Monday, November 17, 2014

Jimmy Corrigan, Tough Instructions for a Reason - Project


Ball, David. Kuhlman, Martha. Comics of Chris Ware. University Press of Mississippi, 2010. Web.

This source is used to help give a general description and critic from some of Ware’s peers. It helps to tell what they think about the instructions section and why they thought it was included.

McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comic The Invisible Art. New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers, Inc. 1994. Print.

I used this source to reference the type of transitions Ware uses in his exam portion of the instructions. I can also use it to explain in more detail some of the other types of transitions Ware uses throughout the instructions and in the book.

“Building Stories.” Random House. Penguin Random House, n.d. Web. 8 November 2014.

This source gives a quote from another graphic novelist, and how they think Ware’s book changed their profession and how they needed to approach their own work.

“Talent." Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 4 Nov. 2014.  <>.

I needed to use this source to show how Ware was trying to make the reader feel inadequate while they were working their way through the instructions.

Ware, Chris. Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth. New York City: Pantheon Books, 2000. Print.

This was the book I am writing about so there are direct quotes taken from the instructions section and other areas of the book are referenced.

I will be adding a few more sources when I started making the final additions to the project.


            When Ware wrote the instructions for Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth, he wrote them in a way to insult the reader and test there patience before they started the novel to ensure they could handle the complex graphic novel he created.  If someone could get through the tough to understand and condescending instructions, they would be well prepared for what they faced next.  The instructions vetted readers to weed out any unworthy or unprepared readers before they embarked on the journey with Jimmy Corrigan through the novel.

            A counterargument to my argument is to say that Ware simply wrote the instructions in the only way he knew how, and did not feel like changing his style of writing to fit want the reader expected.  He did not want to cater to the reader in any way when he was writing the instructions, and simply included them for the seriously interested readers who may want to understand the graphic novel on a different level than the average reader. Also, Ware may have tried to include something that other authors in his genre have not considered to do before, so he was unsure how to actually write the instructions. He could have simply been the first to try something like this and did not have any guidelines to follow, so he wrote in a way that he understood and a way that was natural to him, although it is very unnatural for an average reader.

            My argument is valid to the reader so they understand what Ware’s intentions were in his instructions and how they should interpret some of the small details he includes. There is an immense amount of instructions on the first two pages of the book, that in all honesty need their own set of reading instructions to fully comprehend the significance of each part included. It is information overload when you first open the cover, and can really turn some people away from attempting to read the book before they reach scene one.  My argument prepares the reader for what to expect when jumping straight in to the complex and confusing writing style Ware used.

Revisions Needed

            I plan to keep most of the parts of my second revision, except for the last few paragraphs where I lost focus on my argument.  I believe the detailed description of what is going on in section four is important in a overall understanding of the general instructions included.  This sections goes into detail about exactly how Ware expects the reader to interpret the most simple illustrations, which can them be applied to more complex illustrations.

            In addition to what I currently have started in my second revision, I plan to take into consideration the other sections included in the rest of the general instructions. Although, it may be difficult to include every section, I will at the very least include section two and section three along with what I have already covered.  This gives a complete argument with more supporting evidence as to why Ware wrote the instructions the way he did and how we, as an interested and curious readers, can use them to our advantage rather than letting them frustrate us before we begin reading.


1.     Introduction and Thesis Statement
2.     Develop Argument for Ware’s Inclusion of Instructions
a.     Brief Overview of Section 1 through 5
3.     Detailed Description of Section 1
a.     Why the Brief History Matters
b.     How to interpret the meaning behind the section
c.     What it relates to in the book
4.     Detailed Description of Section 2
a.     Why Ware is being condescending towards the reader
b.     How to interpret the meaning behind the section
c.     What it relates to in the book
5.     Detailed Description of Section 3
a.     Describe why Ware is giving the reader a role for the book
b.     How to interpret the meaning behind the section
c.     What it relates to in the book
6.     Detailed Description of Section 4
a.     Talk about how to read/take the exam
b.     Tell why Ware felt he needed to include this
c.     How to interpret the meaning behind the section
d.     What it relates to in the book
7.     Address Counterarguments
a.     Cite any sources that confirm my argument
b.     Link parts of the instructions to difficult to read parts of the book and explain how the instructions are geared to help you through those particular parts.
8.     Conclusion & Summary
a.     Relate any relevant parts of the book back to the instructions and confirm my argument.


  1. Jared,
    I really think you have a good topic proposal going here! Your argument is very well thought out and I can tell you have already worked hard on what you want to say for your final paper. I think your counterargument is also strong, I would however make sure you do not tackle too many sections of the instructions. Having too many reference points in the instructions could confuse the reader; your thesis could also get lost among too many small details so just make sure you are connecting back to your argument once and a while. I really like point B in your section 7 (address counterarguments) and I think you can elaborate on that and carry that link throughout the rest of your paper! If you plan on using and referencing many of the sections in the instructions, make sure your conclusion is strong so that everything gets tied together for the reader in the end.

  2. This sticks too close to the previous revision, and keeps too many of its problems. You don't want to stay bogged down in an endless description of what the instructions say. What you should be doing is working harder at figuring out how they matter. What does Ware's hostility toward and mockery of the the reader in the introduction *do*? How does it impact our reading of the book? Avoid generalizations - find ways of focusing much more upon other parts of the book - in other words, show us *where* and *how* the instructions should have an impact on our interpretation. Are there particular parts of the book where they are important? This proposal comes close to describing what you shouldn't want to do, which is just do the revision over again: find a way to develop it to clarify and focus your argument through a more detailed reading of the text (not just the introduction itself, but other specific parts of it).