Childhoods revisited : a study of narrative and identity in selected autobiographic graphic narratives

Clarke, Catherine (2008-03)

Thesis MA(VA) -- Stellenbosch University, 2008.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study examines the manner in which creating autobiographic narratives can facilitate identity construction and deeper self-understanding. It approaches autobiography as a means of therapy and suggests that the assimilation, acceptance and reworking of one’s history – which speaking and writing about their past experiences offers individuals – can be therapeutic. This is an especially important concept in post-traditional societies, which frequently require that individuals draw their own plans and solutions in the face of significant personal transitions or shifts. Central to this study is the idea that the self is constituted in childhood: that childhood experiences influence the self in assuming a specific structure later in life, and that relationships with family members developed during childhood can impact either favourably or unfavourably on this outcome. Family restructuring as a by-product of marital dissolution as well as the distress divorce can cause children, are explored through visual narratives. Moreover, as a particular type of visual narrative, selected autobiographic comic strips are analysed according to their potential to reflect this childhood condition. In addition, use and the effect of narrative and the potential for these narratives to reveal identity issues and uncertainties is also considered. Of significance to the study is the intrinsic connection between narrative and identity, and narrative identity is propounded as the product of this relationship. Narrative is asserted as being not only an appropriate form for the expression of identity, but a constituent of and condition for its construction too.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie ondersoek die wyse waarvolgens die skep van outobiografiese vertellings identiteitskonstruksie en deegliker selfbegrip kan bevorder. Dit benader outobiografie as ‘n wyse van terapie en stel voor dat die assimilering, aanvaarding en herverwerking van mens se geskiedenis – wat vertelling van en skryf oor hul lewenservaringe aan die indiwidu bied – terapeuties mag wees. Dit is ‘n besonder belangrike konsep in post-tradisionele gemeenskappe waar dit dikwels van indiwidue verwag word om hul eie planne te beraam en oplossings te vind te midde van beduidende persoonlike oorgang of verandering. Hierdie studie gaan uit van die standpunt dat die self tydens die kinderjare gegrond word: dat ervarings tydens die kinderjare die self beїnvloed om in die latere lewe spesifieke strukture aan te neem, en dat verhoudings met gesinslede wat tydens die kinderjare ontwikkel het, die resultaat gunstig of ongunstig mag beїnvloed. Gesinsherstrukturering as ‘n neweproduk van huweliksontbinding gepaardgaande met die spanning wat egskeiding by kinders kan veroorsaak, word ondersoek deur middel van visuele vertellings. Verder, as ‘n spesifieke tipe van visuele vertelling, word uitgesoekte outobiografiese tekenstories ge-analiseer volgens hul potensiaal om hierdie toestand tydens die kinderjare te reflekteer. Die mate waartoe die gebruik en effek van vertelling, en die potensiaal van hierdie vertellings om aspekte van identiteit asook onsekerhede te ontbloot, word ook ondersoek. Van belang by hierdie studie is die intrinsieke verbinding wat bestaan tussen vertelling en identiteit, en dat die vertellingsidentiteit voorgehou word as ‘n produk van hierdie verhouding. Vertelling word voorgehou as synde nie net ‘n toepaslike vorm vir die uitdrukking van identiteit te wees nie maar dat dit ook ‘n deel van, en voorwaarde vir, sy konstruksie is.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/72030
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