Sunday, November 23, 2014

Final Project Proposal: Jimmy Corrigan's Technology

Bredehoft, Thomas A. “Comics Architecture, Multidimensionality, and Time: Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth.” Modern Fiction Studies 52.4 (2006): 869-890. Web.
  •  I want to use this to provide a basis for the structure of comics and the Ware’s structure of Jimmy Corrigan. It will explain his use of multidimensional narrative strategies and engagement of the novel

Buzzetto-More, Nicole A. “Social media and prosumerism.” Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology 10 (2013): 67. Web.
  •      I want to use this article to describe the ease of technology. The world has access to multiple communication and social networks, the average person transforming to a “hyper-connected habitué of social media.”

Saxton, Gregory D. “The Social Network Effect: The Determinants of Giving Through Social Media.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 43.5 (2013): 850-868. Web.
  • This article talks about the use social networking sites to engage communities in fundraising efforts. Although I’m not speaking about fundraising, I think I can use the idea that this “social network effect” takes precedence over traditional economic experiences

Novel - Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth

In my essay, “Jimmy Corrigan and Technology,” I spoke about the influence technology had on Ware. I then lead it into modernity and the effects it had on Jimmy and society. I want to relate this to present day modernity, and speak about the huge influence social media has on today’s society. Specifically, I would like to speak about how social media is decaying society. In addition, I want to relate this to the structure of Ware’s drawings, and include instruction manuals, (possibly) drawing actual visuals as well. I believe that society as a whole is essentially in the middle of an instruction manual. Through the effects of social media, we are influenced everyday to buy certain things, act in a certain way, feel a certain way, as if we are being instructed to do so. We are also wired to type, touch and follow written word rather than having face-to-face verbal interactions with other humans.
In my original draft, I speak about the Chicago World’s Fair and how this shift into modernity in the 1800s trickled down its negative effects into Jimmy’s life. I want to further describe the negative effects of modernity by bringing it to present day. I think the way that I wrote the original about isolation provides a good segue, as if to create a timeline.
This is a more creative approach – I will have to do further research.

It is clear that Ware wrote Jimmy Corrigan with influences from technology. Beginning with the inside cover, the book is constructed as a story within a manual, supposedly one for some mechanical machine. The General Instructions inform the reader on how they should read the manual, including sections on “Ease of Use” and “Technical Explanations.” Throughout the book, the reader is interrupted several times by instruction sheets and diagrams. I believe this leads to the overarching theme of modernity. The inclusion of the Chicago World’s Fair in America’s history relates to Ware viewing the negative effects of modernity. In addition to these technological shifts, society as a whole was also affected by these changes. This has only grown through the advancement of technology over time and society today is extremely influenced by the world of social media. This also affects the world negatively, decaying the communication of society and creating a world of isolation, much like the one Jimmy was stuck in.

1.    Description of the layout of Ware’s book and explaining the use of instruction manuals and the influences of technology
2.    The Chicago World’s Fair and the effects of this modernity on the Corrigan’s life
3.    Technological shifts of the modern world
4.    Social media and the world being in an instruction manual and the negative effects of social media

Inclusion of instruction manual visuals


  1. I think this topic is great, particularly because you can make it relatable to life today while analyzing and talking about an important topic in Ware's comic as well. You explain what you are going to talk about in a concise way.
    Some advice and critique I have is one to make sure you do not stray away from the comic too much that you loose your argument. Make sure when you do talk about "how social media is decaying society" to relate this to ware and maybe talk about how technology decays Jimmy Corrigan in his world.

  2. This sounds fine. I especially like your sources. There's a danger of making excessively broad claims through your critique of social media - I think that a clear running explanation of how you are *extending* Chris Ware's critique of modernity, particularly our relationship with technology (boiled down at one point to "new places to hide things and new things to hide") would help. Anyway, that's my understanding of what you're doing - that you understand and agree with Ware's critique of the trajectory of technological change from the 1890s through the 1980s, and that you want to extend that critique into our slightly different time. Explaining how you are *adding* to his critique rather than simply repeating it will be critical here, if you want to achieve the full potential of the project - and your choice to focus on social media rather than trying to do everything should hopefully be very helpful there.