Dan Clowes’ graphic novel, “Ghost World” tells the story of Enid Coleslaw and her best friend Rebecca during the months between their high school graduation and the following October. The girls curse a lot, obsess over freaks and strange events in their lives and eventually come to realize their childhood friendship may not survive their transition into adulthood.
They find themselves in that strange no man’s land of graduation, where they have just spent 18 years of their lives becoming the people they are and now they have to decide who they really want to be and what they really want to do. They have their whole lives ahead of them, but no driving passion. Instead, they pass the days criticizing popular culture and the strange cast of characters that live around their town, all the while finding themselves growing into different people.
They always criticize people in the worst tones: if a guy walked by with a magazine that has a swimsuit model on the cover, then he was the “sleaziest perv on the block”; if a woman wore a shirt that revealed the tiniest bit of cleavage, then she was “a total skankball”; if they had a problem with an old woman with a cane, then she was “the super-creepy lady with the funky hairdo”; if they met a grouchy guy in a wifebeater, then he was “the psycho child molester.” They had endless imagination, which caused them to go into extremes with their criticism. Anyone who irked them or piqued their curiosity in the slightest would be described in the worst tones or the most grandiose tones.
That’s why the guy who takes away Enid’s virginity is described as “this intense, moody hippie,” or a guy who wants to buy her doll is called a “jerk with a trendy haircut.” Some random guy is called “the biggest idiot I’ve ever seen.” Dan Clowes is described as “this old perv,” while an odd couple is described as “the Satanists” and so on, despite the fact that these girls have little to no contact with these people whatsoever.
Just watching and listening to Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson play the roles of Enid and Rebecca perfectly in the movie version before their actors careers peaked also gives an interesting perspective to the graphic novel and the themes portrayed in the novel. They come to these extreme conclusions about people just by looking at them. Kinda like us in real life. Weird.