Why did Kazu Kibuishi make this conscious design choice to focus on Harry’s surroundings rather than on the boy himself? One of my classmates, Emily Dueker, brought to my attention that this difference in focus could be attributed to the difference between Western individualistic tendencies and Eastern collectivistic tendencies. I thought that was an intriguing observation to make, and so I researched the concept further. I’d heard about collectivism vs. individualism before, in terms of how people in different societies have different ideals—those that are more self-centered or more family-centered. It’s a psychological phenomenon that has been studied by scholars throughout history, and although it offers a pretty black and white view on Eastern and Western ideals, the theory does provide a good general sense of the difference between the two cultures.
Since Mary GrandPré was born and raised in America, she would be more likely to value stories that are focused on the hero and his journey—how the choices he made impacted the world around him.