1.3 Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

Graphic Novel

Below, you will read a graphic novel. This graphic novel is a myth about how the Greek god Prometheus gave fire to human beings. The story is told on two pages. You should read each panel on the page from left to right, starting at the top. Click below to link to the graphic novel.

Now let’s analyze how the pictures and the words work together to help us understand the meaning, tone, and beauty of the story.

Meaning
Take a look at the first two panels. Panel 1 on the top of the page tells who Prometheus is and shows what he looks like. Panel 2 tells who Zeus is and what he looks like. It also shows a conversation between Prometheus and Zeus. Are Prometheus and Zeus alike or different?

Prometheus Zeus
Panel 1 picture shows that he is smiling and has a friendly expression. Panel 2 picture shows that he is not smiling and has a cruel expression.
Panel 1 text box tells that he is strong and smart. Panel 2 picture shows that he wearing a crown, a symbol of power. He is clenching his fist angrily.
Panel 2 picture shows that he is very worried about the humans. Panel 2 text box tells that he doesn’t want humans to have any power.
Panel 2 speech bubbles indicate that he is telling Zeus how the humans need fire to cook and stay warm. Panel 2 speech bubble indicates that he is telling Prometheus never to give humans fire.

From the interaction between the pictures and the words, we can tell that Prometheus and Zeus are very different characters. Prometheus is kind and feels pity for the humans. Zeus is cruel and has no sympathy for them.

  • The text boxes and the pictures work together to tell the story. They tell and show who the characters are and what events are happening. Sometimes the text boxes also advance the story’s plot by providing additional information.
  • The speech bubbles and the pictures also work together to tell the story. The speech bubbles contain the characters’ dialogue. Each one points to the character in the picture who is speaking. If a word appears in all capital letters, it means that this word is spoken very forcefully. For example, Zeus tells Prometheus NEVER to give fire to humans.

Tone
Now let’s see how the pictures and words work together to help us understand the author’s tone, or attitude toward Prometheus’s behavior. Is the author sympathetic or unsympathetic toward Prometheus?

Sympathetic toward Prometheus Unsympathetic toward Prometheus
Panel 3 text box tells that Prometheus sees people suffering. Panel 1 text box tells that some think he is a troublemaker.
Panel 3 picture shows the people crying and shivering while Prometheus looks on. Panel 2 speech bubble indicates that Zeus is telling Prometheus never to give fire to humans. Prometheus was warned and did not listen.
Panel 3 thought bubble indicates that Prometheus thinks he has to help.  
Panel 5 speech bubble indicates that the people are telling Prometheus that he saved them.  
Panel 5 picture shows the people smiling and happy. Some are carrying Prometheus on their shoulders.  
Panel 7 text box tells that Zeus chained Prometheus to a rock.  
Panel 7 speech bubble indicates that Zeus is telling Prometheus to suffer for all time.  
Panel 7 speech bubble indicates that Prometheus is crying, “Nooo!”  
Panel 7 text box tells and picture shows that an eagle swoops down and attacks Prometheus.  

From the interaction between the pictures and the words, we can tell that the author is sympathetic to Prometheus’s behavior. Prometheus disobeys Zeus’s command because he feels sorry for the people and wants to help them. The punishment he receives for disobeying, especially when his intentions were good, is very harsh. The author seems to agree with the people that Prometheus is a hero.

Beauty
Now let’s see how the pictures and words work together to help us understand the story’s beauty.

Panel 4 tells and shows how Prometheus climbs to the top of a mountain and lights a torch from the sun’s fire. This is a very noble and majestic act. In Panel 5, we see what a difference this makes to the people. The people are laughing and happy instead of miserable and shivering, as they are in Panel 3. The last two panels tell and show how much Prometheus suffers for the action of giving people heat and light. The sacrifice Prometheus makes for others is what gives this story its beauty.

Click below to Practice showing how the pictures and the words work together to create meaning, tone, and beauty in a graphic novel.

After you practice, click to return to the Main Page. Then click the link to learn about multimedia presentations.