RESEARCH PROPOSAL ESSAY 1
Symbolic language has contributed significantly to children’sunderstanding of the literature. “The Hunger Games” (2008-2010)trilogy, has incorporated a lot of symbolism. The pin “Mockingjay”has used the stylistic feature of symbolism to open up the society.In fact, the stylistic devices such as visual media used in “TheHunger Games” can reasonably compete with the new forms of media.The visual media has helped in improving the ability of the readersto grasp the concept, that is, the Picture Books by Shaun Tan, whouses the birds to express the world of surrealism and excitement.Symbols enhance the ability of the children to read and understandliterature. Furthermore, the metaphorical style employed by Shaunenables children to read and analyze information critically. Readerscan view the message from their perspective. Some theorists such asMoreman express the symbolic use of birds as a transition betweenrebirth and death.
Symbolism has contributed a lot to children’s ability to master theentire Hunger Game series. Different objects, people and othercreatures represent a magnitude of things, such as strength, love,hope, and rebellion. Mockingjay is the widely known symbol in theentire series. Both the pin and the actual bird symbolize hope(Gollin 2016, p.150). Hope that the outer districts will not starveto death, anticipations for the overthrow of the Capital, and hopefor the survival of the kids. They hope that things will be alright.
The Mockingjay is a freakish hybrid developed through geneticresearch of the Capital. It is something that crops up unexpectedlyfrom the tyrannical rule (Gollin 2016, p.150). The freakish hybrid isbeautiful and gives hope. Similarly, Katniss and Peeta offer hope.The measures that the capital takes against people bring goodoutcomes. She affirmed this by breaking the odds and also creating apromising future for everyone.
Mockingjay symbolizes how Peeta and Katniss use the “experiments”of the games against the Capital. An elaborate hunger game tournamentis set, which alter the environment and influence the players in asimilar way, leading to the creation of the hybrid bird. They bothtake what the capital has given, the same way the Mockingjay haddone.
The Mockingjay was developed when the mutant birds were set free.During the rebellions, the mutants spied on the citizens. They couldfly back to the Capital and repeat all they heard. However, at theend of the uprisings, the mutant’s spies were released. The birdswere expected to die, but on the contrary, they mated with themockingbird. The new birds could sing and listen to the melody. Otherbirds could even join their melody a creation that expressed hopesproving everything to be possible (Vasquez, 2016, p. 58). Katniss wasoffered a pin with a Mockingjay before leaving for the games. Sheencounters many problems as a result. The Mockingjay is developed tobe a symbol of Katniss.
Another key symbol in the Hunger Games is Panem. The word panem is aLatin word meaning bread. It is related to the Hunger during thegladiatorial Games of Ancient Rome. It uses the phrasePanemetcircenses, which refer to the Roman strategies of quellingwith the public. There was the provision of entertainment and plentyof food. A dystopian in United States is used symbolically. Theentertainment provided by the Romans was through the gladiatorialgames. The act of crossing the gladiator games with realitytelevision creates the Hunger Games. The Ancient Roman influence onPanem makes the metaphor complicated. This results to a triplemetaphor that uses Panem to get connections between the modern UnitedStates and the Ancient Rome (Vasquez, 2016, p.58). It advocates thatthe modern United States has Panemetcircenses as a strategy in place,with the reality television playing an essential function in thegladiator games. However, this metaphor does not explicitly mergewith the Ancient Rome Panemetcircenses formula. The method was tokeep people contented, contrary to the people of Panem. The HungerGames play a role in mass dissatisfaction, compared to the gladiatorgames which appease the masses (Ünaldi, 2016, p.317). The games werea reminder to the districts. Their push against the capital ended ina loss. Nevertheless, it represented the children who were drafted inthe game so that they could lose their lives.
Bread is another feature of Panemetcircenses strategy that is missingin this book (Ünaldi, 2016, p.317). A significant number of peoplein the districts lacked enough food to eat. This act also contributesto people’s dissatisfaction. It gives birth to various rebelliousacts, for example, Katniss started illegal hunting. Theabove-discussed ways comments on the real ways of the United Statesrather than, commenting on the fictional Panem. A platform is offeredto modern criticism of the contemporary United States culture.
The community supported the Games by failing to challenge or suspendthe ubiquitous Games. It was by law that the community had to followthe Games. Her district fails to show its dissent about the Games bynot applauding when Katniss volunteered to assume the Prim’s place.Though failing to honor the Games was optional, it attracted apunishment (Gollin, 2016). The population of Panem could notchallenge their system due to lack of strength, although they werecapable of rebelling.
