For my final project I am going to revisit my revision on Lynd Ward’s Vertigo. In the revision I made the argument that America in the late 20’s and early 30’s was corrupted from its original path towards a bright future and how it had been twisted by capitalism and the upper echelon. I used the 1929 “pocket history” section to accomplish this, and I also looked at a few images in the Elderly Gentleman section to make a comparison between America and fascist Germany in the same time period. I think the eagle and the way it’s portrayed in Ward’s images, along with other factors and symbols, is a clear point for this view. For this project I will expand my argument that Ward is likening America to Nazi Germany through similarities and foreshadowing in the images. I think Ward does this because he sees America being twisted into the same darkness that Germany is and this book is a commentary about America copying the evil there. By going more in depth into the Elderly Gentleman section I will examine the various uses of symbols and depictions of historical events to show Ward’s perspective on the path America is following.
Purpose behind the argument:
I think this point needs to be made about the correlation between inter-war America and the rise of Nazi Germany because it shows why Ward made this book the way he did. The darkness of the images as a result of using woodcuts helps symbolize how he viewed the world at the time and his mentality is a product of historical events. Vertigo is an example of how people felt in America during the Great Depression and how hope was dying out in a darkening world. By comparing America to Nazi Germany Ward is showing the kind of hell that common people went through in the Depression, and without change America would become a fascist autocracy or worse with the American people crushed underneath.
Petzina, Dieter. “Germany and the Great Depression.” Journal of Contemporary History. Vol. 4, No.4.
Oct. 1969. 59-74. PittCat.
-This source gives information about the effects of the Great Depression on both Germany and the U.S. and how their economies and labor forces were damaged. It draws parallels between the two countries and practices of businesses in treatment of workers. This source was used in the first revision.
Bernanke, Ben S. “Non-Monetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in the Propagation of the Great
Depression.” The National Bureau of Economic Research. NBER Working Paper
n.1054. 1983. Web.
-This source provides information on the economic practices of the Depression and how businesses ran themselves and treated their labor forces.
Herb, Steven. "Lynd Ward: graphic novel pioneer." The Horn Book Magazine Mar.-Apr. 2011:
89+. Academic OneFile. Web.
-This source has biographical information on Lynd Ward and I will use it to look at what might have influenced him to create the message in Vertigo.
Ward’s comparison of America and Nazi Germany
a. Background of Vertigo
b. Thesis – Ward likens America in the 30’s to Nazi Germany
a. Some biographical info.
b. Thoughts on Great Depression, Nazi Germany
3. The Eagle
a. Presentation and character
b. Location relative to perspective
a. Scenes of riots
b. Treatment of workers
c. Responses by executives
This is a very rough outline of how I want to structure my paper. From my original revision I have a section about the “pocket history” 1929 section that is fairly long, and I will use some of the points made in it but it will be for the most part shortened or cut out.