The graphic novel Vietnamerica (2010) by GB Tran depicts tones, sounds, and emotions not only through the text itself, but also through different color schemes of pages in certain scenarios, along with different fonts throughout the text which convey different sensory emotions. One of the stronger techniques would be Tran’s use of fonts, that the trained eye is not used to reading.
For example in one chapter of the text Tran had used fonts that looked as if they were erased and squished which made it difficult to comprehend. This technique helped readers to feel the emotions Tran was trying to evoke for relationships between characters within the scenes that were meant to be confusing, chaotic, and disconnected. An example of this technique within the text would be when a character named Tri attempts to eavesdrop on another persons conversation, the font of this scene had looked like parts of the words were erased. By doing this Tran makes it hard for the reader to understand what Tri is hearing, but at the same time the text was clear enough for the reader to piece together ultimately what Tri hears. This technique establishes a sense of confusion throughout the scene because of the breaks in the text, causing the reader to become puzzled by what they are reading; just as how Tri has trouble understanding what the person in the distance was saying.
Tran’s use of different fonts throughout the text is a fun and creative way of keeping readers engaged. The different fonts cause readers to figure out what words they are reading by making the the text itself a bit challenging to read, while also establishing emotions, speeds of conversations, distances between characters and helping readers to interpret how the characters sensory emotions such as hearing are reacting within that scene of the text.
Tran, Gia Bao. Vietnamerica. New York, Villard Books, 2010.
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