Considering myself an insightful observer, I was at first pretty confident with my ability to “decode” all the patterns and underlying meanings in the two pages I chose even before the tracing process. However, I was proved wrong when I picked up my pen. When tracing, I noticed that although Stitches was monochrome, I had to carefully address the shading by stressing David’s eye sockets and nose with dark gray color while applying a lighter gray elsewhere. In contrast, I just needed to simply trace out the contour of the characters in Spinning without applying any shading. This distinction inspired me to explore how these different styles relate to the themes of the two texts, which later became the focus of my analysis.
I used to always think about the thesis of my essays before I start writing. For this assignment, though, I forced myself to jump right into the analyzing process built upon my annotations without worrying about what conclusion I was going to end up with. It turned out that I had a pretty hard time structuring my final paragraph because the former two paragraphs seemed to have nothing in common that I struggled to come up with a thesis that spoke for both. Surprisingly, I managed to not only identify the connection between them, but also arrive at an entirely new understanding of the different rhetorical situations two authors are in. If I had started writing with a fixed thesis at hand, I probably wouldn’t get to the exciting conclusion that I have right now.
This assignment definitely helped me explore more about the underlying meanings hidden within the visual elements in Stitches and Spinning. By looking over and over again at the two pages, I realized everything that appears in comics is an artistic choice that reflects the author’s thoughts. Small chose to make his panels distinctive since Stitches has a clear overarching theme of showing David’s trauma, whereas the images in Spinning are more ambiguous and require closer examination because Walden herself was trying to explore who she truly is and what the book is about while making the narration.