Thoughts on meaning

froggies315's picture

At the end of class today, we started talking about what the Statrapi’s comics mean.  We talked about images of death from a child’s perspective and how pictures can convey this message.  These types of conversations are hard for me because finding meaning in art has always been difficult/impossible for me.  I didn’t understand why I struggle to find meaning until I read Understanding Comics.  McCloud drew a beautiful continuum from reality to meaning (p. 52-53).  If I think of my life as grounded in reality, then it follows that my life has little meaning, no?  This explains why I don't "get" art in the way that is often expected of me.  McCloud helped me again by explicitly saying what art means.  He says: “[Art] means what it IS...ink on paper.” (p. 50) So why read into the images and the words that make up the texts we read if all they actually mean is what they literally are?

What if genre doesn't matter?  What if we just read to read (!) and then, if we're moved to, reflect on how the work has changed us?


I hate the feeling of participating in a prescribed activity.  This is what happens when I start thinking about what things mean.  When we give meaning to pictures, it makes them less real--it narrows the reactions we can have.  For me, at least, this is not good.  It makes me feel trapped.

On a completely unrelated note, here’s a link to the podcast I mentioned in class. It’s great. http://www.radiolab.org/blogs/radiolab-blog/2010/nov/16/idea-time-come/

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