For our final assignment, Emma and I will be analyzing a scene that occurs in chapter 27 of Americanah. We decided that a comic strip would best to convey our message, as it could present a back-and-forth approach between characters. It will be able to show different viewpoints and can engage a multitude of audiences.

The inspiration for this scene comes from wanting to draw more attention to the social stigma that surrounds refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers in the country that they are trying to relocate to. The anxiety they feel and the emotional trauma that they experience as they assimilate, as well as wanting to feel comfort that they are seen and heard in their new country, rather than just be invisible. Specifically, in chapter 27, Obinze reads only American newspapers and magazines, instead of British ones that were focusing on issues revolving around immigration. Later, Obinze encounters a woman on a train reading a newspaper about immigrants, which causes Obinze to feel lonely, as well as made him recognize that those who are natively from the United Kingdom can deny their hand in colonization. Our assignment will follow a similar path by showing the viewpoint of someone trying to obtain citizenship. It will also show the viewpoint of someone who was born in the United Kingdom and their career as an immigration officer. There will be dialogue between the two characters are they attempt to navigate this complex interaction. Different avenues will be explored, such as personal feelings, immigration laws in the country, social stigma, priviledge, and anxiety. A source we can use, although it is based on immigration in the United States and Mexico, is the academic journal, “Felons, not Families”: Criminalized illegality, stigma, and membership of deported “criminal aliens,” by Heidy Sarabia. This journal outlines U.S. immigration in the 1990s as they deported “criminal aliens,” and the affect this approach has had on effectively criminalizing these individuals which creates “consequences for their identity,” (Sarabia 284). While this source is not ideal, it goes in-depth on the issues that deportation and citizenship have on the identity of an individual, as well as their “reputation” that can develop due to the language used in the media to describe them.

Sarabia, Heidy. “Felons, Not Families”: Criminalized Illegality, Stigma, and Membership of Deported “criminal Aliens.” Migration Letters, vol. 15, no. 2, Apr. 2018, pp. 284–300. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=129478304&site=eds-live&scope=site.

6 thoughts on “Pitch”

  1. I think you chose the perfect medium to display your scene, since it can be a visual to show body language but also show dialogue. Some specific suggestions I have include:
    -Make sure you keep the immigration officer as naive & oblivious to immigrant obstacles/problems as possible to prove Obinze’s point
    -I know it is difficult with the program you are doing, but try and portray body language as well as possible. (Examples would be make the immigration officer taller & bigger than the immigrant (as a portrayal of “power”), leave space between them talking (to show that they aren’t used to being together))
    -Include very powerful dialogue since you don’t have much room to write what they are saying. Use strong words!

    Overall, I think this is a great idea and I think you have a solid plan!

  2. I really like that you are focusing on the UK side since it seems like a lot of groups are doing more scenes from the American side of the story. Something to think about, is how you are going to jump scenes well from the train to the officer or what you decide to do. That will be important to connect the two scenes.

  3. I think your decision to portray this concept through the comic strip is a really good idea on your groups’ part, especially since there is going to be some back and forth with dialogue. One idea to think about, however, is to make sure you really hone in on the emotional side and really connect with the audience using impactful dialogue.

  4. This is such a creative idea! I think this story should definitely carry a very anxious tone as that is a part of the immigrant story you are trying to display. I think a mix of fast and slow paced story lines throughout the comic will assist in creating a dynamic and attention grabbing story that exemplifies the immigrant experience.

  5. Hello,

    The storyboard idea of portraying one in the process of obtaining citizenship was a great take. At the end of your storyboard it would be awesome if you included resources for those going through the process and tips as well.

  6. It’s great that you are focusing on Obinze and the UK as most of the projects aren’t, the topic itself is interesting too! Is the whole of the comic going to be on the train? If so you may want to play with the images in the windows and the people around the main characters so as to keep it more visually interesting.

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