I was a bit confused in chapter 34 as to how Dinah felt towards Shechem. He basically kidnapped and raped her but then the text goes on to say that he spoke to her heart. Was this just him falling in love with her or was she falling for him too? After Dinah's brothers killed Shechem and all of the men in his town, they take Dinah back with them. At this point, she is seen crying and it almost looks as if she's reluctantly going with her brothers. I don't know if she's just appalled at what just happened or if she's upset about Shechem being killed. I find the fact that she could have fallen in love with Shechem after what he did pretty messed up.
I was excited to read this section of Genesis in Crumb's version of the text. I am always fascinated by the story of Joseph and his brothers and I was really curious to see how Crumb would interpret the text and illustrate it. I think he did a wonderful job that really shed light on it for me. I never pictured Reuben looking as distressed as he was depicted when the other brothers were talking about killing Joseph and then when he realized that Joseph was gone. He was a lot more distressed than I had interpreted personally and it added a different understanding to how much he cared about his brother.
Re-reading the book of genesis took me back to may days spent in CCD when I was a kid. Being Catholic, we were all given a "child's" bible. Robert Crumb's illustrations are definitely much different than the cartoony figures from my childhood. It is interesting to see how different religious text can be depicted through art. Instead of big shiny eyes and exaggerated smiles, Crumb put more of a reality of how the sinners felt when God dished out his punishments along with the facial expressions of God himself. From the Sistine Chapel to The Last Supper, religious art generally displays the lord and his son as calm and forgiving. Seeing the more vengeful side of the lord was something new and that I had never seen before.
In the final reading for Genesis, I came across a question which should have occurred to me earlier, but really struck me upon viewing the illustration of Jacob's lineage: What is R. Crumb's basis for the illustrations of each individual in the lineage pages? Obviously he illustrates each one differently because A) he wants to show they each are distinct individuals and B) it's creative freedom for him as an artist, but I'm curious to know if there's another element there. Many of the people mentioned in these lineages rarely are seen again in Genesis, so what was the basis for each particular person's image?
I've read Genesis and learned about it time and time again at various stages in my life but never with Crumb's interpretation/illustration. The weird thing about Crumb's illustrations was that some of them were stereotypical "Bible drawings" while others were so extreme and dramatic that they were sometimes almost disturbing. On the one hand God was the cliche long bearded giant man but then the people were these beastly creatures and portrayed in such vulgar ways. Although some of the illustrations may not have actually been "vulgar" for today's society, considering the fact that it's a religious text I thought Crumb went pretty extreme in the vulgarity of these scenes in particular. Just the simple fact of their body shape and facial features were so striking caught my attention. The weird thing about his book is that I can't decide if I actually dislike it or not.
I don't know if it is just me but I feel like in chapters 34, 38, and 39 the woman are portrayed as possessions to the men rather than their significant other. For example, Dinah was taken by Shechem and he "laid her and defiled her." Judah told Onan to take his sister-in-law, Tamar, and give her one of his seeds so he could raise a child for his brother. The master's wife was a bit different in the fact that she resorted to finding someone to sleep with because her husband seemed to never be around. Each of these women are, in my eyes, forced into their relationships/marriage and each gave in but also seeing it from Crumbs drawings its as if they grew an attachment for the man very quickly. I feel that the women choose not decline the offer because they wanted to bore a child of their own as well it is the mans duty to choose his partner or partners to conceive with. Crumb does an excellent job on detailing the facial expressions on each of these women which therefore allow for the reader to feel the expressions that connect with the situations they are facing.
I got to the part where joseph had already become pharaoh and his brothers come to town. Crumb depicted the conversation with two speech bubbles. He has one of hieroglyphics and one the translation. The text doesn't say there was a translator until the next page but the way crumb depicts it you get the idea earlier and easier. It also made me think of the part in McCloud where he discusses hieroglyphics in relations to words and comics. I just thought this was a very clever way to depict the language barrier.
While finishing both versions of "The Genesis," I was able to better understand Crumb's interpretations. Whereas Alter's version is strictly translation and footnotes, Crumb's version integrates images with the translation in order to depict a specific interpretation. Essentially, Crumb integrates Alter's translations to better visualize scenes. Crumb's images allow the connection between words and images; however, I found that the images, especially in last chapters Crumb, result in specification. Basically, when reading Alter I created interpretative images in my head that corresponded with his footnotes, but when reading Crumb, I found myself limited to his specific interpretations. Many times I felt as if this limited my imagination or my interpretation of "The Book of Genesis." For example, when Er gets his throat cut because he, "was evil in the eyes of the Lord," Crumb portrays an image of a fragile figure thrusting a sword into an old man as he takes the victim's bag of money (Genesis 38). I was just very caught off guard by this image, as I did not image it interpreted this way. The next panel includes the words "the Lord put him to death" (Genesis 38). I think this is why I did not interpret the image this way. If Er's death was in deed the Lord's doing, I did not picture this scene to be portrayed so violent and aggressive. In a sense, it was a disheartening interpretation, in my opinion.