My final paper is also my overall project for my Master’s Degree in Liberal Studies, within my track of Biography, Autobiography and Memoirs. The project itself is a memoir on my teenage years, in which I’m attempting to trace the steps of how I was bullied in middle school and how I coped throughout that time as well as afterwards. Using old journals, which were filled with various kinds of writings, as well as photos and artworks that I’ve compiled I’m hoping to write the details of how I see those years. It also deals with how I’ve dealt with the difficulties I’ve had with my own family and the amount of verbal abuse I’ve dealt with over the years.
Some of the research that I’ve done has not been limited to what I have saved over the years but also text that I’ve found while researching on how to write the white pages of my capstone project. Articles on the effects of bullying, and the long term effects on someone who has dealt with childhood bullies. One of the articles specifically focusing on Latina teenagers and how they’re most likely of their peer group to have suicidal thoughts. Between their social interactions at school and their interactions with family it is possible that there have been lasting effects on their lives.
Books in which the characters have been put through a situation in which they’re bullied or even forced to stay away from school because of the effects of bullying have also been a part of the reading. Many of these text have been listed in the bibliography at the end of the project. The words of these characters didn’t exist when I was growing up but they have taught me that some of these authors know about or have dealt with the problem of bullying. Their stories have given me the opportunity to understand how a creative person has found an outlet for their work, whether dealing with their own characters overcoming the same obstacles or by showing that they can be better than they are.
Writing about my life as a creative project is not something I have come to terms with just yet, even writing it in the style of a novel or something close to that. It’s a difficult task and one that I’m struggling with, as of now it’s just a stream of conscience writing for the creative part until I’ve found a center to where I hope to go with the project. It’s a difficult project and one where I’m also trying to find a place to integrate some of the text that we have read in class.
Honestly since I’m one of the first going into this workshop I’m not sure of how this project will work but I’m hoping to get feedback before I continue to move forward. Don’t mind the blank spaces, I am trying to fill them in as I go but since I had to post the draft for this project, well it is a work in progress.
Trites states that adolescence is a blend of man concepts, hat include, at a minimum, the following: biological concepts of puberty; social constructions of adolescence; religious and social rites of passage… economic factors that define the adolescent’s ability to work or not educational constructs of adolescent learning styles… and psychological concepts of cognitive capacity. How do these constructs apply to someone like Lila who doesn’t have the same social constructs as other children her age? Would she have the same rites of passage as other children, as she grows into adolescence?
“[b]uilding the blend requires composition, completion, and elaborations” (Turner 2002:11). In other words, blending in literature occurs because of the author’s composition of the text, the adolescent reader’s cognitive act of reading, and that reader’s imaginative process of elaborating the blend into a new meaning. ” (56-57) Thinking of what we were discussing in class last week about childhood text having a different meaning in adulthood. What does this mean if we read adolescence text as adults?
“The ideological act, in which blends create new domains specifically aimed at manipulating a reader’s belief system, involves what cognitive narratology refers to as cultural narratives. Cultural narratives have been called by many names: master narratives, metanarratives, dominant cultural ideologies, or even stereotypes; Zunshine herself refers to them as “cultural representations” (2002:126)” (60) In all of the text we’ve read this semester, what “cultural representations” are represented in them? Does this shape how we read a text?
THE BODY IS A CONTAINER – “As Lakoff and Johnson explain, “We are physical beings, bounded and set off from the rest of the world by the surface of our skins, and we experience the rest of the world as outside us. Each of us is a container, with a bounding surfaces and an in-out orientation” (1980:29). (71) What does this type of context mean for a character like Lila who’s outside world is limited to the nighttime?
This last part is an extra, because once I learned about the context of Lila’s disease I was reminded of a movie and a show that I watched a long time ago about someone with the same disease. There is a 2006 Japanese movie as well as a 2006 Japanese Television Drama called Taiyo no Uta about a teenage girl with Xeroderma pigmentosum, it’s interesting to read something that came out around the same time with the same concept but a different age for the characters.
