Albiero, Olivia: "Between free movement and confinement. Overcoming boundaries in Simon Schwartz’s drüben! and Colleen Frakes’s Prison Island." In: Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics 11.1 (2020), S. 96–116.
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|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Albiero2020
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Keywords: "drüben!", "Prison Island", Autobiography, Frakes. Colleen, GDR, Germany, Identity, Schwartz. Simon, Space
Collection: Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics
This paper presents a comparative analysis of Simon Schwartz's drüben! and Colleen Frakes's Prison Island, two graphic memoirs that thematise the significance of border crossing and the overcoming of boundaries for their children protagonists. drüben! and Prison Island are autobiographical graphic narratives that rely on the spatiality of the comics medium to narrate the characters' engagement with places that have changed after the original boundaries have shifted. While scholars have so far highlighted the pedagogical relevance of drüben! in relation to other narratives that visualise life in the GDR, my analysis aims at showing how Schwartz's work emphasises the relation between free movement and confinement in the process of identity formation. By positioning drüben! and Prison Island within the context of childhood autobiographical comics that rely on spatiality, this essay proposes a reading that brings these two works together beyond their national contexts. My reading focuses on how these two graphic narratives foreground space and transitional encounters in their storytelling. Via the analysis of how the protagonists' stories are visualised in the comics medium, I argue that characters' identities can be better understood in relation to the spaces they inhabit and the boundaries they overcome.
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