Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Parallels and Contrasts It's a Bird

Part I:
That Big Red S

On page 2, we first see the that red S on the end of the word Huntington, the disease which took his grandmother away from him. This Disease is what has haunted and constrained Steven's life so far, he has always lived in fear of this because he does not want anyone to feel like they lost something if he dies of the disease. Which is why he has such strained and loose relationships with his mother and father. The Big Red S is, of course, most symbolic on the chest of Superman, a man who has saved so many lives and brought happiness to many in dispair. Something that should symbolize life, now symbolizes death for Steven, which is why when he gets the Superman comic from his Dad that he and his brother do not read it. In addition to their hatred of conforming to society, that Big S reminds him on that disease so much that he cannot bear to look at it.  

Part 2:
The Outsider

On page 21 Steven seems to be comparing his life to Clark Kent's because he notes how much Clark fits in to everything he does not stick out like a thorn, he is the face in the crowd which is why his Superhero Identity fits him so well, because he can change back into Clark Kent and fit right back into society without notice. Yet we as a society still thrust people out of the norm, like as Seagle states, the Jews who we mock for their money handling, janitors whos jobs we need yet no one gives a rat's ass about them and no one would notice their disappearance, or how we blame people for stealing something that they didn't and the janitor now who was unnoticeable before, is being pushed out because the workers accused him because he's black of stealing something. Seagle's life is these people, he wishes he was Clark Kent, but he is more like the outsiders.

Part 3:

Achilles' story is one of the most well known and studied, it is as popular as Superman...We even named a body part after Achilles. He was dipped into the River Styx making him immortal, but his mother could not touch the water so his "Achilles Heel" did not make it into the river, making that his weak spot and the spot of his eventual death, much like Kryptonite is to Superman. The one place or thing that can bring down even the most powerful and strong people. We all have Achilles Heel's, and as much as Seagle tries it seems he wants to make his life and unimportant and bland as possible, so that he has nothing to fame and nothing that he can make himself. Yet, just like Superman's Kryptonite and Achilles' Achilles Heel, we all have something that is our own, even if its not good. Seagle has his own personal Achilles Heel which is special to him and him only, and as much as he hates conformity it is something that everyone has, even the mightiest, like Superman...

Part 4:
Colors colors colors

Maybe this could be a stretch and me reading too much into the book, but it seemed odd to be that on 80-81 where Steven has dinner with his girlfriend that she and everything around him is so colorful and vibrant compared to his blandness. When you date someone the goal is to be similar and have similar likes/dislikes, and to no be polar opposites. And we see his girlfriend and her house in complete color, which to me emanates some sort of vibrance and excitement, yet Seagle is in his usual black shirt and is a black hole for emotions. Maybe she is what Seagle needs to become more exciting and vibrant in his life, because certainly he does not have any of that in his life now. Or is it the vibrance actually starting to enter Seagle's life?

Part 5:
Kryptonite no More

We see Seagle at the end of the book showing those two random kids Superman up in the sky, actually pointing out Superman to them, while finishing the famous "It's Bird...It's a Plane...No! It's Superman!" The figure that Seagle detested through out his life, has now become something of a model for him. Those kids have to represent Seagle and his brother as children, because to me it is him telling his younger self to embrace Superman, embrace who you are, no matter if you think you are not special and blend in, you are special because their is only one you.

Fate vs Free Will... It's a Bird

Since his grandmother died from Huntington's Disease I think Steven has been constrained and lives in fear of either getting it or someone in his family gets it. And if he gets it, I think he wants absolutely no one to remember him by anything, so no one will feel like they lost anything, simply because of this Disease he may or may not get. That's why when he initially visits the doctor he persists in knowing about it, to see if he may get it. He is simply lying down and accepting his fate as a human being, and won't do anything and then blames it on fate. 

I think its very similar to Oedipus because once Oedipus realized the prophecy was true he could not stand to do anything, to live almost. He does not want to do anything, and wants to just get away through exile. Oedipus just like Steven was fated at birth, when Jocasta had him, she knew that her child was foreseen to sleep with her and kill her husband. While Seagle is fated to live in fear and sorrow because of his families genetic disease that kills. The prophecy in Oedipus is Huntington's in It's a Bird.

