Why Likewise?

When considering titles of books, sometimes they are understandably linked to the content of the book, or will even give you an idea of what you’re about to read before even reading. Other times, the title seems so far-fetched from what you’re reading that you really wonder why it’s been given the title.

For likewise, the story can be explained quite easily: Ariel was at work at the Berkley Cinema, and as she was working her comic, writing about attending a party with Darrek, she decided to write a poem. She wrote the word “elsewhere” as the ending, which then got her to consider other words she uses often. After thinking, she wrote down “likewise”. She then circled that word many times and said to herself, “this is a moment of glory!” (Schrag, 2009, p. 292-293). This was an important realization for Ariel.



Hella vs. Hell of

Throughout the book, Schrag uses the term hella interchangeably with “hell of”. These words are used consistently though the book, which is why this is worth noting. Both terms are used synonymously with a lot or really. When clicking on the word, you are able to see the urban dictionary definition of hella.


Ariel’s Firsts


In this interview, Ariel shares why she decided to share so much about her life, and why she was so graphic, and not even just in her Likewise book but also in her other books. She wanted to share her experiences of her firsts, such as her first time doing sexual things, her first time getting drunk and doing drugs. Even at 35, her thoughts towards her comic series is not regretful – she is proud of what she wrote. She explains how she doesn’t regret writing about her experiences, because she wanted to share everything. It was exciting as a teenager for her, and this was her outlet to share her experiences and to see how people would respond to her firsts of her life.


Likewise in cultural context

Towards the beginning of the book, Ariel and her friend Harriet were walking to their friend’s house and began talking about “It”. Once they got to their friend’s house, the large group of friends continued to discuss “It”. “It” is a definition that is almost synonymous to cool or interesting. The friends continue by listing traits of It and who possibly has It (Schrag, 2009, p. 22-36). Throughout the book, Ariel talks about events where she encounters people or things that she (or even Sally) would consider It. This term that Ariel and her friends created influenced Ariel’s perspective.


An Interview with Ariel


This interview with After Ellen and Ariel discusses Ariel’s family, her autobiographical comics, and the current works that she had been working on. When discussing her family, Ariel responded that she was able to come out to her parents through her comics, and that, in some way, made her parents understand what she had been going through. She said that her dad had no idea that it was this hard for her, but she was able to express through her comics, in a way that she could control, what she was feeling and how she was experiencing it. She goes on to discuss that when she looks back on her comics later in life, she doesn’t “cringe” at them, but she knows what she was getting herself into, the the vision she wanted to execute came out perfectly


Likewise in historical context

Likewise was written between June 1998 and August 1999: gay rights were certainly different compared to now. Although there were many more openly gay men and women than the years previously, the LGBTQ community was still not an overly accepted group of people. It was not explicitly stated in the book, but it seemed that Ariel’s mother was aware of her sexuality and based on her attitude toward Ariel and her girl friends, she was accepting of this. Like her mother, it was not stated that Valerie knew, but it seemed like she was more aware and just as well, was accepting of it. Throughout Schrag’s book, it seemed that Ariel had many lesbian friends and lovers. This may show the growth in the openness and acceptance of gay people.


The Stylistic Ways


This source of media is an interview with Ariel Schrag about the writing of Likewise and it refers more to the technical aspects of Ariel’s writing of her graphic novel. She explains why she uses three different styles in her graphic novel and how she recorded her consciousness narrative; through typing on the computer, where the graphics were made by ink wash and the words that are in the text boxes; the information she gathered through writing in her journals were shown as loose drawings and scrawled writing; while information that was gathered through a tape recorder have no narration and the dialogue that is written is in square boxes, while the graphics are black and white. I think this is helpful to understand where she’s at in her life. The journal writings and graphics, to me, seem more real than those that were made on the computer or through a tape recorder. It feels that the journal is more of a connection to the writer in how the reader was feeling at the time. The journal can be written at the moment of the situation, while when someone is using a tape recorder or typing on the computer, when turning it into a graphic novel, it is retrieved at a later time. I think the way she did the journal writing was executed excellently.