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The graphic representation of emotions, balloonics and lettering in the graphic novel “The Metamorphosis”

An essay by Roberto J. Sanz Caba

Roberto Sanz

on 10 December 2012

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Transcript of The graphic representation of emotions, balloonics and lettering in the graphic novel “The Metamorphosis”

The graphic
representation of
emotions, balloons and
lettering in the graphic
novel "The Metamorphosis" What are comics? "Story content in the mainstream book (that) runs around twenty-two to twenty- three pages, though the actual length of a book can be longer depending on how many ads it contains. The number of pages in a monthly book, or any comic format, is also determined by the number of pages that are printed per sheet" (Marx, 2007, p.85) What are graphic novels? "A graphic novel or trade paperback can vary in size and length, but it tends to be roughly the same length and height dimensions as a monthly book. They are perfect bound rather than stapled, meaning they have a square spine and the pages are glued to the spine, with a thick stock for the cover. The story might run a hundred pages or so. Usually they have high-quality paper, coloring, and printing because they are higher priced and treated more like a book than a magazine" (Marx, 2007, p. 85) The difference between these two types lies in the format. Comics are focused on young people and have humorous touches whereas graphic novels use a more formal format and have a narrative work. Comics' story might not have and immediate ending in about 100 pages but rather develops a story throughout many comics whereas graphic novels do have an ending in 100 pages or so. What is the difference? Comics and graphic novels use different features to provoke an "aesthetic response in the viewer" (Pinar, 2012, p. 1), or, in other words, it looks for an emotional response in the viewer according to the feelings of the characters.
Letterings and balloons also play an important role in terms of devices. These two features carry significance as long as they are out of the ordinary. A wavy balloon expresses thought; lettering drawn erratically expresses instability, among others. Comics and graphic novels devices It must be clear that images and lettering can work on their own also but rather express a complete meaning when together. Fonts can also depict feelings, a character might be yelling or enhancing the importance of a word if it is written in bold or in italics. These are the two most important devices in fonts. As an example, think of the image of Uncle Sam, who points at the reader and where you can read: "I WANT YOU FOR THE U.S. ARMY", enhancing the usefulness of the word "you", catching the reader's attention. Within lettering Balloons "Balloon forms usually convey information about the emotions and states of mind of the persons to which they are tailed." (Forceville, Veale and Feyaerts, 2010, p. 58).
Balloons can be depicted in many forms: wavy, jagged, squared, erratically or wobbly (Chiarello and Klein, 2004, p. 92) as to express the character's emotions: surprise, a thought, a scream, sternness and so on.
Balloons usually contain words, they define the course of speaking.
Within balloons we can find another device: lettering. Lettering is the format that is given to any kind of written style, that is to say, the "anatomy" of writing. It can be either calm, severe, hesitating and so on. Character's emotions. Analysis Throughout the whole novel we can witness how the characters live in misery, enhancing their own pessimistic lifestyle ever since Gregor appeared as a monster one
unfortunate morning. All this is expressed through negative emotions. Gregor Character's balloonics Sadness Anger Beggar Desperate Pain Sadness Usually expressed through these features:
Mouth bent downwards
Eyes slightly shut
Eyebrows bent downwards
Downhearted attitude Anger Usually expressed through these features:
Showing teeth (even gritting), mouth wide open or tight lips.
Eyebrows tilted downwards.
Clenched fists. Desperation Usually conveyed by:
Mouth wide open, not showing teeth, and bent downwards.
Sweat beads.
Eyes bent downwards. Pain Usually expressed through:
Mouth wide open.
Eyes shut.
Stars coming out of the source of pain. Grete Anger Desperation Cry Surprise Worry Anger: Desperation: Worry / Cry: Usually conveyed by:
A hand on the chest.
Mouth slightly bent downwards.
Eyebrows slightly tilted. Surprise: Usually expressed through:
Sweat beads or lines coming out of the head.
Mouth wide open.
Raised eyebrows.
A hand on the mouth The father Surprise Anger Worry Wrath Surprise: Worry Tilted eyebrows.
Mouth bent downwards.
The father even bites his peaked
cap. Anger: Accusing finger. Wrath: Particularly different from anger
due to:
Lines coming out of the character as if it were smoke, symbol of heating.
Very aggressive attutide: clenched fists, gritting teeth and eyebrows bent downwards. The mother Cry Surprise Faint Desperation Faint Expressed in the novel thanks to:
Eyes strongly shut.
She opens her mouth
A spiral coming out of her head. Surprise: Cry: Hands in a beggar like
Tears. Desperation Aims: The aim of this presentation is to clarify how images and words can work together to convey meaning, in terms of feelings and emotions, in the reader.
In this case we will analyze how the negative emotions are expressed and create a pessimistic response in the reader due to the sad and desperate situation of the characters, provided to the reader through balloons, lettering and images. Slamming a table or a door. Conclusion All in all we can say that this combination of images and words bring along a weigh for the mind of the reader. In our case the pessimistic point of view provided by every character plunges the reader into desperation and tragedy as it shows little joy.
This sadness, sternness, anger, wrath or pain is shown to us through images and enhanced thanks to the balloons. In other words, the image contributes to understand the feelings of the characters and the word allows us to see the way they fully externalize them and grants us a complete vision of the scene, understanding the whole. In other words... Or, more specifically, in images: When, in reality, it is skepticism he is showing. Sad attitude. Thank you for listening. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. Table 1: Images In this table we can see that negative emotions are present in almost the whole novel, providing a dreary atmosphere to the reader. Within negative emotions It is important to clarify that the most used negative devices in this graphic novel are desperation, pain, anger, wrath or worry.
And the most recurrent devices to express those are gritting teeth, clenched fists, mouths wide open, frown, sweat beads, tears and downhearted eyes. Table 2: Balloonics When it comes to balloons we can see that the vast majority are related to negative aspects, especially in cloudlike extended balloons. Even though rounded, cloudlike and weak balloons do not express for themselves negative emotions, it is the content that turns them
negative. Whithin balloons The most recurrent devices to express negative emotions in balloons are:
Bold fonts
Erratic lettering
Jagged balloons
Yelling Positive emotions There would not be negative emotions if there was no contrast. Although the space for happy moments is little, there are still important moments to take into account when it comes to joy. The features of these happy moments are that they are short, related to the past or happiness when Gregor is gone. As already
stated, balloons are the expression of inner states Gregor Although he speaks little he externalizes his state of mind by thinking, which allows the reader to fully understand him. His thoughts express anger, desperation or calm thoughts. On the other hand, his speech can either express mere chat or anger. Grete She is the character that speaks the most. Her balloons fluctuate from calmness to anger and surprise. There is no balloon expressing thoughts. Father He is the character that reveals the majority of negative aspects in the
novel as he is always showing strictness or anger. Mother She is the character that remains the same throughout the whole graphic novel. She only yells three times in the story. Roberto J. Sanz Caba Mª Jesús Pinar Sanz Work by: Directed by: That is: horror, surprise, thoughts, anger or desperation, among others. In this graphic novel the most salient is the cloudlike balloon, mainly expressing
Gregor's thoughts.
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