The Cinna dress for Katniss offers her epithet. The dress alsosymbolizes her spirit. It is designed to reflect Katniss’s homedistrict known for coal mining. The main purpose of coal is to burnwhich is represented by this dress. The epithet is used to describeKatniss. The judges must have liked her temper. She had a hightraining score. The dress developed to serve as a literalrepresentation of her inner fire (Facione, 2010, p. 43).
Also, Katniss` poverty is useful since she lacked privileges and as aresult she was forced to learn several skills that eventually provenecessary in the arena. She comments on how to scrounge and managehunger in a better manner compared to those exposed to luxuries. Thisrefers to Peeta, who is considered to be soft and inferior to Galeeven after he starts to portray his fortitude (Peters, 2015, p 46).Both Katniss and Gale symbolize the toughness caused by poverty.Peeta expresses self-confidence. A key element in the novel is herunderstanding of both sides as part of her character. At the Arena,Gale`s influence is extremely useful, as Katniss uses her stoicdemeanor and hunting attitude to save her life (Peters, 2015, p. 70).However, her victory is brought about by her ability to trust others,a virtue she assimilated from Peeta when she gave her the bread someyears before. Katniss is affected at the Arena by Peeta’s kindnessshe rejects winning the contest alone unless they win together.
The fence portrays a society that is governed by dictatorship. Thesociety lacks freedom and democracy. Their life is under adictatorship. Using a bow and arrow Katniss breaks out for hunting.The entire fence demarcates the entire twelve districts thuscurtailing their freedom. The act of crossing through the fence byKatniss foreshadows her future challenge to President Snow`sauthority (Peters, 2015, p. 67). It takes courage for her to leavethe district in search for food for her family and herself. The highvoltage sign shows that the fence is electrified, resembling how theanimals were restricted in their fields. The people were to supplycoal to district 12 and fruits to district 11.
Katniss herself is a symbol of hope. She beats the odds and wins thegames. Her strength, skills, and courage contribute to her success.Her act of bringing courage to the districts makes President Snow toview her as a threat to the federal security.
Throughout the novel, the external appearance, including what Katnissand her team said is used to control how people perceive the book.For instance, at the reaping ceremony, she fails to cry because shedid not want to give an impression that she was weak. Moreover, atthe opening ceremony, emphases are laid on the appearance by focusingon Katniss’s preparations. Romance with Peeta is part of herstrategies. From the symbolism used in the context, we can affirmthat it has influenced critical analyses among the readers. Also,Shaun Tan work has encouraged critical thinking among the readers.The metaphorical style employed by Shaun enables users to read andanalyze information critically in between the lines.
The work of Shaun Tan has a lasting literature as it explores thehuman conditions through the plight of an immigrant. The plight ofimmigrants is described through critical analysis represented by thevisual events of imagery. Chris Van Allsburg, the author of ‘ThePolar Express’, comes to mind as a peer on children’s picturebooks making a better comparison to Shaun Tan. Chris Van engages theaudience across a wider age with lots of sophisticated representationof his work to suit multiple audiences (Levine 2013, p. 27). Thenature of the continuing and enigmatic story of Shaun of coming to anew world from a critical angle makes it similar to share theexperience of the children with the immigrants. Through explorationof the meaning of the artist`s imagery representation, the work isput on the confounding manner by drawing to make it discoverable oncritical thinking.
One of the recurring images is that of the origami bird a smalldrawing on the front page and the final page. The immigrant is seenmaking similar pictures of the bird to his daughter as he entertainsher when preparing to leave (Garau 2010, p. 68). He also makes othersuch illustration of the bird while in the ship, taking a meal withnew friends and sending money to his wife and daughter to join him inthe alien land. In the last four pages, the bird is represented byjoining other eight drawings one replicating an image from the firstpage.
Tan applies much of cinematic flourishes within the book, includingzooming in and out to capture the main character’s loneliness andvulnerability in an overwhelming world. The use of the bird impliesthe hope awaiting the migrant with the different forms of the birdsuggesting what seemed to be the loss of hope of the brighter futureahead (Garau 2010, p. 68). The first sights of strange birds in a newplace are displayed as a symbol of hope. The dove gives a sight ofland as in the story of the Noah’s Ark. Tan book uses imageries ofgrowth through the utilization of the Red Tree as a metaphor forhope.
