creative project: an essay-as-memoir, or memoir-as-essay.

You don't *need* to do that. But it does strike me as a possible solution to the only real problem that both you and I see with this proposal. Articulating in a different way why we should care is fine - but I'd sure be interested in seeing you write the essay from your own point of view, being clear & explicit about why you actually care.