Last class we talked about the black gutters during the scene where Temperance is reading the dead. Everyone noted it as an instance of time stopping and dislocation for the reader. After all, the black background with white spots looks like the sky with stars. People were saying that it illustrates the suspension of time during Temper’s out-of-body experience. However, I took the spotty black gutters to be something different when I initially read the story. To me, the black in between the frames reminded me of sludge, and the white spots as almost complete over-taking of the original, standard gutter by this blob.
During this scene, Temper reads a painful death; she herself is left disillusioned and pained by it. It gets to the point where she falls to her knees in mental and physical agony. The black gutters, or sludge, as I saw it was representative of this experience. The normal notion of time is vanquished with the implementation of this different style of gutter; here, time seems to slow down lag, where one earth second could feel like hours within Temper’s mind as she reads the death. Moreover, she is trapped by these gutters and her reading. At the bottom she is drawn completely surrounded by the visions and the sludge, asking bewilderedly, “What kind of crap was that?” She is even blindfolded, indicating that although she is still within the world – the white between her and the gutters and frames – she is still wrapped up in darkness.
These gutters do still represent the passage of time; the white spots in between the cells facilitate this. However, the amorphous black ooze, the nothing, dominates these pages. They relate to Temper’s other-worldly experience and translate it visually for the reader, slowing him/ her down to feel the pain as acutely as Temperance does.