Comparing Palestine and Pyongyang Reflection

The controlling idea of my essay is the similarities and differences from the vignettes in both Pyongyang and Palestine and an analysis on how they affect the reader and the books.  In order to start writing this assignment, I had to first lay out three ideas that I wanted to write about.  So, I decided to make three paragraphs-either two similarities and one difference or one similarity and one differences.  Then I settled on my three ideas.  I also wrote my thesis statement after I wrote my body paragraphs.  For me, this is uncommon.  This draft cannot be quantified because I wrote each paragraph individually, and then I edited each.  So, the “nth number” of draft is not sufficient to characterize hod I revised this piece.  A method I used was writing my notes on the top of my paper, and then following it while I wrote my paper.  Also, as aforementioned, I wrote the paragraphs separately like different prompts.  The organization broke down to five paragraphs: One introduction, two differences, one similarity, and a conclusion.  Overall, this project challenged me to further analyze both texts.  Surprisingly, I also had to analyze the pictures as well because they had the same amount of information.  Overall, I extracted more information from the comics from this essay.Comparing Palestine and Pyongyang

Comparing Palestine and Pyongyang

Palestine by Joe Sacco and Pyongyang by Guy Delisle are both journalistic graphic novels whose diegesis revolves around the portrayal of a foreign culture. In Sacco’s case, we get a brutal and uncensored retelling of the ongoing conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians. From Delisle, we get the humorous yet harrowing narrative of an animator’s trip to North Korea that explores the “hermit country” in a depth that is rarely seen in any form of media. Both Sacco and Delisle considered how their art style, tone, and moments selected would affect their story as well as their portrayal of foreign cultures and ended up creating works that land at extremely opposite ends of the graphic novel genre, yet serve a similar purpose through their use of vignettes. 

The most obvious aspect of the journalistic approach to graphic novel is the main feature of the genre: the art itself. And in their attempts to convey a different culture, Delisle and Sacco chose art styles that couldn’t be more different from one another. In Palestine, Sacco chooses to use a highly complex and detailed black and white lined style. At times, the art style itself can seem aggressive and over the top with so much happening on the page. Delisle, on the other hand, chooses a more simplistic art style that boils down to very basic shapes. He even describes himself as lazy in one panel where he refuses to draw cars because he feels like it would be too much work. 

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This is in contrast to Sacco, who depicts every inch of war torn Palestine in painstaking detail. At times, the art itself seems to be assaulting the reader because it spills off the page and fills every inch of it. There is also a lot more text when compared to Pyongyang. Perhaps the most illustrative moment of this is an entire section that becomes a like a normal book with minimal pictures. Sacco goes into excruciating detail in this section, which is very much unlike any moment in Pyongyang. Screen Shot 2018-04-12 at 8.00.58 PM

Pyongyang and Palestine also have extremely different tones overall. Pyongyang is a humorous but surprisingly realistic commentary on the state of the most secretive country on Earth, North Korea. Delisle often makes jokes at the expense of his North Korean counterparts and complains about how inept the North Korean animators are at understanding basic direction. In Palestine, Sacco restrains his judgement when telling the stories of the people, but will often comment from time to time. 

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Palestine however features a more menacing and brooding tone in contrast to Pyongyang. In Palestine, it is expected that every man has been in an Israeli jail and if he hasn’t, then it is a matter of time till that happens, the conditions of which are horrible. In contrast, Pyongyang often uses the fact that people are taken to labor camps or disappear in North Korea as a running gag. 

But perhaps the most important similarity between the two texts is their choice of vignettes in order to explore the cultures and issues of foreign nations. Pyongyang’s choice of vignettes are used to show the absurdities and humor in the ways of North Korea. One of the most obvious vignettes is the trip to the museum. By showing the relationship that the supreme leader has with the rest of the world and how everyone holds him as a God. This is clearly a misconstrued idea perpetrated by the North Korean government, but North Koreans who visit the museum who have been brainwashed their entire life will fall for this. In fact, Delisle finds the museum so funny that when he enters the room with the statue of Kim Il-Sung, he has to restrain himself from laughing out loud because of the absurdity of bowing to a statue. 

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In Palestine, the purpose of the vignettes is a journalistic approach to the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. The vignettes showcase the stories of Palestinians in their interactions with Israelis. The most harrowing stories are the ones that come out of Israeli jails. The scariest part about this is that every man has to go through this in Palestine, a rite of passage into manhood of sorts. The Israeli jails are run by a few bad apples that torture their prisoners and the stories that are given to Sacco describe the harsh reality of them. 

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Although different in purposes, the vignettes in both Pyongyang and Palestine serve the higher purpose of building the characters and the world of both stories. In Pyongyang, the purpose of the vignettes is to explore the secretive country of North Korea and to build the attitude and tone that a foreigner has to the country. In Palestine, the purpose of the vignettes is to explore the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis at the civilian level, but also to show a foreigners perspective on the conflict. 

