Research Proposal Essay


ResearchProposal Essay

Symboliclanguage has contributed greatly in children’s understanding ofliterature. “The Hunger Games” (2008-2010) trilogy, haveincorporated a lot of symbolism in its books. 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 fairly compete with new forms of media. Thevisual media improve the ability of the readers to grasp the concept.In comparison to Picture Books by Shaun Tan, who uses of the birds toexpress the world of surrealism and excitement, symbols enhance theability of children to read and understand literature. Furthermore,the metaphorical style used by Shaun enables children to read andanalyze information critically. This enables readers to view themessage from their own perspective. Some theorist such as Moremanexpresses the symbolic use of birds as a transition between rebirthand death.

Symbolism has contributed a lot in children’s ability to master theentire Hunger Game series. Different objects, people, and creaturesrepresent a magnitude of things, such as strength, love, hope, andrebellion. Among the widely known symbol in the entire series is theMockingjay. Both the pin and the actual bird symbolize hope (Gollin2016, p.150). Hope that the outer districts will not starve to death,anticipations for the overthrow of the Capitol, and hope for thesurvival of the kids. They hope that things will be alright.

Mockingjay is used to symbolize hope. The Mockingjay is a freakishhybrid developed through genetic research of the Capitol it issomething that crops up unexpectedly from the tyrannical rule (Gollin2016, p.150). The freakish hybrid is beautiful and gives hope.Similarly, Katniss and Peeta offer hope the measures that thecapitol takes against people brings good outcomes. The reader graspsthe idea of hope that Mockingjay develops. Katniss helps people todevelop hope, and strength. This is affirmed because she breaks theodds, survives and creates a promising future for everyone.

Moreover, Mockingjay symbolizes how Peeta and Katniss use the“experiments” of the games against the Capitol. An elaboratehunger game tournament is set, which alter the environment andinfluence the players. This is similar to the way the hybrid bird wascreated. They both take what the capitol has given, the very same waythe Mockingjay had done.

Furthermore, the Mockingjay was developed when the mutant birds wereset free. During the rebellions, the mutants spied on the citizens.They could fly back to the capitol and repeat all they heard.However, at the end of the rebellions, the mutants spied werereleased. The birds were expected to die, but to the contrary, theymated with the mockingbird. The new birds could sing and listen tothe melody. Other birds could even join the melody. This is acreation that expresses hope, proving everything to be possible(Vasquez, 2016, p. 58). A pin with a Mockingjay was offered toKatniss before leaving for the games. She encounters many problems,but she maintains the truth. The Mockingjay is developed to be asymbol of Katniss.

Another key symbol in the Hunger Games is Panem. The word panem meansbread in Latin it is given similarity of the Hunger to thegladiatorial Games of Ancient Rome. It is used about the phrasePanemetcircenses, which refer to the Roman strategies of quellingwith the public. Plenty of food and entertainment was provided. Inaddition, a dystopian United State is used symbolically. Theentertainment provided by the Roman was through the gladiatorialgames. The act of crossing the gladiatorial 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 Panemetcircensesas a strategy in place,with the reality television playing a key function in thegladiatorial games. However, this metaphor does not explicitly mergewith the Ancient Rome Panemetcircenses formula. The method isaimed at keeping people contented, contrary to the people of Panem.The Hunger Games play a role in mass dissatisfaction, compared to thegladiatorial games which appease the masses (Ünaldi, 2016, p.317).The games were developed as a reminder to the districts. This wasafter their push against the capitol ended in a loss. Nevertheless,it represented the children who were drafted in the game so that theycould be killed.

Bread is another feature of Panemetcircenses strategy that ismissing in this book (Ünaldi, 2016, p.317). A great number of peoplein the districts is underfed. This act also contributes to people’sdissatisfaction. It gives birth to various rebellious acts, forexample, Katniss started illegal hunting. The above-discussed wayscomments on the real United States ways rather than, commenting onthe fictional Panem. This offers a platform to modern criticism ofthe modern 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 is optional, it carries punishments(Gollin, 2016). The population of Panem could not challenge theirsystem due to lack of strength, though they were capable ofrebellion. This made them to be led through spectacle.

