Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Today’s discussion really got me thinking about what Hernandez is trying to signify through Temperance’s ability to “read the thoughts of dead people.” To read the thoughts of dead people would mean that, it sounds redundant to say, when we die we are still capable of thinking. The ability to do so, to think, to use thoughts, in death, let alone life, is puzzling for me. I began thinking about what I do when I think and, what it really comes down to, is having these little blobs of words floating around in my mind; the things I say are usually written out in my mind in one way or another. My thoughts, therefore, are just another kind of strange, invisible signifiers prompting me for some kind of signified (more thoughts, speech, etc.). Sometimes I’m not even sure how the thoughts become something signified which, again, leaves me wondering how one could read the thoughts of another person when I can’t even make sense of some of the things in my own head.

This all leads me to believe that Hernandez, through her style, the way the speech and thought bubbles are placed, the way some parts seem disjointed, is attempting to show us a piece of ourselves; a piece of ourselves that we may share with Temperance. On one level, the comic itself shows us the thoughts of characters and the fact that these characters are outside of us, dead, image stills in the medium of comics, it’s as if the reader is capable of reading the mind of a dead person like Temperance. On another level, these images, captions, words, were all the thoughts of Lea Hernandez, a kind of “dead” author—somewhere else outside of us and the comic itself. So that it’s as if we are reading her mind in a way as well; through reading Clockwork Oranges we are reading a part of Hernandez’s mind at the moment she wrote a particular image or word. On a third level, for me at least, these words and images make us more aware of our own thoughts, those of which we are normally dead to. Because Hernandez is so different in the way she formats the images and texts in the comic, my mind was constantly second guessing itself, asking whether the sequence of images/words made sense this way or that. Thus, like Temperance, the reader is placed into a world where they are in a constant interaction with thought: the ultimate signifier. Hernandez is showing us that it doesn’t take some supernatural gift to read the minds of the dead. This is something we do everyday in picking up a book, looking at an image, or reading a comic.

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