Ghost World by Daniel Clowes

Ghost_worldGhost World is a graphic novel about two teenage girls, best friends Enid Coleslaw and Rebecca Doppelmeyer; both are cynical and pseudo-intellectual, and at the same time concerned and clueless about the future. The novel is set in the 1990s in an unnamed American town, filled with shopping malls, urban sprawl, and fast food restaurants.  They have just graduated from high school and spend their time wandering, and criticizing the people and popular culture. They are close and entertain the idea that they maybe lesbians. They drift apart when Enid decides to go to college. Both are also attracted to their common quiet friend, Josh.

Themes: growing up, relationships, popular culture, and small town. Postmodernist motifs- popular culture mixing with high culture, commodification, waning of affect, sexuality, and playfulness.

Sean Travers on GW (movie) and the trauma of postmodernism: meaningless existence, little or no narrative progression, no conclusion (no grand narrative). Also, advertising and media as pointless.

Doug Mann on Commodity Fetishism, Alienation and Authenticity in Ghost World: critique of consumer capitalism, alienation, commodity fetishism (collectors and shoppers), alienation, hyperreal simulations,  search for authenticity, fashion and style, and Enid’s search for authenticity.

Resources:

Clowes, Daniel. Ghost World.  Lake City, Fantagrpahic Books, 2008.

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