Themes in Literature and Culture Graphic Novels

Themes in Literature and Culture Graphic Novels Essay #2 Criteria and possible topics

Essay #1 must follow proper MLA format and all Out of Class Essay criteria from the syllabus.

ï           Times New Roman, 12 point, double spaced

ï           1,200 words

ï           Internal citations and works cited entries based on proper MLA format

Themes in Literature and Culture Graphic Novels
Themes in Literature and Culture Graphic Novels

o          Without both, documentation grade is zero

o          Only one primary source is required, but you must use two outside academic sources (outside research)

ï           Third person pronoun usage

ï           Stay away from simple plot summary

ï           Literature analysis uses present verb tense

ï           Use the terms and ideas from Understanding Comics and from the literature analysis handouts from OWL

Themes in Literature and Culture Graphic Novels

ï           You may create your own topic/thesis if you choose

ï           Topics must come from the following texts:

o          X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills

o          Dark Knight Returns

o          Watchmen

Possible Topics:

Note: You are free to change these topics, if you wish, to create new ideas. Remember, analysis is all about an interpretation that can be supported from the text.

From X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills

ï           Explore the metaphor of mutants as a representation of real world prejudices. Why use a fictional concept, ìmutantsî to represent a very real problem?

Themes in Literature and Culture Graphic Novels

ï           How do the authors use moral ambiguity to explore the motivations of characters, sometimes villainous characters?

ï           What connections does the novel have to our real world history and culture?

ï           Many different ideologies are at work in this novel.

ï           How do the authors mix superheroes and real world issues? Is the mix successful?

ï           How is the ìmoralî of the graphic novel shown? Is the theme of the novel a more realistic one?

ï           Explore the motivations of the villains of the novel.

ï           Many people feel that Marvel Comics inject realism into their superhero stories. How real does this story feel?

Themes in Literature and Culture Graphic Novels

ï           Do the X-Men represent a diverse cast of characters? How is this shown?

ï           What do the X-Men represent in the fictional world that translates into real world concerns? Why give them powers, costumes, and secret identities?

From Dark Knight Returns

ï           Why does Frank Miller change the age and time period of Batman for his novel?

ï           How effective is the darker, more edgy version of Batman? Do you see this version in modern incarnations of the character?

ï           Does this novel relate to the time it was written?

Themes in Literature and Culture Graphic Novels

ï           What is the role of media, law enforcement, and or the establishment in this story?

ï           Does this novel relate to the incarnation of Batman that is shown in Paul Diniís Dark Night, the graphic novel we read earlier in the semester?

ï           Is there a significance of changing the character of Robin?

ï           Does this version of Batman relate to our modern world? If so, how? Can the modern incarnations of the character be totally different, in the opposite direction of the classic versions? Explain.

ï           Batman is a definite staple of popular culture. Does this translate into what we would consider classic literature? Explain.

From Watchmen

ï           What is Alan Moore trying to say about the very concept of superheroes? Does he feel they are still relevant to our world? Do you feel he even cares for the idea?

ï           Create a character study of any character from the novel. What are their motivations? How do they fit into the overall theme and ideas of the graphic novel?

ï           What sorts of symbolism are at play in the graphic novel? Ex. The Comedianís smiley face pin, Nostalgia, vigilantes, Rorschachís mask,

ï           Explore the theme of obsolescent superheroes.

Themes in Literature and Culture Graphic Novels

ï           How does the history of Watchmen mirror, yet deviate from, our real world?

ï           Does the fictional history of comics intersect with the fictional world of Watchmen?

ï           Explore moral ambiguity in the motivations and plot of the novel.

ï           Being the only ìsuperheroî in the graphic novel, why does Dr. Manhattan act the way he acts in the story? Why is he ambivalent to most aspects of humanity?

ï           The Comedian is seen as loathsome human being. However, he is a celebrated agent of the US government. Why have the character in this role? What is his role in the overall commentary on super heroics?

ï           Ozymandias is named after the poem by Percy Shelley. Using the poem, explain how the poem relates to the character?

ï           Ozymandiasís plot to unite the world is successful, to a point. How does this play off of the concept of being a ìheroî? Is Rorschachís ìsacrificeî a sense of his rigid concepts of total right and wrong?

ï           Compare Nite Owl and Rorschach. How do these characters relate to each other?

Note: You may create your own topics, if you so choose. Try comparing various characters and novels. Just have the topic relate to the three novels we have covered.

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