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January 19, 2013

David Mazzucchelli's _Asterios Polyp_


Image Source: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2009/07/26/books/wolk-600.gif

Class,

In the comment box below, . . .

. . . the note-taker/scribe from each group should retype the question your group discussed today in class and provide an answer with quotations from the text to support your answers. You MUST put the page number (or, paragraph number if there are no page numbers) in parentheses after any quotation used.

Enter your work on this text as prescribed in class. For example:

Remember: I have to "approve" all comments so you won't see it immediately after posting. After hitting submit, you should see a screen that confirms this.

We are beginning to use some concepts in our discussions that you may or may have had practice using before. I want to be sure that you have a clear understanding of the words we use in class (no more blank stares!) so be sure you are looking up words you don't feel you yet "own" (means, making it a part of your personal vocabulary) by utilizing your dictionaries to the fullest.

Dr. Hobbs

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Posted by lhobbs at January 19, 2013 01:25 PM

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Posted by: Beto at March 19, 2013 01:15 PM

Deirdre Rowan
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 300 CA01 ST: Graphic Novel
9 April, 2013

Question: Critical Analysis Problem #3 New Historicism-What plot elements jump out at you as something that really needs to be compared with historical (non-fiction) narritives?

Answer: The character of Mordecai needs to be evaluated because he is based on the real-life person Mordecai Anielewicz, the leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Though there are no pictures of him in Warsaw, we are left to wonder, is his phyical appearance in Yossel really what he looked like before he died? Did he really have long locks of hair, wear glasses, and have a trench coat and brimmed hat?
According to the three websites that I researched on Anielewicz, he was killed in a bunker by poisonous gas, not shot by bullets and flamethrowers in a sewer. This might mean the Kubert is taking creative licensing with the person to order to make him more appealing as a character.

http://fcit.usf.edu/holocaust/people/anielewi.htm
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Anielevich.html
http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/2WWanielewicz.htm

Posted by: Deirdre Rowan at April 9, 2013 12:21 AM

Deirdre Rowan
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 300 CA01 ST: Graphic Novel
11 April, 2013

Question: Asterios: "Understand?" Jackson:"No. I like the way it sounds (pg. 159)."
How can this short conversation summarize Asterios' life as seen in this book.

Answer: On pages 157-159, Asterios Polyp explains to Jackson how his magnetic watch works and why it sounds loud on the dresser. After finishing the informational monologue, Asterios finds out that his speech just passed over Jackson's head; the young boy saying how he simply likes the sound.
This could serve as a parallel for Asterios' life: He always explain things with long, logical facts while it seems like the world around him only wants a simple answer.

Posted by: Deirdre Rowan at April 11, 2013 12:42 AM

Sarah Coffin-Karlin
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 300
April 12, 2013

Question: Whenever Asterios and Hana get into an argument, Mazzucchelli draws the two in completely different styles: Asterios in disjointed blocks, Hana in pink abstracts. What differences are highlighted by the art shift? Is it a look into their respective artistic tastes/styles? How might it play into traditional gender roles?

Posted by: Sarah Coffin-Karlin at April 12, 2013 02:14 PM

Nicole Natoli
Professor Hobbs
ENG 300
12 April 2013
Discussion Question for Mazzucchelli’s Asterios Polyp
Question:
On Page 34, the narrator states, “As one who doesn’t exist, I am entitled to ask these questions.” Does this mean that those who do exist are not entitled to ask these questions? What message is Mazzucchelli really trying to get across here?

Answer:
Since the narrator goes on to discuss these questions (obviously to a person who does exist: the reader), then one should assume that Mazzucchelli wants these questions to be thought over and answered. They have no clear cut answer however, which is one of the reasons why they should be discussed. Sometimes people do not think themselves as entitled to ask such questions of the universe, but they should consider the influences that others have on their reality. It’s more likely that those in authority do not want anyone to feel entitled to ask these questions, so that they can continue to influence them by repressing these answers.

Posted by: Nicole Natoli at April 14, 2013 01:55 PM

Nicole Natoli
Professor Hobbs
ENG 300
15 April 2013
Discussion Question #1for Mazzucchelli’s Asterios Polyp
Question #1:
Analyze all of the “blue pages” from page 1 to about page 9. What visual clues (visual text) has Mazzucchelli given readers to make any prejudgments about Asterios. In other words, what can we learn about Asterios’s character BEFORE he or the narrator even begins to speak.

