The Aesthetic of America: Racism in the U.S. as portrayed by Jimmy Corrigan and his family Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/undergraduate_thesis_or_projects/5425kc16f

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  • At the end of Chris Ware’s novel entitled Jimmy Corrigan the Smartest Kid on Earth Ware provides us with a hermeneutical guide to understanding the various images and themes that are present throughout the text. From the explanation of the crutch to the explanation of the metaphors and symbols, the guide entitled “Corrigenda” is fully encompassing of the text’s odds and ends. An example of this being an explanation of the crutch that Jimmy uses through most of the text. However, there are a few concepts in the Corrigenda that don’t appear in the text; one of which is the Draft Riots. The Draft Riots were a series of Irish riots over the military draft that took place in various large metropolitan cities which lasted for four days and cost two million dollars in property damage and the lives of 1000 African-Americans. If the Corrigenda is Ware’s tool for readers to understand the core concepts in his book and the Draft Riots don’t come up in the text, then Ware is positioning this race riot with his text to encourage the reader to look into the issues of race within the text. There aren’t many moments in the text that deal with race, but those that do involve Jimmy, his father, or his grandfather. If Ware wants us to examine racist historical events and compare them to his text, then the Corrigan family history of racism would be the aspect of the text to compare them to. By exploring this comparison through the lens of textual events, the reader can see how War uses the Corrigan family to demonstrate America’s attitude towards racism. This connection is explored through the use of black people as entertainment, the portrayal of black people as savages, the use of black people as atonement, and the casual racism that is practiced by the family. To understand the casual racism and use of atonement it is important to examine the foundation of the relationship between America and race through the portrayal of black people in media.
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