Comparing Palestine and Pyongyang Reflection

I was surprised to find that that writing the essay comparing Palestine and Pyongyang was actually not that difficult. Once I had my leading idea, it was pretty simple for me to just punch it out. The main focus of my essay is the relationship between the the usage of vignettes and the styles of the comics. I went through a couple different drafts with different ideas, which in the beginning were mostly focused on surface level differences and similarities between the two books. But on the version I submitted, I found the topic that was the most interesting to me, which in turn made it quite easy to write about.



When I was thinking about this assignment, I could not decide which movie scene to recreate. I talked to my roommate and we decided to choose this scene from the movie Twilight. We chose sweatshirt that was similar to the one in the original photo. We used the whiteboard as our background and the main object was this red apple. Overall, it was very funny to do it because we had to take more than ten photos and we were laughing after each of them as we could not get the right position oh either hands or the apple. Therefore, as it made us laugh and forget about other work to do for a few minutes, I enjoyed this assignment.

Comparing Pyongyan and Palestine

This essay  Was interesting because the teacher told us that he hated when people in a comparative essay write a comparison that can’t be debated so I really tried to concentrate and find some aspect of each book that I could compare and someone could easily debate my claims. It was hard to also hard to write an essay thinking that i didn’t want to write on something that we discussed in class because I wanted to think of a comparison that hasn’t been discussed. I needed up concentrating on how it makes us feel and how we perceive the events that occur in each book and how the vignettes are connected to one another.

Literacy Comic Reflection

For the reflection on your literacy comic, I am most interested in you thinking about how it was different to write your literacy narrative as a comic — how did you think differently once the visual component was added?, how did that help you to see the story you were trying to tell in different terms?, was your analytical thinking process any different? How have your thoughts about your alphanumeric literacy narrative changed in the process of transforming it into a comic?

I’d also like you to discuss choices you made in creating your comic and try to explain why you chose the way you did. Especially if there’s something you were really trying to do in your comic which you felt you couldn’t realize as perfectly as you would if you had a lot more time, more resources, or if you could have hired an illustrator to turn your vision into exactly what you wanted. If there are aspects of your comic where you have a clear sense of what you were trying to accomplish and how you would have done so if some things were different, then explain that in your reflection. Doing so allows you to demonstrate that you have the knowledge you need about this sort of writing even if you have not yet developed all the skills necessary to make that knowledge visible in the final artifact you’ve produced.


For this sketch assignment, I chose to simply tell the actual story of how I spent my spring break. Due to the fact, that I did not travel anywhere and I was one of the three people on our floor who stayed in the residence hall, I was just watching TV shows and movies and basically doing nothing useful. When it was the first day of the break I was extremely productive, which motivated me and inspired me. However, the next day’s 12 hours of sleep and realizing that I can do whatever I want to made me procrastinate with my homework.



When I read the feedback sheets and had a conversation with my group, I realized that my comic was too short and I need to make it a little longer, maybe add one more page. Another thing that I noticed was that I did not change the focus at all. Also, I thought that my Literacy narrative comic lacked details, however, my groupmates mentioned that it was well detailed. Additionally, they said that even though the comic is short, it is clear, almost complete, and with good details. Plus, they suggested making it colored. Overall, in my opinion, if I change angles and distance, add at least one page, and maybe add some colors it will be

Tracing Maus Reflection

When I was thinking about the pages that I chose for this assignment, I could not find any similarities and did not know what to write about. Then I decided to trace the chosen pages and during the process to notice some features that these two pages have in common. While I was engaged in the process of tracing them, I started noticing some details that I’ve never paid attention to before. This assignment helped me to better understand how big the tragedies were for Vladek and how they left a deep scar on his heart for the rest of his days. The tracing process itself was very unusual but I think I did pretty well. However, it took much longer to trace it that I thought. I spent a few hours on this assignment without even noticing how time flew. Additionally, for me, it was much easier to present my ideas in chunks like this, instead of writing in a more traditional format. However, I do not feel that this assignment helped me to get in on this secret language.

Overall, I highly enjoyed tracing and annotating pages and then linking the ideas between them.


Photo: scanned from Maus’ cover page


At first glance of the Tracing Maus assignment, I was immediately overwhelmed.  I was intimidated by the several parts and steps that I had to take in order to create this project.  I didn’t fully understand how all of these pages would become a cohesive assignment and I didn’t have a vision for what to do and what to say.  I was able to realize that I just needed to take a deep breathe and go step-by-step. The first stage of choosing the page was challenging for me.  I didn’t want to choose pages that were the obvious choice or just laid it all out there. I wanted to dig deep to find the hidden overarching messages that Art dispersed throughout the novel.  Once I chose my two pages and started to analyze them, I couldn’t stop. It almost became a game of eye spy to me, I wanted to reveal more and more of the symbolism embedded within the graphics of the novel. I also had a lot of fun finding and creating pictures to go along with the text. Overall, I’m happy with my finished product and really enjoyed this project. Through this process I gained insight into how much work and thought goes into creating a graphic novel. 


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