Imagination and Meaning in Calvin and Hobbes


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About the Book

From 1985 to 1995, the syndicated comic strip Calvin and Hobbes followed the antics of a precocious six-year-old boy and his sardonic stuffed tiger. At the height of its popularity, the strip ran in more than 2,400 newspapers and generated a fan base that continues to run in the millions. This critical analysis of Calvin and Hobbes explores Calvin’s world and its deep reservoir of meanings. Close readings of individual strips highlight the profundity of Calvin’s world with respect to a number of life’s big questions, including the things that one values, friendship, God, death, and other struggles in life. By engaging with Calvin and Hobbes as more than “just” a comic strip, this work demonstrates how the imagination remains an invaluable resource for making sense of the world. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Jamey Heit is the co-founder and CEO of Essay Assay, Inc., an automated assessment company. An active researcher and writer in cultural studies, he teaches humanities courses online at Walden University.

Bibliographic Details

Jamey Heit
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 220
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6354-1
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9031-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi
Introduction      1

1. One Final Sledride: The Imagination’s Endless Freedom      9
2. When Dinosaurs Fly: Creative Spaces in Calvin and Hobbes      32
3. Stuck on the Sidewalk: Understanding the Human Condition      52
4. Irony: The Real World’s Uncomfortable Lesson      76
5. When Roses Smell Like Flowers: The Individual’s Relative Value      96
6. True Value: The Friendship of Calvin and Hobbes      121
7. What If God Is a Chicken? Exploring Life’s Big Questions      143

Conclusion      169
Chapter Notes      181
Bibliography      205
Index      211

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Such pleasure for we dedicated fans…will prove to be a popular addition to any library collection…recommended”—Midwest Book Review
  • “Very solid and straightforward”—Fanboy Comics
  • “Heit offers a critical intertextual look at the beloved comic strip and the profound topics contained within this scholarly work”—Reference & Research Book News