Personally I do not think that the broken pieces of our childhoods are what can bring us down like kryptonite, because I think that even if our childhood was broken, we can overcome those broken pieces to succeed and prosper. And we can make sure that our children are not "broken" by childhood because we as parents can provide as good a childhood as we humanly can. My kryptonite would have to be my family, in the sense that if anything happened to them I would do anything to help them. If they ask for money in the future or any good, it will be hard for my to see my family suffer if I do not help them by giving them what they desire.

Steven's distaste for having children, to me, stems from his fear that the child could contract Huntington's Disease. I believe that is how much he lives in fear of the Disease so much that he will not risk a kid getting it.

Will Steven Seagle Please Stand Up?

From the beginning as a child he seems very inquistive, always trying to ask questions and find answers to things that do not make sense to him and if he does not like and or understand what happened he becomes displeased. As he grows up I never saw him become any wiser, to me he seems to continue to hate interaction with others, much like his childhood, and he still will not do anything he believes is wrong even though his ideas and bases are not that smart and are uninformed. He never stood out as a child, he never was good at anything, and that continued as he grew up.

I think the novel tries to point out how much Seagle just fits into society, he wears bland, boring clothes, he does not have a special job, he has never accomplished anything great and when he has a chance to do something with his life he cannot accept writing Superman. If we get dulled and dimmed by society it is very very hard to break out of those constraints and become ourselves again. Just look at 65, as Seagle stands in front of the words Huntington's, the same word that killed his grandmother and runs through his family. As Seagle stands in front of the single word that defines who and how he runs his life, he is wearing a brown-ish shirt and is plain boring. It is almost like he is either so afraid of Huntington's, or he is so angry and sad that it is in his family that he just mopes and whines about his misfortune. 

Frames for It's a Bird

Page 38.

Well on 38, all the frames are bordered with a thick, dark, black lines, which are prominent in most of the book, with occasional frames with no frames, or different colors. Some of the frames on 38 are cut and made small, and some of the frames are larger than the others, but I think the smaller ones seem to represent almost a interjection of thought or speech. The frame with Superman's chest on it and the following frame, which seem to be a metaphor what for Seagle is thinking. The larger frames seem to be the bulky, info filled story, it is the meat of the pages which to me represents that maybe it means the most to the story in turns of its plot. As I stated earlier, I think the smaller frames are quick thoughts, that imply that someone is thinking of them while talking or doing something. Even on the next page every frame is exactly  the same shape, size, which to me implies its pure story, no real deeper meaning just jargon. 

To me the smaller the frame the quicker the conversation, thought or whatever is on the page because as readers it is in fact a quicker read for us. Their tends to be less words, while on the larger more squarish frames, they have more words, and is story like, its like a square which is a basic shape represents basic information and conformity into the story. Those frames to me tend not to stand out as much, they just fit in with the ebb and flow of the story. I feel I read definitively quicker with the smaller, less-wordy frames, and I take more time on the bigger ones because I have to read more words, and see all the events going on in the frame. Seagle's life is bland and boring, his life has no color so when we see these bland, plain frames its just emphasizes that Seagle is just another face in the crowd. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Women in LA 1990's edition vs Women in LA 1940s edition

In L.A. Confidential and Double Indemnity, we see a male figure fall in love with a women basically at first site. In L.A Confidential, Bud White walks into the liquor store he begins to eye this person in a full robe, who seems nunish. Yet, when he finally sees the beautiful women, he immediately is attracted to her and the romance begins. Which is much the same in Double Indemnity, Walter Neff drives to Mr. Dietrichson's house to sell them on resigning their insurance contract, yet when Mr. Dietrichson is not home his wife, Phyllis, is there barely dressed and clearly attracted to Walter as he is to her. So in both the movies, the main character "falls in love" at first sight, however its what the two women are wearing that is interesting to me.

