Tracing Pages Reflection

The assignment prompt for Tracing Pages requires the comparison of two visual close readings in analytical essay format. In my essay, I concluded from page 174 from Stitches and page 170 from Spinning that both authors use the panel to panel transitions and the presence and absence of facial expressions to compare themselves with their mothers. David Small stands up for himself in between surgeries in a staredown with his mother by imitating her vicious glare, and Tillie Walden closes herself off from her mother in an act of neglect when she is late to pick her up from cello practice and causes her to witness a scary car crash.

It was difficult to choose only one moment from each text to compare, so instead of searching for two pages that mimicked each other, I focused on each book separately. I chose a page I found interesting without worrying that I would need to compare it to another page later on. This method proved to be successful because once I began the tracing process I realized both pages had themes of facial expressions or lack thereof and interesting panel design. These themes made the inductive writing process easier, however, it was still uncomfortable considering I am unfamiliar with the writing style. Inductive writing forced me to push my critical analysis to the front rather than building up to it with a cushiony introduction. This made me feel exposed because I felt I hadn’t given enough background and would automatically be put in defensive positioning. It was also overwhelming to notice the sheer magnitude of meaning behind “the secret language of comics”. Each page of a comic book has seemingly endless possibilities for underlying meaning just based off of the panel transitions alone, not even what is inside the panels themselves! Before tracing my pages, I didn’t realize how much each author used frame angles and transitions to influence the consumption of a page. Now I can see how calculated each frame is in what the author choses to show or not show.

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