Over the summer, when I was registering for classes, I scrolled through numerous English courses to fulfill my prerequisite. As I surveyed my options, I struggled to select a class since there was a surplus of interesting topics such as activism and climate change. As my mother and I debated potential schedules for hours, I added David Morgen’s The Secret Language of Comics: Visual Thinking and Writing course to my shopping cart. While I added the course to my shopping cart, I remained skeptical. Could I really learn anything useful from a comic book class? Eventually, through my mother’s persistence, I enrolled in Professor Morgen’s class. Although I succumbed to my mother’s request, I remained doubtful for the remainder of the summer.
Despite my skepticism, I entered the course aspiring to learn through producing comics. Fortunately, Professor Morgen quickly demonstrated the value of creating comics through the literacy narrative assignments. Within the literacy narrative part one, I was instructed to produce a story about a significant memory that influenced my writing. After constructing an essay about the moment my high school teacher restructured my writing process, I met with Professor Morgen to review my work. After our meeting, Professor Morgen and I recognized numerous shortcomings within my essay. For example, I ended the essay stating that “Mr. Bradford’s advice was the catalyst to my improved writing” (Goldfein 3). However, I failed to explain how my writing improved through his advice. Additionally, my essay lacked an analytical component. Consequently, on the literacy narrative part two, I reconstructed my essay into a comic. Since I composed my piece and in a different mode, I effectively reorganized my thoughts and developed my purpose, genre, and audience by adding analytical elements within my story. Through my progression within my literacy narrative part two, I constructed an impeccable essay in my literacy narrative part three. Thus, I successfully completed my goal of learning through constructing comics, and I completed the learning outcome of composing texts in numerous modes and genres.
While I learned to compose texts in numerous modes and genres, I also completed additional learning outcomes through the Tracing Maus assignment. Within the assignment, I analyzed two captivating yet contrasting pages within Maus. Through my analysis, I discovered that Art Spiegelman, the author of Maus, utilized a transitional zoom, specific moments, and specific images to construct his argument. For example, “Through [his] choice of image, Spiegelman captures the vastness of discrimination enforced on the Jewish population” (Goldfein 3). Through my evidence, I constructed three analytical pages that interpreted Spiegelman’s work. Hence, I completed a learning outcome by developing personal documents through analyzing and interpreting visual information. Furthermore, through my analysis, I developed personal arguments regarding Spiegelman’s work. Thus, I completed a second learning outcome within this assignment by synthesizing another’s work to produce unique arguments. Consequently, the Tracing Maus assignment proved beneficial towards my growth as a reader and writer.
While I grew as a reader and writer within Professor Morgen’s course, I unexpectedly learned various technological skills such as constructing a website and maintaining digital citizenship through citations. Before this class, I never constructed a website through WordPress. Thus, I was initially frustrated when I attempted to upload my content and organizing my website. However, through the eleven Sunday night Sketches, I grew comfortable organizing and uploading my assignments. Additionally, through my exploration of images online for inspiration, the Sunday night Sketches allowed me to learn how to correctly cite sources to maintain digital citizenship. For example, on my tenth Sunday night Sketch, I’m McLovin This Sketch!, I utilized an online image of Fogel from Superbad to recreate the movie scene. Through this sketch, I learned to properly cite digital sources. Thus, through the Sunday night Sketches, I completed a learning outcome by employing technology through good digital citizenship and maintaining the concepts of intellectual property.
Picture credits: “McLovin Superbad” in “Guy Holding ‘McLovin’ Poster Has No Idea He’s Standing Right Next To The Real McLovin”
Although I learned numerous useful skills within Professor Morgen’s class, I felt weary about my grade in the course because he did not post my grade online. Thus, I initially played the course safe, sticking tightly to the instructions for each assignment. However, after meeting with Professor Morgen to discuss my concerns, he suggested that I should ignore my grade since I could make revisions within each assignment. With this new perspective, I developed a pattern of taking risks within my work, knowing that I could revise it if I missed the objective. For example, during my initial Stitches and Spinning comparison essay, I analyzed the science of memory between each author. Although I was not required to provide the scientific aspects of memory, I took a significant risk to make my paper unique. Nevertheless, I miscalculated my judgement and overestimated the importance of the science component. However, since I could revise my work, I created a new paper that proficiently answered the prompt. Thus, through Professor Morgen’s policies, I developed a pattern of taking risks, and I completed the learning outcome of practicing writing as a process through conducting research and engaging in revision and reflection.
Over the course of the semester, I learned many transferable skills within this course. Specifically, I benefited from Professor Morgen’s lessons on Scott McCloud’s five choices of clarity within comics. Within these five choices, McCloud highlights choice of moment, frame, image, word, and flow. Through discussion and practice within assignments such as the literacy narratives, I mastered and discovered the importance of each choice. Since I understood McCloud’s choices, I implemented his techniques in other courses during the semester. For example, within my freshman seminar, I completed a film about the detrimental effects of climate change. When creating the film, I evidently considered choice of moment, frame, image, word, and flow through my camera angles, storyline, and script. For example, I remained conscientious of choice of word by providing definitions of scientific terms such as “carbon footprint.” Therefore, through Professor Morgen’s teachings, I developed applicable skills for rhetorical situations.
Although I hesitantly enrolled in Professor Morgen’s The Secret Language of Comics: Visual Thinking and Writing course, I ultimately enjoyed it. Through completing the course objectives, learning the value of producing comics, developing a pattern of risk taking and revision, and accumulating transferable skills to current and future classes, Professor Morgen greatly assisted my progression as a reader and writer. I am eager to utilize these new skills as I continue developing as a student at Emory University.