assignment 3-4: forming interpretive questions

Due: Wednesday, October 19
Format: Leave a comment on this post
Length: At least two questions

In class on Monday, we returned to our observations about “A.D. New Orleans After the Deluge.” (Check out this document [RTF] to see a list of these observations.)  We tried to explain some of these observations as choices or strategies that Neufeld is using to accomplish a purpose, with an audience in mind and a context at hand. For Assignment 3-4, write two (or more, if you like)  interpretive questions about “A.D.” We will discuss these questions in class on Wednesday.

You can use the DK Handbook page 108 and page 120 to help you. Please give your questions a lead-in or a bit of context so that we know where you’re coming from and so that you are not just rephrasing an observation from the list as a question. For example, don’t simply ask

Why does Neufeld make his comic all about black vs. white?

This question is too broad, and it gives no context for what you mean by “all about,” “vs.” or how you think Neufeld actually handles the issue of racial division. The question doesn’t add anything to the discussion because it simply takes a binary from the list and poses it as a “why?” question. Instead, do a bit more work by being specific and adding some interpretation to your interpretive question.  To be more specific, you could cite a passage or a particular scene as an example, you could define/analyze a key term in your question, or you could explain a point of uncertainty in your thinking so that we know where the question comes from.

19 thoughts on “assignment 3-4: forming interpretive questions

  1. 1. One of Josh Neufeld’s main characters is a guy who is wearing a shirt with a bear that says “sunny hunny day” along with wearing a rosary, yet the guy is drinking bottle of Jack Daniels and is carrying a gun. In a way Neufeld is portraying his character with things that contradict each other. Why does Neufeld give his character qualities of opposite types people?

    2. In Neufeld’s comic there are crowds of African American people throughout. There is no sign of a single white person in these crowds. The only time white people are shown is as police aiming guns at the people and a couple driving who seems to be pretty clueless about the situation at hand. Neufeld is portraying white people as “bad” by not helping and confused about what’s going on while he portrays the African American people as being helpless and sick/dying. Is he in a way blaming white people for not being able to help the African American ‘s when they need help or as white people not wanting to help them on purpose?

  2. In Neufeld’s comic one of the characters gets mad because they are not allowed to cross the bridge to go to Alglers even if they have family over there. What the reader doesn’t know is that the reason was because that a police officer was shot over there by raiders. Why does Neufeld leave that part of the story out?

    Usually comics are something someone reads to have a good laugh and relax but when I read this I didn’t want to laugh at all. Why would Neufeld choose to right about a subject so serious in a comic format?

  3. 1) In the beginning of Neufeld’s comic he has Charles being very kind to the lady who ha to use the bathroom so that nothing would jump out on her but then throughout the comic that same man (Charles) pulls out a gun on a father that needs water for his dehydrated child. Is Neufeld trying to give two different perspectives of how people treated one another, were they once united but sometimes against one another to save their selves?
    2) Why does Neufeld give the scene in the comic where the couple is discussing Hurricane Katrina? Was the significance that some people actually do understand and care about the greater good for the victims or was this a scene saying the victims should’ve evacuated when the hurricane was announced and therefore they would’ve had that problem?

  4. 1.There seems to be a repetition of “thugs” in the story. “Thugs” are defined as people with a criminal background who are unsafe and/ or violent towards other. Neufeld’s comic would define the so-called “thugs” as people who are looking out for the interest of the group and creating some form of structure for the crowd. Charles for example, would be your stereotypic “thug” but throughout the comic he shows up the most and seems to be the most helpful ( pgs 216-217[bathroom watch], 218[“you gotta do what’cha gotta do”], 223[breaking up a fight], 227/229[tending to dying old woman], 227-228[handing out supplies]). Is Josh Neufeld trying to break the stereotype that all African Americans are “thugs”?

    2.Generally, comics are used to portray events, things, and people that are funny. This comic is nothing to laugh about at all. All throughout Neufeld’s comic the tone that is portrayed is considered dramatic, serious, and hostile. Why would Neufeld use a comic to send out a message to his readers?

  5. Rachel Hegland
    English 101
    Rachael Sullivan

    1. The story starts out with grotesque scene of a public bathroom in an office building smothered in human feces. In the corner is an old woman sitting in the human waste covered bathroom. Why do you think Neufeld includes this disgusting scene in the piece? Why would it be necessary to exhibit a woman’s need to use the bathroom? Is it perhaps to exemplify how the dire the situation is by showing how ALL necessities were lost? That the people held in the superdome even did have a place to respectfully do their business? Why would there be a woman sitting in the background?

    2. Throughout the entirety of the comic, there is one particular woman who is level headed and seems to be the voice for all the frustrated victims left behind in New Orleans. Why do you think Josh Neufeld picks her, and her type of character to portray the citizen body as a whole? Is it because he tries to exemplify the people as not a stereo type? That the people in super dome were not “Thug” looters, but common, average, and every day people like you and me? That all their complexity was that they were suffering?

  6. 1. It amazes me how the whole comic is in red and yellow. The characters in the comic are not depicted as neither black or white, however the audience can clearly determine which characters are black and white. Was this purposely done by Neufeld to test peoples minds on how they stereotype certain races?
    2. Throughout the comic there is a sinificant amount of profanity used by the characters who are pretty much depicted to be black. Without the profanity, would Neufeld’s audience still be able to seperate the whites from blacks so clearly?

