Any topic (writer’s choice)

For this discussion, read Ch. 4 and 5 in McCloud’s Understanding Comics and Ch. 6-10 in The Best We Could Do.

Ch. 4 and 5 in McCloud continue to explore the ways comics work, in this case the ways they suggest time and movement and the ways they work with line to convey emotion.

Ch. 6-10 in The Best We Could Do continues the complex story of Bui’s family as they experience the war in Vietnam and life in refugee camps, and then make the journey to and create a home in the U.S. The memoir also continues to reflect on Bui’s own interior journey through her family history and her roles as daughter and mother. As you read the second half of the book, think back to your group seminar on the themes you and others found in the first half. Consider how these continue to develop as the memoir progresses. Attend to Bui’s visual choices as she tells the story. In particular, where do you see methods from McCloud’s Ch. 4 and 5 (and earlier chapters, too) at work in Bui’s memoir?

For your written post:

Part A. Choose a concept or method from Ch.
4 or 5 in McCloud that you find illustrated in the second half of The Best We Could Do.
1. Identify this concept or method in McCloud’s words and maybe his images and then explain it in your own words. Use MLA in-text citation as your refer to McCloud.
2. Now identify a page where you see this concept or method put to use in Bui’s graphic memoir. Describe/summarize the page and/or relevant panels (using MLA in-text citation) and then focus in on the concept or method as it is used there. How does Bui use it and what does it accomplish? How does it serve the storytelling in this moment?

Part B. When I first read The Best We Could Do, I was stunned by its visual and spiritual beauty, and I was moved by its complexity and honesty. It felt like a deeply personal gift from Bui. I found I wanted to go back into it immediately to see how she could have achieved all this with a monochromatic palette and a whole bunch of panels filled with (deceptively) simple drawings. That’s me.
What about you?
1. Share your overarching response to this book in two to four sentences.
2.Then, pose a question that involves your response and the form of the text as a graphic memoir and that requires you to go back into the text in some specific places to explore how you might answer. Cathryn reminds us that academic writing is about inquiry–about asking questions, giving ourselves projects to do that interest us and that demand close readings of our texts. It’s okay if this feels messy or non-linear. Just take a stab at forming a question that springs from your response to the text and that asks you to look at its form (as well as its content).
3. Find two places in the book that you want to look at closely to make a stab at “starting your project.” “Summarize/describe the first place and use MLA citation. Then, explain what in particular is relevant in the text here in terms of the inquiry you set yourself. How do the specifics in these panels (and gutters?) help you start to answer your question?
Spend at least 5 sentences on this.
4. Repeat step 3 with the second place in the text you choose.

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