The purpose of this study was to inductively examine the content of the popular comic strip Calvin and Hobbes by analyzing its latent and subjective meaning to discover basic social psychological issues associated with family recreation. The entire collection of 1,360 Calvin and Hobbes strips was evaluated using Grounded Theory techniques influenced by the art scholarship evaluation tool iconography. Review of the strip suggests one way to assess the meaning associated with time use is through preemptive retrospection by which a person looks at current experiences through the lens of an anticipated future to estimate how meaningful that time will be. Overall, Calvin and Hobbes suggests that meaningful time use is a key attribute of a life well lived. One key element of meaningful time use is time spent with family. The strip also helps us see the value in continuing to seek that meaning with family despite apparent setbacks. This analysis brought to light issues associated with gathering meaning from comic strips, which are also discussed. Recommendations are made for future research in the field.
College and Department
Marriott School of Management; Recreation Management
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Draper, Christijan D., "Exploring Calvin and Hobbes: Comic Strip Illuminates Issues Surrounding Family Recreation" (2009). Theses and Dissertations. 1688.
Grounded theory, iconography, comic strip, Bill Watterson, family recreation, time use, preemptive retrospection