  7. Throughout the text, the police say that the buses are coming to save the people from the disaster that they are in. When a bus finally arrives, it appears that policemen are getting off, along with other people. It seems odd that there was only one bus, and it didn’t even pick anyone up. Why would the police keep emphasizing that the buses are coming, when they probably know they are not, especially since police officers stepped off of one?

    When the policemen and government officials are driving by, all they appear to be doing is pointing their guns at people. They don’t supply the basic needs of the people, only frighten them more, or make people think that they are “safe”. But why couldn’t the policemen have called more policemen or authority to help save the people?

  8. When the comic first starts off the lady that has to use the bathroom ask Charles if he could keep watch for her and he says, “ S’cool, miss I got you”. However, when the man with the little girl is trying to find her water it’s Charles that doesn’t let him help his daughter. Is Neufeld trying to give us different sides of people, saying people can be good and people can be bad. Or is Neufeld trying to say that Charles is looking out for everyone by not giving the water to the little girl, who is dying?

    When I normally think of comics I think of funny stories, or action stories, but Neufeld uses this comic to tell a true story in the way he saw it. I wonder why he feels that a comic will be the best way to tell what happened to those people during and after Hurricane Katrina.

  9. 1.) The beginning of the comic starts in the bathroom of an abandoned building. There is trash everywhere and bathroom is filthy. The main character has to go to the bathroom outside and have Charles stand watch for her. Why did the author have to start the comic in this setting? Why not start in the street where most of the story takes place?

    2.) On pages 222 and 223 a man is begging for water to give to his daughter and becomes violent when the man with water refuses. After weapons are drawn and the man is forcefully denied the water he is shown holding the little girl on pages 224 and 225 with no borders, and takes up both pages. The little girl looks lifeless and he says “…What am I s’posed to do with her?” what is the author’s purpose of including this in the comic? They are not shown at all later in the comic.

  10. Why does Neufeld choose the comic book format to portray his story instead of an alternative style, is this because the comic style makes the story easy to understand the situation and characters without explaining them first? Also since most comics I’ve read are fiction is he trying to say that this situation should be fiction because of how horrible it is?

    Why is Neufeld portraying the thugs as the community leaders who steal food for and protect their community and is he implying that all of the looters and people who have weapons doing these things to help their community in crisis or are some of them just taking advantage of the situation and stealing for themselves?

  11. 1. In Josh Neufeld’s comic, he uses slang words that are not normally used in pieces of writing. Is this a clear example of how he uses diction to cover the issue of race in this comic? Why would someone oppose or support this idea? What examples would they use to affect his or her reasoning?

    2. Neufeld’s purpose is debatable based on the perspective of the reader. Mainly, he wanted to dispel false information that was given to the public through media while showing the extremities of how the New Orleans people were living. But, Neufeld leaves out information to make his point stronger. How does Neufeld’s bias opinion about the event affect how the reader feels about the situation? How are the readers “suppose” to react about the victims based on Neufeld’s comic?

  12. Throughout the piece, he used a lot of swear words and slang which made a bigger impact on the piece. It put the tone in a very dark position and it also set the tone of the piece. Did Neufeld purposely use the curse words to set the tone or was that his emotions speaking in the piece?

    When Neufeld describes the thugs in the neighborhoods as protectors of the community and of the people in it. But while they are supposedly protecting the area, they steal and break into stores which gives them the label as cowards and doesn’t resemble anything close to what they are being called. Why is Neufeld defending these low life criminals and making them sound better then they could ever be?

  13. In Neufeld’s comic he uses a lot of profanity and drama, which mostly comes from the “thugs”. Most people’s first impression would be the stereotypical thought that the African American people are the ones causing trouble, but look closer to the purpose. Is the profanity and drama being caused because the African American people are causing trouble? Or is Neufeld just using this as an exaggeration of what they are going through and how they feel?

    In the comic Neufeld also shows how the police just rode past the people and said that the bus was coming to get them soon. Neufeld showed how the government acted like it wasn’t that big of a deal that they were dehydrated and starving with no place to sleep. It is obvious that Neufeld had a purpose of writing this. Does the government really not care? Or is this another one of Neufeld’s exaggerations?

  14. In the comic Neufeld only uses two colors through out the whole comic. Why do you think he didn’t want to use different colors to differ the races?
    Through out the comic Neufeld uses a lot of bad language, do you think the comic would have been as strong if he wouldn’t of sworn as much?

  15. Within the comic Neufeld shows two different sides to one story- blacks vs whites during hurricane Katrina. I not only wonder if he realizes the way it can look to an outsider, and if he realizes the justification he made for the people that were stuck in New Orleans after the hurricane struck. In the scene in the car, the two people are discussing the drawbacks of the folks still stuck in the mess. It seems that he made claims of people living pay check to pay check and off Government funds. My question really is, could he have made the comic in a way that the folks in the New Orleans scences could have been expressing this, rather than the people on the outside expressing what could or could not have been circumstances of those less fortunate.

    Is this comic realistic, or is it a biased stance? In class we came to the conclusion that Neufeld has a biased stance on his writings, but is there any way we as students could piece together information to create some sort of real view on the situation? Many suffered during the time of Katrina, but I feel that Neufeld spent much time working on the suffering and less on the action of people being evacuated and events closer to that. How does he relate to the reality of the situation and is there any sort of reality that we know as people on the outside, that isn’t biased compared to those that suffered through the hurricane. It seems that Neufeld plays with our sense as outsiders not knowing much about the inner workings to his advantage, what can we find to be truth?

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