Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gotta love Diaries!

Firstly, I would just like to say that this book was an absolute wonderful interpretation of a middle school child's diary and a beautifully executed book! Not to mention, it was really fun finding out that my 10 year old cousin is reading the same book I am reading for college! But, rather than just raving for a page about how much this book made me laugh (especially in situations where I always had to explain to someone why I was reading a children's book), I would like to answer one of K's questions from his Discussion section of her presentation. K's question 6 states, "Do you think it would be more effective to read this book in pieces like a real time diary?" I found this question interesting because in books that we have previously read in class, such as Byron and A. Sedaris, that are written in installments, we usually came to a consensus that they would have been more effective if read as they were written. However, I found this book, even though it is a journal, to be completely different. I would like to note that, while Kinney constructs this book as a diary, I still believe there is a story line and a conclusion to the book. In fact, there are sequels to Diary of a Wimpy Kid, including Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roddick Rules and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw. I believe that Kinney was writing a story in journal form, rather than writing daily installments and putting together into a book form. If it wasn't a story, how would they make a movie out of it? Personally, I would rather read this book all at once, rather than one journal entry at a time. Also, by reading an essential diary, we are thrown into Greg's world and are invited to laugh at the social situations he takes part in. We see how Kinney uses Greg to exemplify the Superiority Model in the sense that he, and many other middle school students, laugh at another's expense, mostly because they are insecure about their own social status.
Another aspect of the construction of this book that we went over in class was the use of illustrations. Dr. Ellis stated that the less realistic the pictures are, the more you can read into it. I felt that this was absolutely true in the sense that the pictures were easy to follow and were funny in their imperfection. Also, we mentioned that the more simple the illustrations, the easier they are to relate. I found this particularly true because they were intricate enough to explain the situation Kinney placed the reader in, but at the same time, simple enough that any person could relate their own middle school experience to this book. Plus, it makes it easy for all readers to relate to, young and old, and in a way tells a lesson to the young reader by showing them how not to behave towards a friend, and to the old reader that the stresses you endured in middle school are now simple problems you got through and moved beyond. All in all, I found this book to be a perfect way to not only end the semester, but to help us realize that as we grow, we will always hold a little piece of our childhood with us!

In response to the question "what was most surprising to you this semester?" I would have to say the simple fact that there are actual studied Models of Humor. It sounds ridiculous, but I really did not know how we were going to study Humor in an academic sense. I was completely unaware of the way that philosophers and authors broke down their Models of Humor and it was truly rewarding to learn such information. I was surprised with how every book we read in class exemplified some aspect of Humor we discussed in depth in class. If I had read half of these books without the knowledge learned from this class, I doubt I would have ever thought to myself, "Oh hey, it seems like this book views humor in the sense that the humorous illuminates the total social situation". I probably just would have read it, laughed, and been on my way. So I am surprised not only with the models themselves, but also on how I believe I have grown to be able to pick them out in Humorous works. This class was truly a wonderful experience and addition to my academic career!

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