Lynn Bracken in this shot looks stunningly beautiful and yet she is completely covered head to toe in this black and white robe. I find it almost ironic how a prostitute would want to cover up her whole body, and look completely unattractive until you see her face. I would guess Pierce told her too, but in the 90s where all guys want to do is see pretty girls with little clothes, we see the main girl covered up and looking simply like a nun. However in this exact shot very much like Double Indemnity this is the first moment when we and the main character get to catch a glimpse of the main women. Nowadays movies and us as people are more willing to allow women to expose more parts of their bodies, where as back in the 40s everything had to be covered up, it was scandalous when a movie showed skin basically

Phyllis walked out to greet Walter Neff, wearing only a towel to cover up herself, actually showing off her shoulders! Normally people do not greet visitors and guests with only a towel on, but clearly this a women that does not care and is egging Walter on, and obviously he gets cooked. He clearly falls in love with the first glimpse at her body, and again ironically for the time period for a women and especially a house wife like Phyllis to come out and greet someone exposed is so opposite of what we would think a women would do back then.

It seems like the two women in each movie should be switched in these shots. It would make more sense for Bud White to see Phyllis with little clothes and for Walter to see Lynn completely covered up. Also, the angle of the two shots interests me because in L.A. Bud and Lynn are eye level showing an even playing field, which is rare because most people in this movie abuse and disgrace women. Yet Bud is the only one who shows any respect for women and this shot shows that he thinks Lynn and he are equal. However in Double Indemnity Phyllis is the one towering over Walter as she stands on almost a pedestal, which truly shows that in this relationship she has the power, she controls what happens.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

It's a Bird... Images

I am focusing on page 27, where Seagle details the "baby boom" in America right now. That it seems to him that everyone is having kids. He seems to be asking, what's the big deal about kids, they seem to be more hassle than worth. They turn out to be clueless 13 year old kids, who need love, but their loving mom works a busy day and does it monotonously. Then when they grow up, they still ask mom and dad to do everything for them, and they cling to them like growths.

That is why I focus on the bottom three images specifically.

The three images on the bottom are almost exactly the same, it is just of Seagle's face, with a close up on his left eye, and his glasses pushed down below the eyes. Initially I thought these were exactly the same, but on closer inspection, Seagle actually shades and colors the area around his eye differently. The reflection in his glasses change, the shadows above his eyebrow and the dirt and smudges where his eye and nose meet. The background is a bleak green, very bland, boring, and like Seagle is sticking out in a bland boring world.

I think the shadows on his face and glasses, to me, show that the world is ever changing, and that no matter how meaningless and boring your life is, its ever moving and no one thing is exactly a like. Also, Seagle is perplexed by the notion of having kids, and I think he is trying to show you what happens to kids in reality. He is basically a deadbeat writer, who turned down the job of a lifetime, who is odd and seems like the relationship with his mother and he is not close, they rarely talk. He talks about what happens when the kid isn't what "you wanted?" And I think he is like, hey look at me, I am that kid, and guess how I turned out? Not well, and he is making the case for why having so many kids is worthless and not needed.

As I said earlier, all three frames are almost identical, they all are close ups, of one of Seagle's eyes. Medium angle, and its like the camera is staring into nothingness? Its just a bland face, with a bland background, he has no life, nothing to be known for, its almost like he's Clark Kent. He is the guy that just blends into society at a moments notice, he never stand out or up, he just vanishes. And I would guess, that when he wants to become a so called "superhero" we will see the true amazing side of Seagle...I hope.

Monday, October 21, 2013

"Words, Words, Words..." It's a Bird

Seagle seems awfully sarcastic to me, and in particular on page 7, the bottom 4 frames really are great for me. I love how he portrays his vision of the doctors when he was a child as plotting murderers. I like how he especially bolds "plotting", "wanted", and "want." To me, he seems like someone who does not like doing things other people tell him to do, and he wants to do the exact opposite because he does not want to be that submissive. For example, when his dad gives his brother and him the comic, he says he won't read it because his dad told him to, or when his publisher gives him the opportunity of a lifetime he says he won't. And when he bolds "want" and "wanted" I think it's further emphasizing his sarcastic yet non-submissive nature. 

He actually mixes up his bubbles often, like whenever their is dialogue he uses bubbles, as seen when he talks to his publisher on the phone, but I really like how when the phone rings and he can hear his answering machine the bubble is jagged, and pointy and sticks out like a loud ring does, very energy filled. Also, when he is narrating about his life, he goes with boxes, which show a very story like approach to it, where it reads normally and its meant to be informative and clear. Unlike the fast paced dialogue bubbles when he is talking to someone.