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Berlin: Textual Models

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 8 months ago

 

SOURCE TEXT:

 

Berlin, City of Stones: Book One

  • legend: all quotes marked (page #: panel #)
  • all extra-imagery text: text
  • all inter-imagery, bounded text: "text"
  • all inter-imagery, incorporated text: text

     

1

ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch (5:2)

CH CH CH CH CH CH CH CH CH (5:3)

 

"Hello." (6:2)

"Good day." (6:3)

"Just aboard?"

"Er...No. Just changing compartments. A disagreement." (6:4)

"My company in the last was quite, uh...lacking." (6:5)

"And although I seem unable to escape those of similar persuasion, at least here sleep keeps them at bay." (6:6)

"Assuming...I'm sorry, I mean you no offense."

"No, no, none taken." (6:7)

 

"Would you mind?" (7:1)

"Not at all." (7:2)

"Let me just--" ch ch ch ch (7:3)

ch ch ch ch ch (7:4)

"Do you write?" (7: 5)

"? Oh. No. Not in this, I mean. This is for drawing." (7:6)

"An artist! Wonderful! What sorts of things do you draw? Religious scenes and all the rest?" (7:7)

"No, only what I see. I don't really make things up. I draw things I see, things that strike me." (7:8)

"May I...?" (7:9)

"There's not very much in it; I haven't had it very long." (7:10)

"I thought it was a writing tablet. You draw on ruled paper?" (7:11)

"Yes. My diary is a sketchbook, it's blank. I like it that way." (7:12)

"I'm not sure why." (7:13)

 

"They are nothing, really. I mean..." (8:2)

"They are something. The people. But in there it's just for practice. I don't feel too strongly about any of it. Just trying to record what I see." (8:3)

"Yes? Me too." (8:4)

"You draw?" (8:5)

 

"Ha ha, no. I try to do it with words. I write." (9:1)

"Novelist?"

"Journalist." (9:2)

"Less eloquent in my choice of language, however. These are really quite excellent." (9:4)

"That's very kind of you, Herr...?" (9:5)

"I'm sorry, how rude of me. Severing. Kurt Severing."

"Marthe Muller. Are you travelling on an assignment of some sort?" [sic] (9:6)

"Yes. I've just been checking some background details for someone else's article as a favor to my editor." (9:10)

"And you? I see by your luggage that this is no small journey." (9:11)

"I'm from Koln. I'm afraid I've never been to the city before."

 

"Are you?" (10:1)

"Excuse me?" (10:2)

"Afraid. Are you afraid?" (10:3)

"No. Do I have reason to be?" (10:5)

"Well, Koln is sizable, but is it a city in the modern sense? Our destination is certainly such a place. I would think a degree of apprehension normal for a first-time visitor." (10:6)

"Our friend here...His is one among many factions which clash in the streets with increasing frequency." (10:7)

"Communists, socialists, nationalists, democrats, republicans, criminals, beggars, thieves and everything in between. All mixed up together--" (10:8)

"Are you trying to make me afraid Herr Severing?" (10:9)

 

"Of course not. Forgive me. It's easy for me to get carried away, talking about it." (11:1)

"I've lived there for some time, you see...I've watched it grow and change immensely in the past ten years...There is more of everything and everything moves faster than ever." (11:2)

"Of course, that means there's plenty for a new arrival to be excited about. It is, as many people are fond of saying, second only to Paris as the cultural center of Europe." (11:3)

"The theater, the arts--While I've been out of town they've released the first German 'talkie.' Can you imagine?" (11:4)

"There are something like, I don't know, 3,000 newspapers and magazines published right in the city, so for me..." (11:5)

"I suppose your discontent must have a lot to do with your profession." (11:6)

"Don't get me wrong Fraulein Muller; I have many misgivings..." (11:7)

"There is much about it that troubles me." CH CH CH CH CH CH CH C (11:8)

"But in the end, I can call no other place my home." H CH CH CH CH CH ch ch ch ch ch (11:9)

 

 

 


 

 

MODEL 1:

 

  1. Text only with continuation of speaker through continuous quotes:

 

ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch CH CH CH CH CH CH CH CH CH

"Hello."

"Good day."

"Just aboard?"

"Er...No. Just changing compartments. A disagreement. My company in the last was quite, uh...lacking. And although I seem unable to escape those of similar persuasion, at least here sleep keeps them at bay. Assuming...I'm sorry, I mean you no offense."

"No, no, none taken."

"Would you mind?"

"Not at all."

"Let me just--"

ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch

"Do you write?"

"? Oh. No. Not in this, I mean. This is for drawing."