In “Humour and the body in children’s literature” Roderick McGills writes about the “the ‘joyful’ deaths of young children.” (259) as well as how stories told to children were written with “short factual narratives… showing heroism of small children in the face of a reaper less grim than welcome.” (259). Instead of choosing one of the text that McGills’ reference I’ve decided to look at something more recent. The short story collection Wipeout of the Wireless Weenies, by author David Lubar, is one in a long series of children’s and middle grade books. The stories within the pages uses tales of children being attacked by garbage monsters, or parents not celebrating their child’s birthday because of the end of the world, as a method to address real problems.
The titular story is a tale in which the main character, Amanda, is the only one without a cellular phone as she watches her classmates click and tap their way through class without noticing the outside world. Even the teacher has their phone out, ignoring the class of “texters, surfers, and gamers.” (116) What this story does is that it uses the way people stare at their cell phones, tablets, and any other electronic device without acknowledging their surroundings. Amanda says in the story that, “The world had turned into Wireless Weenies, sucking gigabytes of data out if the air.” (116). McGills writes that comedy “serves to remind us just how important the body is to the human condition.” While the story isn’t comedic in the sense it does show the importance of the body, or in the case of the wireless weenies, the mind. Everyone is engrossed in their devices to understand the world around them, their minds aren’t one with their body and they don’t have the ability to listen to reason.
While the story is short, the point comes in the form of a squid monster that has appeared next to the school, and while the lead character attempts to alert people of the crisis they all ignore Amanda in favor of posting about the monster on social media. The children fall to their deaths, are taken by the monster, their teacher wants to abandon them in favor of saving themselves. McGills says “it will be sufficient for me to point out that much humour for young readers finds expression in satire and parody.” The parody within the story is that it is using real people and the need to record a moment, to not pay attention to the severity of a situation instead going forth towards danger, once again going towards “the ‘joyful’ death.”
Lubar’s series of stories often uses real life situations to show how scary the world is but some stories are sound far-fetched until it’s read between the lines. This particular story shows the dangers of not truly paying attention to what is happening around you, and it could have a negative effect on your life. It may sound funny but sometimes what one person thinks is funny really isn’t the same for another.
Fink quotes Scott McCloud writing that McCloud “suggests that in reading comics, one must pay attention to the interplay of image and words, noting discrepancies between what is written and what is shown.” In what ways does reading between the lines in the graphic novel Skim applies to what McCloud is saying? Is it the representation of food on the pages without the actual talk of Skim’s body image? Or the juxtaposition of the gym class based on days when Skim is participating or not based on her injury?
The article writes about how image versus actual depression is depicted in the eyes of others, (142) whereas to some they see the person as if they’re losing weight and looking better, inside the person themselves depressed based on something happening in their lives. How does this translate throughout the graphic novel Skim, does how much of it shows that no one is really paying attention to the protagonist?
“In this flashback to age thirteen, Skim recounts being invited to the costume slumber party of a popular classmate, only to be chased and then locked out of the house by a “herd of ballerinas” (85). The skinny White feminized bodies of the party’s exalted attendees are framed against the Asian nonconforming bodies of Skim and her classmate Hein, who are forcibly removed from the birthday celebration. The ballerinas giggle at Skim (who is dressed as a lion) and Hein (who is costumed in combat gear) from inside the house, tossing out their lootbags as if to formally exeunt them from the event.”(136) How does this separate the other, versus the in-crowd? Skim is only invited at the last minute in the graphic novel, but is surrounded by the supposed perfect image of the female body. How would this effect a person in the future in regards to how the world would perceive them?
(For some reason I can’t post this to the dropbox, it’s giving me a permission error, so the link should take you to the article and it can be downloaded from the top right corner.)
I wasn’t sure what kind of source to look for when I was taking on this assignment, but I found this interesting because the parents are just as much a part of the book Wonder, as August is. The article itself discusses the struggles of parents who have children born with a birth defect as well as how they advocating better communication with doctors as their children grow up. It’s as much a responsibility for the healthcare professionals as it is for the parents to help the child throughout their lives.
How the parents react to their child is something that is as important as how the child is received in school. That’s one of the reason I chose this particular article.
Something else I found while browsing around looking for the secondary article.
NPR radio did an interview with Robert Hoge for his book Ugly about what it was like growing up with his own deformity, but reading the transcript of the interview he also talks about his mother and how she processed who he was. Which makes me want to read this book after Wonder.