Elizabeth Vair Unit 4 March 2 post

The last two panels depicting Eugene Connor uses the contrast between a sketch-like portrait and harsh text to drive emotion – possibly anger or disbelief- into the audience. This panel is placed after the attack on the freedom riders in Birmingham, and the interview atmosphere depicted makes the reader feel as though they are watching the newsreel after the events. The artist covers Connor’s eyes with his glasses, even though they are meant to be seen through and not sunglasses. A person’s eyes are often linked to their emotions, and it is said the eyes are the window to the soul. Therefore, blocking the eyes subconsciously causes the audience to associate this depiction of Connor as a person who does not have emotion, or is not impacted by the disastrous event. In the last panel, the bolded text in a black box covering the eyes is almost like a censorship bar. The text becomes unavoidable, it is impossible to look at Connor’s face – even close up – without seeing the harsh reality of his involvement in the casualties. 

This pictorial depiction creates a heightened understanding of the event as it is impossible to see it from another lens. The person who could possibly tell another story is blocked by the harsh and unforgiving truth. Showing Connor talking side by side with an image of a man beating a black man shows his association, even more so than would have been seen at the time. In the original interview, the camera would only focus on Connor, but by showing the atrocities next to him in this depiction, it becomes part of his identity. This personally disturbed me as I was bothered by the calmness with which Connor was depicted, even with the harsh truth stamped across his eyes and the bloody scene drawn next to him. The calmness seemed unnatural and offensive, explicitly showing that he was not bothered by the events, but rather was hiding his joy in them being completed.

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