Through illustration a particular idea is well communicated towardsthe readers as the display of the image presents a critical platformfor the message being passed on to the reader rather the picture`squality. It offers room for clear thinking as there is no primaryfocus expressed as any illustration presents open-ended criticalanalysis. Tan does not only tell an immigrant story but explores thefate of immigrant’s. The protagonist, struggle to find a job in aforeign land, he befriends the already established immigrants, andfinally, the distant land becomes home. Tan, evokes the intimacy ofimmigrant without settling on a particular person, time or place. Tanillustration emulates the texture of memory to children as well as toother people through the experience as we see the past in our mindthrough snippets and vignettes. Therefore, small odd things cantrigger a memory in a personal way more so to the children’scritical. Visual details at a glance may seem banal through somedrawing looking to fade as well non-continuous which is an attempt tomake the book a memory rather than an experience. Use of the picturesin Tan’s work is of great importance as the text would not haveillustrated the message that was to be passed apparently. The idea ofsilence in illustration rather than text are essential as there isreserve feelings of photorealism to display a character in sharpcontrast to the fantasy of flora, fauna, and cityscapes in the newworld(Hunt 2011, p.42). It is archetypal through its representationof loss, displacement, bewilderment as well gradual accommodation ina new community.
The universality of the migrant theme is well underscored by ethnicvariety in the portrait gallery of the front and inner covers. Thenew world depicted portrays alien universe as a traumatic experiencewith an overwhelming feeling of hope and genuine companionshipbetween the migrants and the outlandish creature which turns out tobe benevolent. Eternal truth embodied within the artist`s work is theknowledge about the human life which is unchanged by culture orhistory. The human suffering may be universal, but nothing generic isattached to it, in the case of children’s literature, often toldand understood there is a significant difference between a myth andreality. Shan Tan work is more resistant to easy deconstruction asthe illustration delight a paradox and a playful complexity(Devos2011, p.3). The critical question displayed in the manner ofthe compound nature of the drawing is how they help teach youngreaders about the world. It is a perfect vacuum though barelyreadable but a teasing reminder of a relaxed and comfortable societybut the illusions often ambiguous. In ‘The Lost Thing’ as bothMallan and Dudek suggest the odd spelling hints of less hopefulreadings through the imagery (Tan and Minchin 2000, pg 65). Theethical minorities dominate Tan`s migrant portrait gallery with mostbeing uncomfortable in both industrial or businesses areas (Farrellet al 2010, p.55). Shaun’s verbal and visual presentation of hiswork rewards sophisticated reading practices. Learning to read amyth, one gains deeper understanding on how it informs theimagination in which it underpins the knowledge of the constructionof realism but a much more productive practice if we want to educateourselves and young readers the culture of understanding and theculture of differentiating.
Through the many drawings, Shaun Tan has not only described manyevents but also shown emotions and built dramatic tensions as anyliterature prose writer. The choice to use images illustrates thestory of someone’s life as it urges the reader or the viewer tofill in the silent gaps animating the events being portrayed withour storyline to form the base of critical thinking. Like any photos,sometimes the portrait is displayed in a darker tone that is morethreatening as well as varying images. There are small images withintimate details of time passage, ten rows of six images depict cloudshowing the journey, some are light and airy and somehow threateningagain representing the passage of time (Aarrevaara, et al. 2009, 17).Through this, Tan creates a surreal landscape with varied buildingsof many sizes some circular or triangular in shape and others ingeometric patterns of animal faces while displayed as bird holding anegg or an angel with decorated wings. The readers can be bewilderedby all these representations as we decipher the sole intention of allthe language that appears everywhere. The intentions of some imagesare not clear but in the pages where the migrant is welcomed to thestranger’s home to eat, the smiling faces, light tone as wellplayful music indicate the warmth and welcome. By contrast, darkimages are indicating the escape the family made before their arrivalto the city.
Shaun Tan represents the issue of the global migration as a universalissue with evident sadness as one leaves their family contrary to thetitle of the book, ‘The Arrival.’ Their new life was put intocontrast with their old life replaced with a new kitchen. Their roomis seen to have more possessions with joy on their faces. Bothparents love their child, a sign of future assurance with the walkingtadpole appearing to agree (Johnston 2012, p.433). The child is seenassisting a new migrant in the final image, representing a circularstructure for the reader to be satisfied by the story resolution,while perceiving the possible beginning of a new story.
In conclusion, the modern day life is flooded with the use of images,yet rarely are we confronted by a sustainable narrative of a picture.In children’s picture books the current wave of modern graphicnovels, there is written text to propel the story. Readers bringtheir experiences to task and examine the images deeply if they arenot described, forming an excellent base for critical analysis.
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