How you think the graphic format contributes to your understanding of one family that includes a person on the autism spectrum in The Ride Together?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Paul and Judy Karasik use a graphic format in The Ride Together to convey the emotions and perceptions of people in the family, particularly David, the brother with autism. For example, in the top graphic on page 15, Paul Karasik represents the way in which David sees the world. The man on TV is coming toward David, almost as if the man were three dimensional, and David's mother's hand is looming large behind him.  This graphic represents the way in which the real world is distorted in David's mind. In the bottom graphic on page 15, David is shown looking at an oversized clock that is ticking while he is surrounded in black. This graphic shows the concentrated way in which David is fascinated by certain objects, such as the clock, while blocking out everything around him.

The graphic format also shows the reactions of the family members to David in a very clear and affecting way. On page 45, there is a graphic in which the father of the family knocks over David after David attacks the mother. The picture is very large, showing the action of the chair breaking as the father tries to stop David. This graphic makes it clear that the father has understandably lost his temper, resulting in this accident. It shows the physical and emotional reality of what a night at the Karasiks' house is like. On the page before, 44, Paul Karasik draws a bubble that includes all the stimuli that are affecting David, including random names and words that are coming to his mind and clapping sounds. This graphic shows why David is about to explode, as he is pushed over the edge by too many internal stimuli. These graphics show in a poignant and empathic way the perceptions and sensations of a person with autism and the reactions of the people around him. 

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The Ride Together

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