About this graphic memoir
This text is taken from a graphic memoir about Malaka Gharib's childhood growing up as a Filipina Egyptian American. In this extract from Chapter 2, Gharib reflects on the ways her family contrasted with wider American culture.
Genre: Graphic memoir
Audience: Fans of Gharib's work as an author, those interested in human experiences/growing up/cultures- especially Filipina, Egyptian and American.
Purpose: To inform others of her childhood and share culture.
Subject: Gharib compares her experiences of childhood to her peers, established early on with "my family didn't look like the ones on TV."
Comics, cartoons, illustrations.
Graphology (personality shown through handwriting)
Different fonts used to express speech of different characters/objects (such as page 1, there's a different between the font of Gharib to that of the TV.)
Emotive and interactive
Gharib used colours of the American flag, clash of cultures.
Interactive purpose- linked recipes, and she would "circle all the things [her] parents didn't allow" .
Semantic fields - family, belonging, expectations, cultural alienation/differences, idolising nuclear American families.
Symbols: TV - "7th heaven"
Juxtaposition: between nuclear families and hers, more colour in her family's drawing, emphasis on ethnic difference.
Typography: childlike font, mimic tone
Use of footnotes: heritage reduced to a footnote, but reclaimed through the recipe/whole page.
Ironic use of American acronyms such as "OMG"
Structure is not straight forwardly linear: the author describes different aspects of her life, making use of images/games presented in the visual form in order to describe her experiences, rather than telling a story with a clear beginning/middle/end.
Structurally, the narrative, in focused around Gharib's perception of the differences between her childhood and that of her peers, is established at the beginning.
Analysis - general points
Syntactic parallelism between the "on tv, families looked like this:" and "mine looked like this:" (page 2 of extract).
Deixis: family, identity, 'fitting in'.
Exclamative: "Fabulous Monggo!"
Imperatives: (characteristic of the genre) Refer to recipe page (page 3 of extract).
Oriented as conventional recipe - headings, listing, bullet points.
Dialogue: Turn-taking, adjacency pairs - establishes characters. (Page 4 of extract)
Most of her mother's responses in the dialogue are also interrogatives or exclamative.
Informal phrasing reflects on the GRAMPS elements and is also aligned with the American setting.
Prosodic features to mimic conversation
Superlative: "Mom's greatest extravagance was taking us on big trips abroad" emphasises her mum's determination to expose her daughter to a range of places and experience.
Ellipsis: "love you, ma" characteristic of speech and presentative of different conversations and characters.
Proper nouns "Hong Kong", "Madrid" are used as captions to show us the places she was able to visit.
Gharib defines the American Dream as peace, discovery & acceptance.
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