How to describe my experience with Skeleton Sky? The truth is the beginning was so frustrating. It started with something like a cat and a mouse chase: I was nervously trying to ‘hunt’ the words; next it developed into mystifyingly traversing a maze: I was befuddled about the sequence to follow; then it ended up like something similar to a video game: once you get to know how to play it, you can’t put it down. With every key you hit, you
live a different experience. Thus, I believe that the more ‘digitally’ oriented your brain is, the more comfortable you can be with Skeleton Sky. This conclusion carries me to the theory of Radical Change introduced by Eliza T. Dresang. This concept is mainly about associating literature with common features of the digital age.
Radical Change is here!
Don’t you believe that the word is a reflection of the world? Personally, I have always valued the existence of the correlation between literature and life. Actually, their bond is more a sort of that reciprocal movement of high and low tides. A quick reflection that has
just hit my mind: both ‘literature’ and ‘life’ start with ‘li’ which in French (pronounced ‘lee’ and spelled ‘lit’) means read. And it is true that literature reads life. What does that entail? When life changes its ‘guise’, so does literature (changes its ‘eyes’). When life becomes more sophisticated, more eloquent, and more engaging, so does literature. When life becomes more visual, more social, more interactive, and more accessed, so does literature. If it fails to do so, a damaging abyss will disconnect them and the main victim
would be the young reader.
Fortunately, literature is aware of this danger. Thus, in a century that reflects what Dresang (1993) calls Radical Change, we have seen works of art which efficiently manifest that change.
I think back of some books I have met this semester in my course ECI521 and that reflect this change. Will Grayson, Will Grayson which stars gay characters reflects an aspect of this change in the fact that it openly and boldly brings forward the marvelous relationship between two gay characters; Nothing does also mirror some f eature of this change: its format allows a more interactive reading and creates a profound impact on the reader who experiences ongoing contemplation by psychologically discovering various altitudes of connotation; Finnikin of the Rock in its visualized settings provided by the given maps at the beginning of the book and the strong visual images that leave the reader with the skillfulness of drawing them imaginatively.
However, the novel that I have just finished reading does thoroughly embrace this Radical Change. Persepolis goes hand in hand with the Digital Age precepts of connectivity, interactivity, and access. The reader can easily make both a visual and mental connection with the book mainly due to the existence of illustrations accompanying the text. The drawings actually play a very substantial role in the flow and quality of reading. They artistically intersect with the words and enrich the experience. You look at the pictures and wonder what they represent, you predict, and then eagerly read the text to validate
your prediction. Hence, the reader changes into an imaginary writer who constantly
adds to the thoughts of Satrapi and who repeatedly ‘makes decisions’. Persepolis does as well crumple old barriers by aesthetically, informatively, transparently, and humorously revealing the flaws of religion, the corruption of politicians, and the blindness of the
illiterate followers through the eyes, beliefs, and feelings of an Iranian young adolescent. This reflection of the digital age gives the opportunity for the reader to embark in an adventure where he/she can actively look, see, interpret, comment, add, feel, laugh, cry, wonder, revolt, forgive, object, accept, and most of all recreate.
While holding Persepolis I felt like celebrating the outspoken history, the visual art, the spiritual melody, the versatile prospects, the human quandary, and the life absurdity as well as its sagacity.
Under the above belief, a graphic book such as Persepolis can be skillfully integrated
in the curriculum by creating an interdisciplinary project where Social studies, Language arts, visual art, music, technology, and drama teachers can coordinate to create. Various Webquests can be led by various groups of students investigating Iran’s various regimes, the defeat of the Shah’s rule, the Islamic revolution, and the war with Iraq. These Webquests can be accompanied by artistic writing, creative drawing, artistic singing, creative acting and produced under a technological medium that can reach every internet user in the world.
After all can’t we look at this project as being an honest manifestation of the learning theories such as Participatory learning, Engagement, Bloom’s Taxonomy, Multiple Intelligences, Connectivism, Critical Literacy, social Constructivism, and Creativity? And isn’t creating the ultimate goal of a ‘democratic education’?
Dresang, Eliza T. (1999). Radical Change: Books for Youth in a Digital Age. New York.