All I wanted to do was sit in the corner and draw”- David Small
Stitches is the story of David Small dealing with his difficult, negligent family and enduring an illness he didn’t understand. David Small grew up in Detroit and was often extremely sick as a child and so his father would run many x-rays and give him unnecessary medication and shots. Readers later learn that this was the cause of Small’s illness. At the age of 11, a growth was spotted on Small’s neck. David Small’s parents continue to blame and criticize him instead of caring for him during his difficult and painful illness. His surgery was put off until three years later, due to “financial” troubles. Small finally went into surgery at the age of 14 but learned that he would need another surgery to remove the growth. He woke up from the second surgery in disbelief when he was unable to speak due to his vocal cord and thyroid being removed. Small later learns that his surgeries were due to cancer that neither one of his parents informed him about.
Stitches by David Small gives Small a voice when he literally loses his voice. David Small learns to express himself through his illustrations. Small began drawing at a young age. Throughout this novel it is clear that whenever faced with adversary, Small would seek refuge in his illustration. His drawings gave him an escape from the hardships of his illness and horrific family.
The above image literally depicts Small escaping into this piece of paper. David Small was outside pretending to be Alice from Alice and Wonderland because he was fascinated with this fantasy world. Kids began to harass and bully him, Small ran home and sought refuge in his art. The first image shows Small crouched down after that upsetting incident took place. Small then begins to delve into the sheet of paper, until he is fully engulfed. This image represents that through pen and paper, Small was able to getaway from the reality of that difficult situation. The pen and paper became his medium to heal and escape, not only from the bullying but from the hardship of his illness.
I wanted to tell the story of our family and how the illness of my brother changed our family. Our life was different. We were a normal family in the 60s in France and this illness changed our lives”- David B.
Epileptic shadows the inner thoughts of David B. named Pierre-François Beauchard as a young child growing up with his older brother’s epilepsy. Majority of this graphic novel follows David and his family around Europe in search of a cure for Jean Christophe’s epilepsy. Jean Christophe’s family exhausts their efforts in order to put Christophe’s misery to an end. Yet they are unable to find a cure. They continue to endure many scams, and hardships along the way, but do not give up. Through this journey, readers witness the fall of Jean Christophe as his seizures become more severe and violent. The inner most personal thoughts and dreams of David are visible to readers while he deals with his brother’s illness. David begins drawing at a young age and majority of his illustrations depict warfare and combat. David’s drawings become an alternate reality for him and become his shield and armor in dealing with and making meaning of the reality of his brother’s epilepsy.
The above image depicts David as he got older filling his time with drawing. He writes “I had to draw and write constantly in order to prevent my brother’s disease from reaching me” (276). This image represents most of David’s childhood, which also consisted of drawing and writing stories. He found an escape through this medium. Through his drawings he tried to prevent the hardship of his brother’s epilepsy from getting to him. He did not want to be affected and so he also sought refuge in his drawings.