"An artist! Wonderful! What sorts of things do you draw? Religious scenes and all the rest?"

"No, only what I see. I don't really make things up. I draw things I see, things that strike me."

"May I...?"

"There's not very much in it; I haven't had it very long."

"I thought it was a writing tablet. You draw on ruled paper?"

"Yes. My diary is a sketchbook, it's blank. I like it that way. I'm not sure why. They are nothing, really. I mean...They are something. The people. But in there it's just for practice. I don't feel too strongly about any of it. Just trying to record what I see."

"Yes? Me too."

"You draw?"

"Ha ha, no. I try to do it with words. I write."

"Novelist?"

"Journalist. Less eloquent in my choice of language, however. These are really quite excellent."

"That's very kind of you, Herr...?"

"I'm sorry, how rude of me. Severing. Kurt Severing."

"Marthe Muller. Are you travelling on an assignment of some sort?"

"Yes. I've just been checking some background details for someone else's article as a favor to my editor. And you? I see by your luggage that this is no small journey."

"I'm from Koln. I'm afraid I've never been to the city before."

"Are you?"

"Excuse me?"

"Afraid. Are you afraid?"

"No. Do I have reason to be?"

"Well, Koln is sizable, but is it a city in the modern sense? Our destination is certainly such a place. I would think a degree of apprehension normal for a first-time visitor. Our friend here...His is one among many factions which clash in the streets with increasing frequency. Communists, socialists, nationalists, democrats, republicans, criminals, beggars, thieves and everything in between. All mixed up together--"

"Are you trying to make me afraid Herr Severing?"

"Of course not. Forgive me. It's easy for me to get carried away, talking about it. I've lived there for some time, you see...I've watched it grow and change immensely in the past ten years...There is more of everything and everything moves faster than ever. Of course, that means there's plenty for a new arrival to be excited about. It is, as many people are fond of saying, second only to Paris as the cultural center of Europe. The theater, the arts--While I've been out of town they've released the first German 'talkie.' Can you imagine? There are something like, I don't know, 3,000 newspapers and magazines published right in the city, so for me..."

"I suppose your discontent must have a lot to do with your profession."

"Don't get me wrong Fraulein Muller; I have many misgivings...There is much about it that troubles me."

CH CH CH CH CH CH CH C

"But in the end, I can call no other place my home." H CH CH CH CH CH ch ch ch ch ch    

 

 

Interpretation:

 

    The sparse, dialogue-based structure of the text does not allow for much description. However, a reader is subtly clued in to certain descriptive facts, the location and gender of the characters are slowly revealed although we are given little to indicate anything about the setting or charcters outside of the discussion. Location is developed through "aboard," and "compartment," semiotic clues--especially to an American audience--that train travel is involved. Once this textual inference has been established, it is possible to reread the "ch" sounds as those of a train engine, although this extrapolation is not necessarily explicit. From the outset one can determine the number of speakers from the exchange of initial greetings; this assumption is verified midway through the conversation when each speaker names his and herself. Once the respective participants have been established, the preponderance of Severing's words becomes clear. His voice dominates in a way that is only undercut by Muller's skepticism of his intentions. Muller's exploration of her artistic objectives is left unresolved. She and the audience are left with Severing's qualitative assessment of her work, before the dialogue shifts to privilege his assessment of the cities. Severing's authority does not go unchallenged within the text, but his overall command of the bulk of the exchange can be seen by comparing word counts. Muller's 167 words go up against Severing's 367 and the composition of these are telling as well. Ten of Muller's 167 words are negations in some form (no, not, don't) and of her 17 lines, five of them begin with either "No" or "Not." Similarly, eight of her lines--including the stand alone question mark--are some form of question. Severing's text is also replete with questions, but not with the same percentage. More of his lines are answers or statements, thus juxtaposing the ruminating, answering male character's speech with the negating, unsure, questioning female.

 

    In speaking about adaptation, it is important to consider comparable narrative units. From the text alone, one would assume that Severing is the focus, as his words carry the weight of the scene. Yet considerations of depiction could alter the interpretation and force one to reevaluate the units of text. By utilizing only the contents of a conversation with little to indicate the narrative of the conversation, many units of signification have been left out. Subtextual information like the positions of the speakers, their appearance, the train and its destination are all obscure, although the text allows us to imagine some of these features. We do not know the genders of the speakers until they introduce themselves halfway through the passage. We do not understand the noise of the train until Kurt mentions his compartment, and we may infer that the original words were sound effects from the train. In terms of the "gutter" in comics, where the imaginative act of narrative continuity is performed, here we have vast gutters, loosely joined by brief exchanges between two people whose orientation and characteristics we have only vague notions of.

