The Brother’s Fate in His Face All Red

In Emily Carroll’s His Face All Red, the reader is left open to interpretation of the ending. To decide whether the main character’s brother is dead or not, and if he is the beast. Many small details of the comic can allow readers to propose the theory that the brother is in fact not dead. The first piece of evidence readers encounter, is when the main character is describing his brother’s house. Which is said to have a lilac bush outside of the house, later in the comic the main character says the mysterious hole in the woods also smells of lilac. This clue many not seem important but after the brother revisits the same hole, he finds a man who looks similar to his brother, resting within. As readers have not been made aware of the sleeping arrangements within the brother’s house at the beginning narration of the comic, thus we do not know if the brother has been  sleeping in the house or has been sleeping in the hole. The lilac smell coming from within the hole, can cause the reader to assume that the brother sleeps within the hole, and is in fact the beast.

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The Reader gain the final piece of evidence when the main character is shown dragging his “dead” brother towards the hole within the woods. The face of the brother is shown with his eyes still open. The same faces is shown when the main character finds the brother within the hole, after the main character “killed” him. The illustration of the brother with his eyes open after “death”, allows a reader to assume the brother is still alive as most illustrations of people who are presumed to be dead are drawn with their eyes closed.

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Emily Carroll seems to have ended the comic with many questions unanswered, but the subtle use of clues within her illustration, and the way she uses narration to describe little details, allows the reader to come to a conclusion of the brothers fate.

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