Essay 3 in English 1

"The I.M.s of Romeo and Juliet", gezeichnet von Roz Chast

"The I.M.s of Romeo and Juliet", gezeichnet von Roz Chast

Für unsere Englischklasse müssen wir über die Wintersession hinweg einige Essays schreiben, vorwiegend kritisch und mit Verweis auf andere Autoren. Hier eines der Essays, das über eine Comiczeichnung von Roz Chast handelt:

Tobias Deml

English 1

Essay 3

Jan. 25th, 2010 – Final Draft

Relationship Efficiency

In “The I.M.s of Romeo and Juliet”, Roz Chast literally draws a comical picture of mo dern relationships. The New Yorker staff cartoonist adapts Shakespeare’s classic to modern times by turning thoughtful, deep conversation into a muddy misspelling of love one-liners through instant messaging. We can observe two teenagers conversing via their computers, each “expressing” their love and the notion that one’s parents hate the other partner – just like in Shakespeare’s play. While Romeo and Juliet’s rooms are full of chaos and characteristic details, their feelings towards each other seem to have sunken on a soulless, shallow afternoon entertainment level without any passion.

The passage that portrays this modern lack of passion the clearest is probably Juliet’s chat line “xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxxxooxoxxxoxo gtg”. Instead of Shakespearean verses and tasteful soul striptease, Juliets love for Romeo seems to be suddenly camouflaged by time-efficient abbreviations: “o”s standing for hugs, “x”s for kisses. The motto: Out of two handwritten pages of love and lust, make one typing cascade of the pair “XO”. This is efficiency, not romance.

Twenty years ago, this comic could have appeared in a publication like and caused some rusty laughs behind bulky MSDOS-computers. In 2002 – when this comic was published – it might have been ahead of its time; today tough, the sight of couples texting or IMing with each other when they could as well just talk over the phone (and at least hear the others’ voice) renders this comic an important reminder to society: Efficiency should not replace romance. Even in this fast-paced world, relationships are there to be enjoyed, not “worked off”.

Works Cited:

Chast, Roz. “The I.M.s of Romeo and Juliet.” New Yorker 2002. Print.

About the Author

Tobias Deml is an Austrian Filmmaker and Visual Artist. 2012 Cinematography Reel: Tobias Deml ist ein österreichischer Filmstudent und Möchtegernregisseur in Los Angeles. Er arbeitet derzeit als Kameramann in Los Angeles und popelt in seiner Nase.