The Secret of the Secret Language of Comics

Coming into this class I really did not know what to expect. I personally just wanted an easy first year writing class because in my mind I don’t see English or writing as one of my strongest skills and I didn’t want my GPA to suffer from that. I got what I expected but in a different sense, I did not expect to create my own website and basically blog my entire experience I expected to read and then write about what I read and that’s all. But the way we incorporated that into other methods of approaching the works is what leaves me a satisfied first year. This course had five major learning outcomes: rhetorical composition, critical thinking, reading, and writing, visual thinking, writing process, and digital identity. Sounds like any other English class and I figured the visual thinking part came from the fact that we wouldn’t just be reading words but comics with visuals. But through the assignments and discussions the approach was so much different than any other English class I have taken. Unconventional but in a good way. 

I first want talk about the literacy narrative assignment that we began within the first few weeks of the class. I immediately thought, here is where I am going to have to use this critical thinking because I hate talking about myself. I find it very difficult and I was already nervous about submitting quality work. But this assignment, I would say, gave me the breakthrough I needed as a writer. This assignment touched on critical thinking, visual thinking, and my writing process. I already came into this first semester wanting to fix my hesitant approach to some things because I did not want to miss out on any opportunities in college for, I have felt like I missed some in high school.  This assignment allowed me to really get in and critically think about my situation without taking away any extra time. Time was a big thing this semester as well and with some of these assignments fitting into my personal life, I was able to kill two birds with one stone. But yes, I was allowed to critically think for the assignment and for my own well-being and then when it was time for part two it got even better. 

Part two allowed me to put my alphabetical narrative into a comic, thinking about the assignment before doing it was a lot of doubt. But doing it made me realize that I need to use my visual thinking tool more often because it makes it easier for me to write. Just like with another past assignment, tracing pages, when we had to annotate pages from graphic novels we read and analyze them together although I did not put every annotation I wrote down into my essay, these annotations and phrases helped keep me on track and understand that I was also making sense as I progressed. Doing the visual part of the narrative allowed me to rethink and actually reclaim my narrative. I would down my skills a lot, but I just needed a different approach and now I look at the situation entirely different.  

Leaving this class, I feel empowered and know that what I say has meaning just like everyone else. Although I wasn’t verbally active all the time in class and didn’t participate in every discussion, I can say that I was mentally active. I have grown as a person and a student and I’ve found my strengths as well as nurtured my weaknesses. From now on I understand the value of visual representation, I understand the secret language of comics. Healing comes from comics, that’s the secret. We have analyzed how authors represented it through their narratives and their stories, while also representing it ourselves. I know that from this day forward, if I am assigned a writing assignment my process involves some visuals no matter what the assignment is. No more feeling battered over assignments because I don’t know where to start or I don’t know if I make sense because my thought process and writing process have been innovated into a process that works and protects my creativity. 

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