 

Experiment notes:

It was very hard to determine exactly what constituted text, with the train sounds occuring as a sort of word-art in the picture. There are moments when the C and H of the train's "CH CH" are cut off by the panel, leaving half a letter. Similarly there is a panel near the end in which the upper case CH morphs into a lower case ch such that the letters are drawn in-between stages. Compared to decisions about "incorporated" text (text that exists as inconography within the imagery), transcribing the "bounded" text (text that is separated from the imagery by an assumed frame or an actual word baloon) proved relatively simple.

 


 

MODEL 2:

 

   2.Text with direction/context:

 

 

Panel 1: A train moves through the countryside

 

Panel 2: Close up on train with train sound

  • Train: ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch

 

Panel 3: Closer view of one train car with train sound

  • Train: CH CH CH CH CH CH CH CH CH

 

Panel 4: Close up to one window, and woman's face within

 

Panel 5: Interior of car, woman seated next to sleeping soldier

 

Panel 6: Shadow of man at the door to the car

 

Panel 7: Man inside car with woman looking at him

 

Panel 8: Woman's face

  • Marthe: "Hello."

 

Panel 9: Man's face

  • Kurt: "Good day."

 

Panel 10: Man placing suitcase into rack, woman watching him

  • Marthe: "Just aboard?"
  • Kurt: "Er...No. Just changing compartments. A disagreement."

 

Panel 11: Man and woman seated facing, soldier sleeping in background

  • Kurt: "My company in the last was quite, uh...lacking."

 

Panel 12: Woman looks at sleeping soldier while man speaks

  • Kurt: "And although I seem unable to escape those of similar persuasion, at least here sleep keeps them at bay."

 

Panel 13: Man and woman seated facing each other in front of window

  • Kurt: "Assuming...I'm sorry, I mean you no offense."
  • Marthe: "No, no, none taken."

 

Panel 14: Man and woman seated facing each other in front of window 

 

Panel 15: Man holding cigarette in profile

  • Kurt: "Would you mind?"

 

Panel 16: Woman's face in profile 

  • Marthe: "Not at all."

 

Panel 17: Man opening train window with sound of train entering car 

  • Kurt: "Let me just--"
  • Train:  ch ch ch ch

 

Panel 18: Man and woman seated facing each other in front of window, man smokes cigarette

  • Train: ch ch ch ch ch

 

Panel 19: Man smoking

  • Kurt: "Do you write?"

 

Panel 20: Woman looking down at pad and pencil

  • Marthe: "? Oh. No. Not in this, I mean. This is for drawing."

 

Panel 21: Man's face

  • Kurt: "An artist! Wonderful! What sorts of things do you draw? Religious scenes and all the rest?"

 

Panel 22: Woman's face

  • Marthe: "No, only what I see. I don't really make things up. I draw things I see, things that strike me."

 

Panel 23: Man's hand

  • Kurt: "May I...?"

 

Panel 24: Woman's hand passing book to man's hand 

  • Marthe: "There's not very much in it; I haven't had it very long."

 

Panel 25: Man's hands holding book

  • Kurt: "I thought it was a writing tablet. You draw on ruled paper?"

 

Panel 26: Man's hands holding book

  • Marthe: "Yes. My diary is a sketchbook, it's blank. I like it that way."

 

Panel 27: Man's hand opening book

  • Marthe: "I'm not sure why."

 

Panel 28: Images in sketchbook

 

Panel 29: Man's hand flipping through sketchbook

  • Marthe: "They are nothing, really. I mean..."

 

Panel 30: Woman's face

  • Marthe: "They are something. The people. But in there it's just for practice. I don't feel too strongly about any of it. Just trying to record what I see."

 

Panel 31: Man smoking a cigarette in profile

  • Kurt: "Yes? Me too."

 

Panel 32: Woman's face in profile

  • Marthe: "You draw?"

 

Panel 33: Man smoking a cigarette

  • Kurt: "Ha ha, no. I try to do it with words. I write."

 

Panel 34: Man and woman seated facing each other in front of window

  • Marthe: "Novelist?"
  • Kurt: "Journalist."

 

Panel 35: Man and woman seated facing each other in front of window

 

Panel 36: Man's hand with cigarette holding sketchbook open

  • Kurt: "Less eloquent in my choice of language, however. These are really quite excellent."

 

Panel 37: Woman's face

  • Marthe: "That's very kind of you, Herr...?"