Thirdly, the Cinna dress for Katniss offers her epithet. The dressalso symbolizes her spirit. It is designed to reflect Katniss’shome district, coal mining. The main purpose of coal is to burn whichis represented by this dress. Katniss is described by that epithet.The judges must have liked her temper. This affirms that she had ahigh training score. The dress developed to serve as a literalrepresentation of her inner fire (Facione, 2010, p. 43).

In addition, Katniss poverty is useful because she lacks privilegeand she is forced to learn several skills that eventually proveimportant 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 Peeta starts to portray his fortitude (Peters, 2015, p46). Both Katniss and Gale symbolize the toughness engendered bypoverty. Self-kindness is symbolized by Peeta. A key element in thenovel is her understanding of both sides as part of her character. Atthe Arena, Gales influence is extremely useful, as Katniss uses herstoic demeanor and hunting attitude to save her life (Peters, 2015,p. 70). However, her victory is brought about by her ability to trustothers a virtue she assimilated from Peeta when she gave her breadsome years before. Katniss is affected even at the Arena by Peeta’skindness she rejects winning the contest alone unless they wintogether.

The fence portrays a society that is governed through dictatorship.The society lacks freedom and any democracy in all what they do.Their life aspects are dictated. Using the bow and arrow Katnissbreaks out for hunting. The entire fence demarcates the entire twelvedistricts thus curtailing their freedom. The act of crossing throughthe fence by Katniss, this foreshadows her future challenge toPresident Snow authority (Peters, 2015, p. 67). It takes courage forher to leave the district in search of food for her family andherself. The high voltage sign shows that the fence is electrified,resembling how animals are restricted in their fields. The peoplesupply coal to district 12 and fruits to district 11.

Katnissherself is a symbol hope. She beats the odds and wins the games. Herstrength, skills, and courage contribute to her success. Her act ofbringing courage to the districts makes President Snow to view her asa threat to the federal security.

Throughout the novel, “Hunger Games” the external appearance,including what Katniss and her team say is used to control how peopleperceive the book. For instance, at the reaping ceremony, she failsto cry because she did not want to give an impression that she isweak. Also, at the opening ceremony, emphases are laid on theappearance by focusing on Katniss’s preparations. Romance withPeeta is part of her strategies. From the symbolism used in thecontext, we can affirm that it has influenced critical analyses amongthe readers. In addition, Shaun Tan work has encourages criticalthinking among the readers. She makes use of the birds to express theworld of surrealism and excitement. The metaphorical style used byShaun enables readers to read and analyze information critically inbetween the lines.

The work of Shaun Tan has a lasting literature as it explores thehuman conditions through the plight of an immigrant. The plight ofimmigrant 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. Like Chris, Tanengages the audience across a wider age with lots of sophisticatedrepresentation of his work to suit multiple audiences (Levine2013, p. 27). The nature of the open-ended andenigmatic story of Shaun of coming to a new world from a criticalangle makes it similar to the experience children share with theimmigrants. Through exploration of the meaning of the artist`simagery representation, puts the work on the confounding manner bydrawing to make it discoverable on critical thinking.

One of the recurring images is that of origami bird a small drawingon the front page as well almost the final page, as the first of nineother small images.The immigrant is seen making similar pictures of thebird to his daughter as he entertains her when preparing to leave(Garau 2010,p. 68). He also makes other search illustration of thebird while in the ship, while taking a meal with new friends andsending money to his wife and daughter to join him in the alien land.In the fourth page from the end, the bird is represented joiningother eight drawings one replicating an image from the first page.

Tan applies much of cinematic flourishes within the book,including zooming in and out to capture the main character’sloneliness and vulnerability in an overwhelming world. The use of thebird implies the hope awaiting the migrant with the different formsof the bird suggesting what seemed loss of hope of the brighterfuture ahead (Garau2010, p. 68). The first sights of strange birds in anew place are displayed as a symbol of hope. The dove gives a sightof land as in the story of the Noah’s Ark. Tan book uses imageriesof growth through the utilization of the Red Tree as well can beutilized as a metaphor for hope.

