While Superman was more fantastical, Deogratias can be considered another progressive step in depicting realism and strife within the pages of graphic novels. This graphic novel reveals the life of Deogratias, a Hutu in Rwanda, and how the genocide affected his life. In the present, Deogratias is a broken man teetering on the brink of sanity, addicted to the alcohol and virtually soulless. Through a series of flashbacks, Deogratias remembers how he and his two Tutsi childhood friends became enwrapped in the events that dominated Rwanda in As violence strikes out, Deogratias must decide where he stands, or he and his friends will suffer the same fate.
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As we see in the above panel, Deogratias, a Hutu participant in the genocide, is victimized as he is plagued by the memory of his barbaric acts. Historically, as the Rwandan government attempted to make reconciliation possible, many survivors find it difficult to live in such close proximity to the people that slaughtered their loved ones. The world asks itself, is reconciliation possible after the horrors of ? Stassen seems to imply that the relationships after the genocide are complex.
While many of the people still harbor bitter feelings in their hearts, some people avenge their friends and family. Deogratias is no exception. Similarly, Stassen appears to use poisoned urwagwa as a symbol of distrust in Deogratias.
He recognizes the atrocity of his actions, and alcoholism is the only way he can cope with the post-traumatic stress illustrated in this panel. Perhaps living among the perpetrators is just as responsible for making Deogratias mad as the actual genocide itself, which is why he isolates himself from humanity when it gets dark.
Deogratias feels like the perpetratorsincluding himselfmust be punished. The urwagwa and revenge killings demonstrate that perhaps reconciliation cannot be achieved so easily.
The forced reconciliation imposed on Rwandans, the effects of which are depicted in the video clip below, operates on a national level. The survivors have accepted their losses, but there is still tension in their relationships with their neighbors. Beatrice, like Deogratias, cannot forgive someone with no remorse. Mathias and Pastor Gahigi, however, are able to form a seemingly peaceful relationship.
Mathias felt great remorse for participating in the genocide, and he comments on the inhumanity of his actions. As a participant, Deogratias feels the same guilt that makes him feel like an animal and transform into a dog in the illustrations. One of the difficulties when approaching the Rwandan genocide is how to appropriately represent the events that took place. A common way to address issues such as this one is through artistic representation.
Visual artists who have attempted to explore the Rwandan genocide have produced some interesting work, but the question is who the work is meant to be viewed by. The most well known, The Preacher contains Christian themes.
The bright color palette and the rough style in which the image was painted speak to the violence and horror of genocide; they express more than could ever be said with words.
The colors used by Gittoes are similar to those used by Stassen in Deogratias, and like Gittoes, Stassen often uses frames with little to no wording to express feeling such as in the last page of the novel.
The Preacher by George Gittoes Conceptual art has also been utilized quite effectively to speak about Rwanda. Signs of Life from The Rwanda Project by Alfredo Jarr By far the most visible art form for addressing the genocide has been documentary photography.
Many photographers, such as Gilles Peress, travelled to the country in the immediate aftermath of the genocide in order to document the tragedy. They paint a picture of a nation in Chaos and have not necessarily achieved the ends the photographers had in mind.
The work of many photojournalists, rather than enacting political change, has instead been used as a tool to memorialize the genocide in an attempt to bury it. These memorials put on a false front which suggests that we have learned from the events of Rwanda, when in actuality, violent atrocities are still occurring in Africa and around the world.
The Judgement by Gilles Peress What is striking about Deogratias is its disavowal of both restrained and intense styles, instead offering cartoony visuals apparently discordant with the grave subject matter.
This is in part because it remains undetermined whether fictional literature even has a role in understanding either the execution or aftermath of genocide Applegate Those directly affected by genocide take precedence in determining what an appropriate treatment of it would be. Despite this potential bond, when considering the horror of Rwanda artists and writers, both native and foreign, have voiced their dismay at approaching what appears to be an irreducibly complex occurrence Applegate As regards the author of Deogratias, Jean-Phillipe Stassen, his nationality is of particular interest, given the uneasy relationship of Rwanda to the western world—the genocide was essentially marginalized during its execution, only to gain still growing infamy after its conclusion Kersten 94, Applegate Some factions in literary studies have pursued an accurate rendering of the Rwandan Genocide, criticizing overtly subjective accounts.
This pursuit of a stable absolute reality, which, as Applegate points out, has no philosophical basis, seems to ensure that no single work of literature will ever provide a satisfactory narrative Still others assert that narratives which avoid the depiction of Hutu perpetrators as absolute villains are an affront to the many surviving victims of the genocide Applegate Not all literature abstains from a clear political or moral message.
In fact, literary works dealing with the Rwandan Genocide have frequently been commissioned and executed under a pretense of instruction Kersten Despite the premise of a moral actuality in these works, reality yields to fiction, as the reader is provided with what might have happened Kersten
Deogratias, a Tale of Rwanda
Shelves: comic-or-graphic-novel , netgalley , arc , possess , beat-the-backlist Originally, I requested this on NetGalley to read, but the PDF expired before I could get to it. The Rwandan genocide "lasted days and took , lives. I hate to say this, but I was disappointed with the overall story. I felt like it really set the tone for the story, while also conveying the severity of the situation. I think this story needs to be told by those who were there and experienced what happened firsthand, or at least by someone who was affected by what happened. It seems like Stassen told his version of events through a character that he himself is unable to relate to. Speaking of perspective, the main character was an unreliable narrator.
Deogratias and the Representation of the Rwandan Genocide
Publication history[ edit ] The book was published in French in by Dupuis and has appeared in a number of different translations. Plot summary[ edit ] The story takes place before, during, and after the genocide in Rwanda ; told through parallel storylines. It follows Deogratias, a Hutu teenager who has been unstable ever since his two Tutsi friends died in the genocide. The story begins after the genocide.
Deogratias A Tale of Rwanda GN #1-REP NM 2006 Stock Image
Tina L. Hefty Summary Deogratias documents the story of a young man tragically affected by the Rwandan genocide, which resulted in the brutal murder of , people in a few short months. Deogratias is a young man of Hutu ethnicity. What exactly happened to him before and after the genocide is slowly revealed through an oscillating series of flashbacks and present-day revelations. By the end of the tale, we learn that Deogratias was once a typical, hormone-driven kid. He had a crush on a Tutsi girl named Apollinaria. When she rejects his advances, he pursues her sister, Benina.