Category: world war ii

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Narrative Construction in Art Spiegelman’s “Maus”

One thing that I really enjoy about graphic memoirs is the metanarrative nature of the medium. When reading a prose autobiography, the author typically does not draw attention to the compositional aspects of the text. For example, with Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, we know that he writes to his son; however, he does not refer to the writing of the text or the way he … Read More Narrative Construction in Art Spiegelman’s “Maus”

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Graphic Memoir Project

This semester in my Literature and Composition Graphic Memoirs class I am having students do a creative final project. For this project, they will either create their own graphic memoir or do a “Call and Response” piece for Looking at Appalachia. Since this is a new assignment, I am making my own graphic memoir alongside my students, trying my hand at creating a text. … Read More Graphic Memoir Project

Fences in George Takei’s “They Called Us Enemy”

Some of the strongest symbols within George Takei’s They Called Us Enemy are the fences that surround Rohwer and Tule Lake interment camps. There are multiple panels depicting the barbed wire fences, and various angles occur in each of the panels. These images, coupled with Takei’s words, highlight the psychological effects of xenophobia and racism on individuals, especially children such as Takei. I have … Read More Fences in George Takei’s “They Called Us Enemy”

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What I Learned Acting in “Number the Stars”

Recently, my daughter auditioned for a play at the local community theater. She has been dancing for years, but she has never acted on stage before. For the past few years, she has had the desire to act, and when the auditions came around for the theatrical adaptation of Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars, she tried out for the lead role of Annemarie Johansen. … Read More What I Learned Acting in “Number the Stars”

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The Official Record in Van Jensen and Nate Powell’s “Two Dead”

The back matter of Van Jensen and Nate Powell’s new book, Two Dead, describes it as, “at once a white-knuckled and unputdownable thriller, a roman à clef inspired by true events, and a book about post-traumatic stress disorder and the underlying social traumas of how war and segregation affect their survivors on all fronts.” Today, I want to look at a brief section from … Read More The Official Record in Van Jensen and Nate Powell’s “Two Dead”

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Absolution in “Truth: Red, White, and Black”

A few weeks ago, I taught Robert Morales and Kyle Baker’s Truth: Red, White, and Black. While I had read Truth before, and written about it some, teaching it opened up new ways for me to approach the text. In the blog post I wrote about Truth two years ago, I focused on the ways that Morales and Baker “give voice to those whose … Read More Absolution in “Truth: Red, White, and Black”

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Patriotism and Surveillance in Frank Yerby’s “Salute to the Flag”

As a student at Paine College in the mid-1930s, Frank Yerby published “Salute to the Flag” in the November 1936 issue of the school’s newspaper The Paineite. Eight years later, Yerby won the O’Henry prize for his short story “Health Card,” a story that focuses on a Black serviceman and his wife during World War II. I mention this story because “Salute to the … Read More Patriotism and Surveillance in Frank Yerby’s “Salute to the Flag”

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Frank Yerby’s “Health Card” and Gender

Before he started writing “costume novels,” Frank Yerby penned protest literature in the form of short stories and poems. The stories are in the vein of Richard Wright and other African American writers of the period. After failing to get his first novel length manuscript published, a protest novel, Yerby turned to what he called “costume novels,” historical narratives that subvert the plantation tradition. … Read More Frank Yerby’s “Health Card” and Gender

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The “Double V Campaign” in “Captain America/Black Panther: Flags of Our Fathers”

Recently, I’ve been writing about Christopher Priest’s Black Panther, specifically about Priest’s use of Everett K. Ross, “Emperor of Useless White Boys,” as the narrative voice of the book. Today, I want to look at some of Reginald Hudlin’s work as head of Black Panther. I have read a couple of issues of Hudlin’s run, but I do not want to focus on those … Read More The “Double V Campaign” in “Captain America/Black Panther: Flags of Our Fathers”

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Dorie Miller, Joe Louis, and World War II

Last week, we remembered December 7, 1941, and that commemoration made me think about the ways that the government used African American bodies, during World War II, to boost morale and support the war effort. Two instances of the government’s deployment of African Americans in “propaganda” posters comes to mind: Dorie Miller and Joe Louis.   When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Dorie Miller … Read More Dorie Miller, Joe Louis, and World War II