Thursday, February 4, 2010

Genre as Decoder Ring

This blog post on genre as a reader's toolbox is causing me to reshuffle my thoughts on genre.

It certainly rang true of my experience learning to read comics and graphic novels. Indeed, now that I'm learning to read comics, I find it interesting to speak to people who don't understand the genre and how they consequently miss the various aspects that make it tick.

The link to Jo Walton's piece is worth following, too. She comments: "When I read literary fiction, I take the story as real on the surface first, and worry about metaphors and representation later, if at all. It’s possible that I may not be getting as much as I can from literary fiction by this method, in the same way that the people who want the zombies and dragons to be metaphorical aren’t getting as much as they could." I think there's a great deal more complexity here to be unraveled, but broadly speaking, this is something I feel can happen. I'm finding it my research on fairy tale. Those who analyse the fairy tales in light of metaphoric meaning sometimes miss the obvious... that there is a perfectly valid reason why the princess throws the frog against the wall and he turns into a handsome prince. It has nothing to do with representations of class or gender. It has everything to do with 'a frog wants to sleep with me... eeck!'

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