Comic books and the experience of self-fulfillment: A study with high school students

by Ayala Garcia, Patricia, Ed.D., TEACHERS COLLEGE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, 2009, 274 pages; 3348569


This dissertation investigates adolescents who enjoy drawing comics in an after-school comic book club. The emphasis was on the experiences of eight adolescents and how they attained self-fulfillment through the creation of comic books. Fundamental to the research plan was an examination of the relation between the adolescent development of the "self" and their experience of self-fulfillment through artistic creation. It was argued that the ways in which the participants utilized and developed comic books, influenced their achievement of self-fulfillment and consequently their development of self.

The qualitative research design of this study followed three methods of data collection: observations, semi-structured interviews, and visual analysis of documents. Eight participants were selected through a purposeful sampling technique. Constant comparison analysis was utilized in the study as a tool for discovering new patterns throughout the examination of the data.

The results of this research suggested that identity formation during adolescence takes elements from every aspect of the adolescent surrounding world, and in the case of the participants some of these elements were related to their readings and creations of comic books. Through the creation of comics, the participants were able to acknowledge traits of their personalities, their desires to learn, and their ideas on how to improve their talents. They also verbalized many clues to understand the influence of comic books in their lives.

As a main conclusion of this study, it is suggested that the participants ideas of becoming artists were indeed a thought decision rooted on their aspirations, on the self-knowledge about their capacities, and on their experiences creating comics books. Every step of the creative process of the participants was related to the awareness of their dreams or to the knowledge about their skills. The balance between the participants' aspirations and capacities contributed to their attachment of self-fulfillment. The comic book club they attended was a place that was perceived as a positive context for the participants' free practice of their artistic endeavors.

AdviserJudith M. Burton
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsArt education; Secondary education
Publication Number3348569

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