From the Wikipedia handout on Mumbo Jumbo that we received in class:
"The format and typography of Mumbo Jumbo are unique and make allusion to several typographic and stylistic conventions not normally associated with novels. The text begins and ends as if it were a movie script, with credits, a fade-in, and a freeze-frame. This is followed by a closing section that mimics a scholarly book on social history or folk magic by citing a lengthy bibliography. In addition, the tale is illustrated with drawings, photographs, and collages, some of which relate to the text, some of which look like illustrations from a social-studies book on African-American history, and some of which seem to be included as a cryptic protest against the then-current Vietnam War."
Indeed the format of this book is intriguing. I actually prefer this sort of layout than something like Double or Nothing because I find it more thought provoking. Throughout the book we are shown pictures captioned with quotes, drawings, newspaper excerpts, advertisements, along with other images. Just as the narrative is a sort of mumbo jumbo of history, religion, and culture that is both real and fictional, but presented as a truth- the pictures themselves follow this form of presentation. Real photographs are paired with the narrative giving it a sense of realism.
Maybe in a sense, Mumbo Jumbo is a good representation of the world today. We are always peppered with statements and beliefs. Like the characters in the story, we must pick out our truths, distinguish reality from fiction, and learn to think critically for ourselves rather than blindly following whichever political leader or religious doctrine we have chosen to believe. Especially if it is true that this book does somehow protest the Vietnam War, then it would make sense that it would emphasize conspiracy and propaganda. As of yet I don't really see any allusions to the Vietnam War specifically. I might be missing something.
I guess some questions we should keep in mind as we continue reading are:
1. How does the style of the book (ie. layout, photographs) help relay the story? Does it add to the story or take away from it in terms of the plot and the author's goals?
2. How does the presentation of story portray society and culture (American, African/Black American)? As well as black-white relations throughout history? What does it say about oppression and fear?