Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Inevitable

(For GREATWK class, our professor asked us to make a comic analysis on a page of our chosen comic book, I would just like to share what I wrote, in realization of life and death. Disclaimer: I do not really read Calvin and Hobbes, what I wrote here (descriptions, etc) is just based on the few strips and research I've read.)

Calvin and Hobbes is a comic strip based on the everyday life of Calvin, a 6-year-old boy, who embarks on various adventures with Hobbes, his inanimate stuffed tiger, who Calvin treats as his best friend, companion, and “partner-in-crime”. Throughout the comic strip he is perceived to be very young, playful, mischievous, and full of curiosity in the different things in life. For a six-year-old, Calvin shows his intelligence through his deep and interesting conversations with Hobbes, his parents, and classmates. Hobbes, on the other hand, is seen as someone who’s a more mature version of Calvin, someone who guides him and at the same time, serves as his friend. In the comic strip, the readers are also brought into the story by the numerous experiences Calvin and Hobbes share. In spite of the seemingly child-like stories and adventures of the comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes, it is said to have political, social, and environmental implications.

A specific story I would like to make a comic analysis on from the comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes, is the Raccoon Story. In this story, Calvin and Hobbes found a sickly raccoon that they wished to get better. Calvin calls on his mom to help the raccoon, and was asked to prepare a restful place for the animal. They took care of the raccoon overnight, only to find out that the animal did not make it the next day. Calvin was in tears after finding out, and the scenes show the child’s emotional side with regards to the death of the raccoon he just met. The strip ends by Calvin, a six-year-old boy, trying to grasp the idea of life and death and by telling Hobbes not to leave his side.

What struck me most about this episode of the comic strip is how the writer conveys Calvin’s sensitive side, despite him being a care-free child. It also shows his innocence when it comes to the facing the reality of life and death. For a child who’s so dynamic, it must be hard for him to accept this sad reality.

Personally, I have not read a lot of comic strips, but most of what I have read did not express this much emotion that affected me. Upon reading this, I ended up teary-eyed, as I put myself in the place of Calvin. Being someone who loves animals and pets, I have encountered Calvin’s experience with death a couple times before. Some were even worse, but I had a very similar experience with this episode, so I was able to relate well.

Death is a serious and life-changing experience for everyone, especially for young ones like Calvin. It being inevitable, or part of the life cycle, does not necessarily make it easier for us to accept. How the author depicted what Calvin’s mother told him, “how we should accept death even though it is something we do not understand, and to just do the best we can with the knowledge we have”, is possibly the best way one can do to ease the pain we experience when dealing with this kind of situation. In the story, they had done everything they could do to help save the raccoon’s life, but it was still time for him to pass away, so all they could do is just to carry this experience and move on with life. This is something we should all learn from. We cannot stop death from taking our loved ones lives, but before it’s too late, we should make sure to do everything we can to show how much we value and care each other, before the inevitable happens.

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