Tracing Pages Reflection

The Thesis of my essay is that In Spinning and Stitches, the authors present different ways to confront trauma and control the passing of time to emphasize pivotal moments and feelings in the story. The stopping of time during the comic’s traumatizing event allows the reader to control the pace at which they read to give them the time to deal with the emotions presented.

The process of annotating the pages was a beneficial way of getting my thoughts flowing. But I found it challenging to explain some of the things that I saw on the page. When I started, I knew which page I wanted to trace for Stitches, but choosing one specific page for Spinning was a little more difficult because the page I decided required me to sum up a lot of emotionally weighted information. The tracing process helped me solidify a specific topic that I wanted to discuss in my essay and made the similarities between the two texts more explicit.

Writing an inductive essay for the first time was a disorienting experience. I found it challenging to organize my thoughts and arguments in a way that flowed together coherently. Before writing my essay, I created an outline of the ideas I wanted to make and the evidence I wanted to use when explaining, but I felt a little lost in the process of writing. My thought process toward writing a paper had to be revised to get my argument across.

Through the tracing pages assignment, I learned a lot more about comics’ secret language because I was able to focus more on individual pages and the tools that helped aid in the progression of the narrative. Also, this assignment allowed me to understand the commentary on the trauma that David Smalls and Tillie Walden present in their comics.

Tracing Assignment + Essay

Image credit: Smalls,David. “Stitches” pg. 234

Reflection of Tracing Stitches and Spinning

Choosing one page from the entire book was not easy. I traced three different pages for Spinning, since I felt like I was forcing to fit the essay into the image when I wrote based on what I traced. As I attempted to come up with the thesis, I was struggling to find some similarities and differences between Stitches and Spinning. However, after I chose proper pages for my analysis, the process of tracing Stitches and Spinning allowed me to see some features that I did not see when I just read them, such as shading, the arrangement of panels, perspectives, and backgrounds. Therefore, tracing helped me brainstorming ideas about my analysis essay. By annotating the traced images, I could find some rhetorical strategies and visual patterns of two comics. 

Inductive writing was somewhat difficult for me, since I was used to deductive writing. I felt like my induction does not provide any more analysis or new information about my thesis. Writing the final section was harder than the first two sections, because I felt like I was repeating what I’ve said earlier in the essay. It was hard to come up with a larger claim that explains how the observations and patterns that I analyzed in previous sections really mean in the books. These challenges made me read what I wrote over and over again, to be not repetitive and be more analytical. Through this assignment, I could better understand and empathize with the stories of Stitches and Spinning. Tracing, annotating, and analyzing each page of these two books helped me identify the “secret language of comics.” Also, I could notice more about the perspectives of the characters that authors want to display in the book.

Analyzing Their Tears

Assignment Prompt

Trauma Exposure: That’s “Why Comics”

Annotating the traced pages was very different from annotating and analyzing a novel. I was especially thrown off because we had to keep the text out of the page and focus on the stylistic elements of the page. It was useful for me to look for the aspects of comics that stood out the most in both books, knowing I would be comparing them. Once I noticed a pattern or two, the annotating started to flow much more.

Putting my thesis at the end of my essay made me really focus on the topic sentences and analysis within each section. I was building my claim as I wrote the essay which allowed me to develop the idea throughout the writing process.

I definitely thought a close reading of these pages broadened my understanding of Stitches and Spinning. Focusing in on specific aspects such as frame, image, and moment for each page allowed me to apply the analysis to the rest of the book because of the relatively similar style carried throughout each book. Now knowing how deliberate every aspect of the comic is, I have a better understanding of each author truly putting the reader into their mind and position.

Tracing Pages Reflection

Assignment link here.
Essay link here

Reflection timeeeeee

Thesis: In “Stitches” and “Spinning,” the different uses of gutters and perspectives support each other to show the character development of the main character in the frame while they are in the presence of another character. Both authors use the same technique but in different ways to portray their narratives.

While tracing the panels, I was mainly thinking about art style, and how they drew the panels. I enjoyed doing it because I felt productive but not at the same time. After tracing the pages, I couldn’t find things that I could analyze, but I went back to the chart with all the elements of a comic. Looking at each column, I was able to find at least one thing to annotate or note. I really just had to not overthink it and just *look*. It was fun realizing similarities and differences in between the two pages.

