Blankets is a novel by Graig Thompson, published in 2003. It is a beautiful graphic novel which shows his autobiography while growing up in the strict confines of fundamental, evangelical Christianity in Wisconsin. Dreams, Eros and caves are central motifs of Thompson’s novel. His story indeed turns a hinge when he retells of Plato’s allegory of the cave. A dream of Plato’s cave provides an impetus to discard a religious version that proved alienating. The journey toward another cave, allows creatively for retrieval of religion later in the story. Blankets is a two- dimensional story of Craig’s relationships; with his gentle younger brother, born again-Christian parents and his girlfriend Reina. It also tells about Reina’s family and his faith to a large extent. Blankets is loosely a story of Craig’s beliefs and experiences encountered in his life. Blankets is about a person struggling with adulthood, discovering the art of what love, and finding faith amidst real life. This paper seeks to establish the relevance the title to the story recounted in the novel.
A blanket is a warm, thick cover used to keep warm in bed. Blanket means thick layer of something covering an area like snow or fog, it can also mean aiming at someone or something equally. Blanket can also mean something making it difficult for someone to progress or get information. A blanket is associated with many godly things like warm, safe and comfort. The title blanket and repetitive use of it, is very symbolic in the novel. The title Blanket is symbolic in that it symbolizes Craig’s relationship throughout the novel. It symbolizes his relationship with Reina, who gives him a blanket and keeps it even after they fell apart. They used the blanket to wrap themselves while talking, in most of their times. It symbolizes Craig after and before the relationship. Reina made the blanket’s every single patch with Craig in mind, and the blanket therefore, represents a teenage version of Craig. When he started to grow and change, he leaves his old self behind. When the patterns were intact, shows love was new and the patterns fades away so does his love for Reina. It also shows the process of growth and maturity from one stage of life to another as time passes. Page 553 and 553 clearly shows his growth, as he breaks away from his parents and starts a new life. He notices new girls and new things as the designs float away from him. The designs seem to be floating away from him as he forgets about Reina. It symbolizes the purpose the blanket was made for; to keep them warm, during their relationship despite their love fading away gradually.
Reina provided warmth to Craig during their relationship. She is a symbol of a blanket which provides warmth, protection and comfort to Craig. When Craig slept with Reina for the first time, the feelings of fear associated with religion were gradually pushed away. Reina on the other hand felt like she appeared before him with a group of angels; this shows a feeling of comfort and peace. Craig is unhappy with home, his father was abusive, and the mother was blinded by Christianity to the extent of not seeing her children’s suffering. His home does not seem to provide him with warmth and comfort like a blanket does. The fact that Craig and his brother fights over blankets symbolizes their struggle as they grow up together. The blanket is therefore used as a rejuvenation of social isolation. Craig undergoes suffering and isolation, hence not feeling any warmth from his family. He feels lots of shame about his body as a boy, however, after meeting Raina this fact do change. He is also troubled with the relationship with the evangelical community, and even more how his mother was blinded by Christianity.
At the end of the novel, Craig wraps himself with the blanket; this symbolizes enfolding himself with projections of his divine narrative. When he rediscovers Reina’s blanket, it symbolizes the things he had dismissed and forgotten. It acts a decent back into the cave. This enables him to rediscover both renewed sense of divine and erotic
When the sun of adult life melts away the yearning of his teenage hood, Craig surveys the landscape around him. Accessible places through the winter and snow had now become inaccessible by thorns and brambles. These were blankets that he could access, but now he finds the world disjointed. The blankets he used to share with his brother and Reina are the blankets of snow which were now inaccessible. He also wondered about the kind of feelings he experienced with Reina. The blanket is an appropriate title because it shows Craig’s experiences through different forms of blankets.
The blanket found in the cave also symbolizes erotic passion and raw desire. The blanket represents the blanket of Reina and the blanket of snow. This allowed the world to connect meaningfully for Craig and, where he found deep sense connection. This connection he felt while sharing his blanket with Phil and Reina.
The blanket in the book is important as the title and in narration because it is represents graphic images in the book, hence helps Thompson in effectively passing his message. Blankets create graphic image and creates the comic essence in the story which helps the reader to experience a transcendence of a contrast of the same way as the characters in the story.
Craig sees evangelism negatively, because it affected him. He sees evangelism as the cause of his suffering, and prevented him from preventing his brother’s abuse and his own abuse. It led to a feeling of guilt because he was unable to prevent their abuse. Evangelism is a blanket, which prevents him from doing the things he intended, or should have done. Craig sees Christianity as source of division rather than enhancing organic entity. The blanket is also an emotional burden which prevents him from moving on because of the guilt he felt, this is evident in the text when he failed to protect himself and his brother from being sexually abused. He shows desperate attempts in trying to avoid the suffering evangelical upbringing brought to him. With self- effacing honesty and pain, he tells the reader my other get away car from life was drawing, where his brother accompanied him to the hotel. Although his brother did not share the escapist approach, drawing was a means of spending time with him and connecting with him. And also said that it was the only time in his childhood that he felt life was worthwhile or scares. This shows that at some point, his brother gave him comfort and warmth, just like a blanket.
The arts are a form of escapism, from the evangelical belief and their pain. The arts act as a blanket in this case, to cover up for Craig’s suffering and pain, giving him warmth and comfort at some point. He uses art as a means of communication, and as a means of bonding with Phil. He is desperate to connect to the wider world other than by means of evangelism; although he is blanketed by many things around him. The art becomes sacred to him, although the Bible had a higher calling to him; so he suppresses arts instincts in favor of the churches’. The art also blanketed him from progressing in his bible studies. He felt like he wasted God’s time in escapism, therefore, the art blanketed him from serving God as he perused selfish and secular worldly pursuits.
In page 565 Thompson’s drawing shows Jesus facing the reader, his eyes are closed and he is depicted facing upwards, as he speaks Luke’s. His hands are also loosely attached to his chest. When individuals looks at him it seems branches spiral form his chest to theirs. This image is drawn by Craig after his third discovery of the bible, and a man asks when the kingdom of God is coming. He thinks he can find the answer in Luke, and the image is a symbol of his renewed faith after stumbling on the bible for the third time; which seems to create a trinity. According to Luke and Jesus the kingdom of God is invisible, the image represents that the kingdom of God is among individuals with spiraling branches connected to Jesus. This means that the kingdom of God is not discernible although, it can be understood, and experienced by men amongst and within them. The image shows his revelation that God in him; therefore he emits godliness like warmth under a blanket. The drawing symbolizes Craig’s growth, as he is taken aback because at the same time he stumbles upon Reina’s blanket. The drawing takes the reader aback and in the blanket shows Craig’s maturity form his teenage life and spiritually.
Thompson’s images here convey Eros and religion, the images covey gradual melting of snow into winter and summer. This shows childhood constructions fade with Reina so as his belief in God; for some rudimentary bible study that his faith structure cannot sustain. He is self- conscious and packs his bible aside to ensure that he leaves his childhood faith aside. He creates a harsh light that enables him to discern the new found light of adult enlightenment; this harsh light is created when he burns everything that Reina ever gave to him. Craig seems to welcome a new form of enlightenment despite the feeling that he has lost something he cannot quite explain. The sun of adult life melts the snowy blankets of adolescent yearning.
The title blanket is appropriate for the book. The author tries to take the readers through Craig’s life using different forms of blanket. He successfully uses comic graphics to tell about the ups and downs of Craig. He constantly uses blanket to show Craig’s growth from his teenage life to maturity. Different blankets successfully show different stages in Thompson’s life.