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Looking Back at this Semester


Self as a Reader:

            Coming into this course, I did not know what to expect as far as the material we would read. Before entering City College, I’ve always read works such as Othello, Macbeth, The Crucible and many more in high school. As soon as I see the syllabus, I notice that we will be reading Ms. Marvel, Soon I Will Be Invincible, and El Deafo. This was way different from what I expected, thinking that I would read works from Shakespeare and not graphic novels and superhero stories like Ms. Marvel. I thought reading the graphic novels and analyzing them would have been hard, but it actually was not that bad. Reading Ms. Marvel and El Deafo was super interesting because it was different from what I was used to reading in a classroom setting. For me, I enjoyed reading Kamala’s and Cece’s story because it showed people from a minority group as the lead character acting as the superhero. I think switching from a high school perspective to a college perspective really made a difference in my reading and how I analyzed the texts. While reading Ms. Marvel and El Deafo, it made me also take into account the visual aspect of the comic itself and how it intertwines with language and context. Having some sort of visual aid in the book has actually helped me get the message even faster I’ve never read comic books, so it also took time for me to understand how to transition from each scene to another and even just how comics work. It helped me understand how to read books differently and I could definitely apply it to other texts as well.

Self as Writer:

            Throughout the semester, I’ve had many chances of writing about different texts and situations in both classes. I think one of my best works is my essay on Kamala Khan’s issue with being misunderstood and having issues with her identity. As a Pakistani American myself, I was able to identify with her story very much. Just like Kamala, I’ve had people come up to me and make ignorant comments and assumption about my religion and culture, especially in elementary school when 9/11 was just years before I started school. This made me want to kind of hide my culture and blend in with the majority of white students. This was why I was so invested in focusing on Kamala’s “identity issues”, having problems in both the American culture and her Pakistani culture. Katie M. Logan writes in an article “Why America needs Marvel superhero Kamala Khan now more than ever”, “even if things are profoundly not okay, at least we’re not okay together. And even if we don’t always get along, we’re still connected by something you can’t break. Something there isn’t even a word for. Something… beautiful”. Looking at this quote can orient how people may feel or act towards a certain community. It puts people on track for appreciating other people and finding a way to stay connected even in the worst of times. My second essay was one of my best works and I was really passionate about Kamala’s character just because of how relatable she was.

Celebrate 50 issues of Kamala Khan in June’s “Ms. Marvel” #31


Language and Identity:

            Overall, the reading and writing this semester has made me feel many different ways and even expand my knowledge a little. Reading Ms. Marvel made me connect to the character and storyline of how being different can be hard and not having anyone to relate to your culture religion can sometimes be an issue, but also appreciate and be proud of who you are not to suppress to societal expectation of how a Pakistani-Muslim-American should look like and breaking those stereotypes. El Deafo has revealed and unlocked a new world in the deaf community and really understanding the struggles they may go through. Although Cece’s story is not a representation of the entire deaf community, it does share a deaf person’s story on how they may have felt growing up being isolated and going through different obstacles just to be able to hear. The greater world sometimes can try to push assumptions of different communities down your throats, but reading and writing about these two texts specifically, has made me form my own opinion and understanding on other people; even if it may be a little biased. Nothing this semester has really turned me away from reading or writing. This class has shown me a new way to approach different texts and even writing to understand the character’s hardships and perspectives.

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