As for the essay style, I was looking forward to writing it. When I write the usual 5 paragraph deductive essays, I find a better way to present the essay near the end after I discussed the thesis. When I write an essay, I have a good grasp about the parts but not how they connect as a whole. Inductive writing would make sense for me because I can really present the main part of the essay after I discuss the evidence. I would need to compare deductive and inductive essays to truly see which one I like better. I also had to limit myself to not reveal the thesis in the early sections because you usually had to connect it back to the thesis while writing about the evidence.

As for the secret language of comics, I think it helps me to watch out for certain elements of the comic and bring it into a boarder context of the story. I only annotated one page per comic, but if I spent time in analyzing more pages, I would be able to get a better grasp of the comics. I learned that I had to compare frames to see certain things like with “Spinning” I didn’t realize the changed background in between panels. I totally overlooked it at first.

Tracing Stitches and Spinning Reflection

The thesis of my paper is that both Tillie Walden and David Small both slow down time and disorient the intended direction of reading to emphasize their respective emotional climaxes. I identified each of these climaxes as David realizing that his mother doesn’t love him, and Tillie underperforming at worlds, which eventually leads to her crashing her car.

Before choosing a page from both Spinning and Stitches, I knew that I wanted the pages to relate somehow. Something that we talked in class about both works was Tillie’s and David’s emotional climaxes. Therefore, I took a page from each comic that I interpreted as each character’s emotional climax. I felt that annotating and tracing the pages was very useful. It was almost like a forced pre-writing assignment since it helped me brainstorm ideas. By analyzing and annotating my tracings, I applied the concepts in Chute’s essays and began to notice the similarities and differences between the works.

The writing of this essay did not change my writing process too much. I still brainstormed ideas before and lightly outlined my essay. If anything, this essay was quicker to write because it is acceptable to immediately to start analyzing the evidence. There is no need to write and wordsmith an introduction.

After doing this assignment, I do feel that I understand “the secret language of comics” better. When initially reading both of these works, I did not notice any of the patterns I discussed in my essay. During my first read of both Stitches and Spinning, I was more reading for plot rather than examining the author’s images intricacies. Tracing and annotating really opened my eyes to how each author poetically elaborated about key plot elements. For instance, by tracing the page in Stitches, I realized that all the panels showed no signs of life, which emphasizes David’s loneliness. In my essay, I make further analysis like this. Therefore, I feel like I do understand Stitches and Spinning more after writing this essay. By tracing and annotating, I know realize why creating a certain page or panel may take weeks for an author to illustrate. In Chute’s essay, Art Spegielman says that he sometimes spends weeks on certain panels in pages. I initially thought that he did to make his art high quality and implement simple illusions. However, after writing this essay, I know realize that authors must draw their images at a high quality, but also they must decide, which poetic patterns they will use to highlight certain messages or plot points.



Tracing Pages Reflection

The thesis of my essay is “The two different uses of slowed progression of time and movement were used to highlight the significance of both scenes.”. My main arguments are that the choice of moment and flow were most influential on the pages I analyzed. The design choices made these pages stand out among others throughout the novels.

I enjoyed the process of tracing and annotating. It was interesting to analyze the pages without text, even though the pages I chose originally didn’t have much dialogue or text. It was useful to go through the five choices in comic making and see if I could see them represented on the page. The suggested themes to consider were also helpful because they helped me categorize my annotations. The whole process helped me delve deeper than surface level observations.

My writing process didn’t completely change with the inductive thinking format. I knew pretty quickly what my first two topic sentences would be. It has always been hard for me to formulate thesis sentences. In this instance, I found it to be more difficult because I would easily slip into thinking that my first topic was my thesis even though it wasn’t. This confused me until I took some time to draw conclusions I made from the points made in the first couple of paragraphs. I was then able to choose which I felt fit the best.

As mentioned before, this project helped me look deeper at the pages. I think I overlooked some concepts when I first read these two novels. Analyzing them allowed me to look really close and try to observe as much as possible. It is easy for me to gloss over pages and not look at deeper meanings. After this process, I realized why that can be dangerous. It can cause me to miss important themes and messages that could possibly change my viewpoint on a character, situation, or topic. For example, I honestly missed the point of the zoomed-in panels in Stitches and the many little panels on the page in Spinning. I have been able to understand the likely motivations behind these design choices. I think I now appreciate the creativity and attention to detail a lot more.

Link to project:

Link to assignment prompt:

Tracing Stitches and Spinning Reflection

The thesis of my essay is: having similar flow while describing similar experiences with their crushes, the authors are able to help their readers relate to the comics through their own imagination. Because both authors used similar techniques describing their similar experiences, their comic help the readers relate to the content in a similar way. The readers will either relate to the story through their own experience, or their imagination.

