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Bearden-White, Roy: "Inheriting Trauma in Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth." In: International Journal of Comic Art 12.2–3 (2010), S. 354–366.
|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: BeardenWhite2010
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Keywords: "Jimmy Corrigan", Trauma, USA, Ware. Chris
Collection: International Journal of Comic Art
|Attachments||URLs http://de.scribd.com/doc/42194756/Inheriting-Trauma-in-Chris-Ware-s-Jimmy-Corrigan-The-Smartest-Kid-on-Ear ...|
In Chris Ware’s graphic novel there are two separate, yet related, themes. The larger theme is that of the inability of the main character to move beyond his childhood trauma of abandonment by his father. As an adult, he has very few meaningful relationships other than with his over-bearing mother. His coworkers either actively dislike him or they take advantage of him. He spends his days working in a cubicle and his nights alone in his apartment. The tension of the story begins when he receives a letter from his estranged father, who asks to see him. The focus here is upon the present with the younger Jimmy Corrigan and his inability to create positive change in his life. Layered behind this major theme is another, subtler theme, that of the past. Jimmy’s problem is presented as cyclical: the dysfunction is mirrored through four different generations of Corrigans. Jimmy’s father abandoned him as his great-grandfather abandoned his grandfather years earlier. Not only does each generation show an inability to establish and maintain a spousal relationship, but also an inability to develop a parental relationship. The failings of the previous generations seem to be bestowed upon the current generation, with each Corrigan struggling to overcome his inheritance. Ware’s graphic novel combines these themes in a nonlinear narrative that can be viewed through the lens of Walter Benjamin’s ideas of myth and awakening, that the potential for transcendence is available if it is first recognized. The limitations of the past and the possibilities for change for the future both reside within Jimmy’s familial history. His ability to progress beyond his own personal trauma depends upon whether he can identify and learn from his own heritage.
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