Answer:
The mess in Asterios’s apartment indicates that he is a slob. He does not care about his living conditions or his hygiene, so one might assume that he has “let himself go.” There are overdue bill and 47 missed calls, so he has clearly stopped functioning in society. From all the “take out” trash and messy dishes, it seems as if he has done nothing but camp out in his apartment, wasting the day away. He has a blank, empty look on his face as he watches porn, which makes it seems as if he has become completely apathetic. He has so little concern for his apartment that he doesn’t even bother to shut the windows, even though it’s raining. There are many wine bottles laying around, so he has probably drunk himself into a stupor. Such behavior is usually exhibited by someone who is severely depressed.

Posted by: Nicole Natoli at April 14, 2013 01:56 PM

Kevin Michael Schuster
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 300: Graphic Novel
12.4.2013
Polyp Question
Q: Assuming that the narrator of the text is the “phantom sibling,” how do we see the narrator affecting the main character?
A: There is a noticeable level of paranoia in Asterios. This can be seen in the fact that he had installed cameras in every room of his house. While he didn’t even look at the recordings from the cameras, he admits to having installed them because he couldn’t tell whether or not he was living his life or that of his “phantom sibling.”

Posted by: Kevin Michael Schuster at April 15, 2013 10:20 AM

Douglas Phillips
Burgsbee Hobbs
Graphic Novel
12 April 2013
Asterios Polyp Question
Question: In Asterios Polyp, there is a consistent theme of duality. In what ways does the title character accept duality, and in what ways does he refute it? Explain.
Response: Throughout the book, Asterios rejects the notion of duality consciously, choosing to ask why people go to two options and not say, to a sphere of possibilities, or a range of shades of gray. Unconsciously, however, Asterios clearly grasps at duality. He records all of his nights at his apartment because of the feeling he has that his brother is there with him, two beings living the same life at the same time. When he presents to his students at the university, he gives them two basic choices of artistic style, linear and plastic. So, despite his conscious rejection of duality, his thoughts and actions show an obsession with that same duality.

Posted by: douglas phillips at April 15, 2013 02:18 PM

Deirdre Rowan
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 300 CA01 ST: Graphic Novel
16 April, 2013

Question: Notice the advertisement on the subway in the bottom panel of page 28. Then, notice the billboard advertisement in the bottom panel of page 46. What connects these two ads. Is this a recurring theme? If so, why might it be relevant, in some (even if humorous) way? Any irony/sarcasm in the products’ branding?

Answer: Page 28 says "HEMORRHOIDS? Try... Rectify" while page 47 has "Firmamint FOR DIARRHEA." These jokes center on the rectum and defecating, which may reflect how Asterios is feeling. They could also be alluding to how Asterios' life has become "irregular" after the fire and it causes him great physical distress. It seems as though he will look everywhere in order to find a normal routine to put back into his life as these advertisements are seem as Asterios is traveling on the subway and bus.

Posted by: Deirdre Rowan at April 16, 2013 01:04 AM

Nicole Natoli
Professor Hobbs
ENG 300
15 April 2013
Discussion Question Mazzuchelli's Asterios Polyp
Question #7: Based on Mazzuchelli's choice of language, how can Asterios be characterized from pages 37 to 41? What evidence from the text supports your answer?

Answer: Asterios is sarcastic and controlling. He is very critical of his students instead of being a supportive, encouraging teacher. His low expectations of others indicate that he doesn’t value them. He seems rather narcissistic, and assumes that he can convert a lesbian because he is so desirable. Evidently, he is sleeping with women and uses his position of authority to get what he wants. He does not actively pursue those who aren’t interested, but he is morally weak when it comes to those who do, and does not “call them back” after he is satisfied. Overall, he is a very dominant, controlling man, which contrasts with the way he is depicted after the apartment fire.

Posted by: Nicole Natoli at April 18, 2013 03:09 PM

Nicole Natoli
Professor Hobbs
ENG 300
17 April 2013
Discussion Question Mazzuchelli’s Asterios Polyp
Question # 17 Discuss what the reader knows about Asterio’s relationship with his parents (144-146). Is he at peace with them? Is there any ongoing conflict? What things aren’t resolved, if any?

