03 April 2012

Empathy the Medium of Pain

Empathy the Medium of Pain

Our Cancer Year is a graphic novel that follows the life of Harvey and Joyce a married seemingly American couple. The story takes place with Joyce’s brother Tod abruptly stopping by unannounced. The three individuals quickly get reacquainted with the on goings of each other’s lives. Tod explains the reason for being in town, which happens to be an odd job he’s working on not to far from where Joyce and Harvey live. From there Harvey explains to Tod if he needs more work, and that if he has to have surgery it would be okay for Tod to help them with their moving. On the day that Harvey is scheduled to have surgery, the family takes a ride to the hospital to meet with Dr. Cantor for what appears to be surgery that Harvey has been preparing for, for quite some time.
Although at this point the story takes a new twist, Harvey does have his surgery but not for a hernia. The doctor then explains to Joyce, that Harvey had a tumor removed. The doctor then gives Harvey the run down on his current situation before leaving abruptly. Assuming the worse Joyce’s nervousness about the situation quickly turns into anger towards the doctor, with Harvey still sitting with a demeanor of disbelief. The couple then gathers themselves together in heads home with the worrisome thought of Harvey’s cancer on their minds. That following night it is demonstrated how fearful the couple is about their situation. Harvey already deciding his fate in is concerned about the life his wife would have when he is gone, and Joyce not so much fearful of losing her lover but more concerned with what he is thinking when it comes to her. Joyce and Harvey both then set out cope with his condition in their on ways.
Harvey looks into a having a will in place in the event he dies and Joyce calls friends to see what information they can provide to help with Harvey’s condition. This is when their relationship begins to become strained. Harvey soon finds out that his cancer has been neutralized, but doesn’t reveal this to Joyce and in doing Joyce continues to push the issue of him having cancer in therefore creating more problems. This story appears to have some truth in its background. It really displays the strains that occur when families and individual are diagnosed with scary medical conditions. Although this relationship in particular appears to be on that was built on tough love the insight that it provides is very realistic and although Joyce was not diagnosed she too did feel the effects of Harvey condition.


  1. good summary, but you should have related this text to another one of our readings.