Before writing my essay, I traced the pages of Stitches and Spinning, and annotated them with my own notes. This process helped me understand the panels better since I was essentially the author drawing the comics. I noticed more details about the panels, such as the length of the descriptions and that the panels do not follow an order for the readers to read, which I included in my annotations. Looking at the whole page, I felt like I understood the comic better, and also understood some of the techniques that the authors used to help the readers relate to their comic. This helped the writing process of my essay.

To address the assignment of writing an inductive essay, I did not change my writing process drastically. I was never truly conformed to writing one specific structure of essay, especially during my high school years. My high school teachers never taught me that the five-paragraph essay is the only way to write essays, instead they assigned me similar essays to this inductive essay, and sometimes even allowed me to create my own structure. Therefore, I did not feel clueless when I was assigned an inductive essay. I just learned the structure of the inductive essay and went on with it.

Overall, I think this assignment helped me understand the “secret language of comics” better. I noticed more details in the comics that a normal reader would sometimes glance over, and realized that some of those details are not random but techniques that the author used to help the readers understand and relate to the content. One insight about the two books that I did not notice before it how similar they are. The main characters in the books, who are the authors in reality, describe multiple stories that are very similar to each other in almost the same way. The two pages that I have selected for my essay is only one example, but after trying to find 2 pages from each book, I noticed a significant amount of similarities between the books.

Assignment prompt

Analysis essay

Literacy Narrative 1 Reflection

In my literacy narrative essay, I explored my infatuation with books and due to my upbringing and how moving to America drastically changed my relationship with reading and writing forever.

After brainstorming about several poignant moments in my life, it felt natural and easy to write about my memories and my happy childhood bubble filled with Magic Treehouse and Rainbow Fairy novels. The freewriting exercise developed into two paragraphs about how my love for books started. However, the troubles once started when I was forced to relive and analyze my sophomore year of high school. To have something you treasured just ripped away from you was extremely disheartening. Okay, that sounds dramatic, but it really felt like I had nothing after witnessing the wide gap between my abilities and my classmates’. I wanted to convey this pain of understanding that I wasn’t good enough at something I had so deeply loved, and that everything I had known about literature was quite amiss.

I tried using a contrast of sentence length to show my misery. For example, one paragraph states: “I was so, very terribly mistaken. And I never fully recovered from being wrong.”

In retrospect, despite the enormous difficulties I encountered when I decided I hated English, it was an important moment of growth. I would never be the writer I am today without the help of my English teachers in high school. Ms. Dolan moved away after my first year, but I will never forget everything she has done for me. I did find it surprising when I realized how much time I spent reading and writing before moving to America, considering how much I’ve cried and broke down over English courses. I honestly forgot about my devotion to literature. Writing the essay brought back many estranged and sometimes unwelcome emotions about my past, but by the end, I felt that I received closure. Crafting the last paragraph brought upon an epiphany about how I want to continue: I want to keep writing to show everyone my culture.

Read the essay here.

Literacy Narrative reflection


The free write was definitely helpful as a start for the essay. I have not done a lot of writing since the end of last semester, so writing about something personal and interesting was a great way to get back into it. The writing process for the two were similar. In my head, I planned out the style I was going to use and came up with a few ideas. After, It easily translated to paper. Before this assignment, I didn’t realize how much knowing the grammar rules improved my writing. It is obvious, but I never really gave it any thought. Nothing about either writing assignment surprised me. I think about those memories frequently. The most interesting sentence would probably be the last sentence, when I am talking about my brother. The sentence reads “How, under water, he is the same as anyone else, and, above water, he is just trying to be understood.” This is impactful and the heart of what I wrote about; therefore, I think it is the key takeaway point.

Literacy Narrative Reflection

Literacy Narrative here

While writing my personal literacy narrative, I couldn’t help but use it as a time to reflect on the events that have sculpted me academically. Looking back, I think my past is an accurate reason for why I write the way I do. At first, I did not know which event to emphasize or which was the most impactful. Now that the narrative is complete, I can clearly see that all those experiences are to a puzzle, and my writing ability now is the result. Of course, I still have plenty of developmental phases ahead where I intend to grow from my current self.

As I continue to venture away from creative writing, I have less opportunity to express my creativity. This assignment allowed me to reminisce on my past while writing about the one thing I probably know the best in this world: myself. Both the creative writing style and the opportunity for creative expression will be missed as I continue to write more for my career and less for myself. As a result, my appreciation for any creative outlet form has increased.