Answer: Asterios has very different beliefs than his parents do. His parents are very invested in their religion; whereas, Asterios is very skeptical of religion and is a cynic. Rather than trying to convince his parents that they are wrong, Asterios goes along and listens to his mom describe how she prays. Asterios seems to accept his parents’ ignorance instead of trying to control their view. This is a form of love in itself and prevents direct conflict; although, there may indirect conflict that is not expressed, but felt.

Posted by: Nicole Natoli at April 18, 2013 03:10 PM

Diego Pestana
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 300
18 April 2013

Question: Does love play a part in Asterios’s parent-child relationship?

Answer: I do believe that there are characteristics of love present in Asterio's relationship with his parents. Love consists of acknowledging someone for their shortcomings and still choosing to love them regardless of their flaws. In the graphic novel, it does appear that Asterios has accepted the fact that his parents are older and not as educated as he. So, while there might be some feelings of superiority that Asterios might have toward his parents intellectually, I believe that the text suggests that he has come to terms with their simple-minded thinking, as he perceives it, but still chooses to care for them. While this is a characteristic of love, I feel it is uncertain whether or not he truly loves them because the text is filled with clues that Asterios doesn't really care for someone other than himself.

Posted by: Diego Pestana at April 23, 2013 06:15 PM

Joseph Schwartz
April 9th
4/26/13

Who is the narrator of Asterios Polyp?
Asterios Polyp is one of the most fascinating graphic novels I have read. After reading the first few pages I was instantly drawn to one aspect of the work: who is the narrator? At first I questioned whether it was Asterios, but at a closer glance I found that the narrator was someone else. Because it is so hard to note who is exactly is “telling the story” we can assume that Asterios Polyp is postmodernist work. Asterios’ consciousness and perception is warped and abstract; like the graphics in the book, his insight on life is heavily influenced by the omniscient narrator. It is in my belief that Asterios’ dead twin brother is narrating the story. There many clues that allude to this being the answer. Ignazio (the dead twin) is depicted to have died in child birth. Although he may at first seem insignificant, he plays a large factor in his brother’s life. An example of this is the dotted-outline of human figure following Asterios’ movements in a subway station. It can be assumed that Ignazio is the human outline following in his brother’s footsteps. Another example comes directly from the narrator: “If it were impossible to narrate the story I’d begin here (13).” This shows that the Ignazio is indeed the narrator, because he is the only character in the book that doesn’t exist, he is dead.

Posted by: Joseph at April 26, 2013 01:49 PM

Joseph Schwartz
April 9th
4/26/13

Who is the narrator of Asterios Polyp?
Asterios Polyp is one of the most fascinating graphic novels I have read. After reading the first few pages I was instantly drawn to one aspect of the work: who is the narrator? At first I questioned whether it was Asterios, but at a closer glance I found that the narrator was someone else. Because it is so hard to note who is exactly is “telling the story” we can assume that Asterios Polyp is postmodernist work. Asterios’ consciousness and perception is warped and abstract; like the graphics in the book, his insight on life is heavily influenced by the omniscient narrator. It is in my belief that Asterios’ dead twin brother is narrating the story. There many clues that allude to this being the answer. Ignazio (the dead twin) is depicted to have died in child birth. Although he may at first seem insignificant, he plays a large factor in his brother’s life. An example of this is the dotted-outline of human figure following Asterios’ movements in a subway station. It can be assumed that Ignazio is the human outline following in his brother’s footsteps. Another example comes directly from the narrator: “If it were impossible to narrate the story I’d begin here (13).” This shows that the Ignazio is indeed the narrator, because he is the only character in the book that doesn’t exist, he is dead.

Posted by: Joseph at April 26, 2013 01:49 PM

Joseph Schwartz
4/12/13
ENG 300
1. What are the images of “dividing” in Asterios’ Polyp represent?
It is in my opinion that the “dividing” or “splitting” imagery in Asterios Polyp is due to the nature of Asterios. Because his life feels like it is split, Asterios is always divided by circumstances surrounding his life. Examples: He split from his wife, and now he is in another half of his life. Every woman he has been with has been is divided into a half, representing his feelings on love. Asterios mind functions in dichotomies. There is lots of imagery in the work that show the splitting of a whole. Asterios twin brother died in childbirth, yet he survived, but he still is missing his other half.
I believe that this is the root why Asterios is divided. His missing brother represents Asterios other half. With that missing, Asterios is lost and unable to connect too fully with others. Every woman he pursue he tries mold into a separate entity like himself.

Posted by: Joseph at April 26, 2013 01:51 PM

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