 

Panel 38: Man and woman seated facing each other in front of window, man handing sketchbook back to woman

  • Kurt: "I'm sorry, how rude of me. Severing. Kurt Severing."
  • Marthe: "Marthe Muller. Are you travelling on an assignment of some sort?"

 

Panel 39: Man smoking a cigarette

  • Kurt: "Yes. I've just been checking some background details for someone else's article as a favor to my editor."

 

Panel 40: Woman looking up at luggage rack

  • Kurt:  "And you? I see by your luggage that this is no small journey."

 

Panel 41: Woman facing man smoking cigarette

  • Marthe: "I'm from Koln. I'm afraid I've never been to the city before."
  • Kurt: "Are you?"

 

Panel 42: Woman's face in profile

  • Marthe: "Excuse me?"

 

Panel 43: Man smoking a cigarette in profile

  • Kurt: "Afraid. Are you afraid?"

 

Panel 44: Close up of woman's eye and head in profile, superimposed image of soldier's back in front of her head

 

Panel 45: Woman's face in profile

  • Marthe: "No. Do I have reason to be?"

 

Panel 46: Close up of man's face

  • Kurt: "Well, Koln is sizable, but is it a city in the modern sense? Our destination is certainly such a place. I would think a degree of apprehension normal for a first-time visitor."

 

Panel 47: Man's hand gesturing to sleeping soldier

  • Kurt: "Our friend here...His is one among many factions which clash in the streets with increasing frequency."

 

Panel 48: Man smoking a cigarette

  • Kurt: "Communists, socialists, nationalists, democrats, republicans, criminals, beggars, thieves and everything in between. All mixed up together--

 

Panel 49: Woman's face

  • Marthe: "Are you trying to make me afraid Herr Severing?"

 

Panel 50: Man's face

 

Panel 51: Woman and man facing each other with sleeping soldier in background

  • Kurt: "Of course not. Forgive me. It's easy for me to get carried away, talking about it."

 

Panel 52: Man smoking a cigarette in profile

  • Kurt: "I've lived there for some time, you see...I've watched it grow and change immensely in the past ten years...There is more of everything and everything moves faster than ever."

 

Panel 53: Woman's face in profile

  • Kurt: "Of course, that means there's plenty for a new arrival to be excited about. It is, as many people are fond of saying, second only to Paris as the cultural center of Europe."

 

Panel 54: Man's face in profile

  • Kurt: "The theater, the arts--While I've been out of town they've released the first German 'talkie.' Can you imagine?"

 

Panel 55: Man's face

  • Kurt: "There are something like, I don't know, 3,000 newspapers and magazines published right in the city, so for me..."

 

Panel 56: Woman's face

  • Marthe: "I suppose your discontent must have a lot to do with your profession."

 

Panel 57: Man smoking a cigarette

  • Kurt: "Don't get me wrong Fraulein Muller; I have many misgivings..."

 

Panel 58: Exterior of train window with woman and man sitting inside facing each other

  • Kurt: "There is much about it that troubles me."
  • Train: CH CH CH CH CH CH CH C

 

Panel 59: Train moving away

  • Kurt: "But in the end, I can call no other place my home."
  • Train: H CH CH CH CH CH ch ch ch ch ch     

 

 

Interpretation:

 

    Utilizing a textual model that is closer to a script, this version provides new possibilities for evaluation. Although scenes referencing Kurt's character outnumber those of Marthe (35 to 29), the reader is aware that the entire episode begins with a close-up on Marthe, making her character the opening reference point for the story. One interesting aspect of this model is the repetition in panels, often the content creates patterns or echoes that serve to frame or resonate within the narrative. Panels 42 and 45 frame the tension of the exchange to designate Marthe's as the perspective from which the discussion is gauged.  

    Lacking from this model is the fluidity which the page and panel lend to the narrative. It is harder to construct a unified sequence of mental images from the disjointed descriptions that seem to lack the same level of cohesion. In this way the reader is forced to make even greater cognitive leaps in their interpretation, but many of the visual cues regarding tone, characterization and action are lost.

 

Experiment Notes:

 

This version of transcription proved impossible to perform with any sense of objectivity. As I was trying to figure out which were the key elements of any panel, I tried to employ a filmic gaze, using direction and framing to establish what the key description should be. For every panel there is so much more detail than could be summed up in a one-line shot analysis. Looking over it now, I am struck by the times that I left out characters or objects from a panel decription for the sake of focus. Panel 6, which I describe as, "Panel 6: Shadow of man at the door to the car," actually involves three characters. Our field research on this specific panel provides a very good idea of how much variability exists in every attempt to represent the image in words: Berlin field research.

 

 

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