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 picturesquality. It offers the 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 other 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 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 children criticalthinking as they develop. Visual details at a glance may seem banalthrough some drawing looking to fade as well non continuousas anattempt to make the book a memory rather than an experience. Use ofthe pictures in Tan’s work is of great importance as the text wouldnot have illustrated the message that was to be passed apparently.The idea of silence in illustration rather than text is essential asthere are reserve feelingsof photorealism to display a character in asharp contrast to the fantasy of flora, fauna, and cityscapes in thenew world(Hunt2011, p.42). It is archetypal through itsrepresentation of loss, displacement, bewilderment as well gradualaccommodation in a new community.

The universality of the migrant theme is well underscored by ethnicvariety in the portrait gallery on 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’s migrant portrait gallery isdominated by the ethical minorities with most being uncomfortable inboth economic or businesses areas(Farrell etal2010, p.55). Shaun’s verbal and visual presentationof his work rewards sophisticated reading practices. Learning to reada myth, 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 described many events aswell shown emotions and built dramatic tensions as any literatureprose writer. The choice to use images illustrates the story ofsomeone’s life as it urges the reader or the viewer to fill in thesilent gaps animating the events being portrayed with our storylineto form the base of critical thinking. Like any photos, sometimes theportrait is displayed in a darker tone more threatening as well thesize of the images varying. There are small images with intimatedetails of time passage, ten rows of six images depict cloud showingthe journey, some are light and airy and somehow threatening againrepresenting the passage of time(Aarrevaara, etal.2009, 17). Through this Tan creates a surreallandscape. Varied buildings of many size some circular or triangularin shape with others in geometric patterns of animal faces whiledisplayed as bird holding an egg or an angel with decorated wings.The readers can be bewildered by all these representations as wedecipher the sole intention of all the language that appearseverywhere. The intentions of some images are not clear but in thepages where the migrant is welcomed to the stranger’s home to eat,the smiling faces, light tone as well playful music indicate thewarmth and welcome. By contrast, dark images are indicating theescape the family made before their arrival to the city.

Shaun Tan represents the issue of the global migration as auniversal issue with evident sadness as one leaves their family butcontrast to the title of the book ‘The Arrival.’ Their new lifewas put into contrast with their old life replaced with a newkitchen. Their room is seen to have more possessions, but there isjoy on their faces rather sadness and both parents’ looks lovinglyto their child a sign of future assurance with the walking tadpoleappearing to agree (Johnston2012, p.433). The child is seen assisting a new migrantin the final image representing a circular structure for the readerto be satisfied by the story resolution, while perceiving thepossible beginning of a new story.

In conclusion, the modern day life is swamped 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 experience to task and examining the images deeply if they arenot described forming an excellent base for critical analysis.


Levine, R.V., 2013. The kindness of strangers.&nbspAmericanScientist,&nbsp91(3), pp.26-33.

Johnston, R.R., 2012. Graphic trinities: languages, literature, andwords-in-pictures in Shaun &nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbspTan’s The Arrival.&nbspVisual Communication,&nbsp11(4),pp.421-441.

Hunt, J.S., 2011. Stranger in a strange land.&nbspImmunologicalreviews,&nbsp213(1), pp.36-47.,+J.S.,+2011&ampsource=bl&ampots=Fjf14qVo-5&ampsig

Aarrevaara, T., Dobson, I. and Elander, C., 2009.Brave newworld.&nbspHigher Education &nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Managementand Policy,&nbsp21(2), pp.1-18.


Farrell, M., Arizpe, E. and McAdam, J., 2010. Journeys across visualborders: Annotated spreads &nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbspof ‘The Arrival’ by Shaun Tan as a method for understandingpupils` creation of &nbsp&nbsp&nbsp meaning through visualimages.pp.37-56

Garau, E., 2010.&nbspNational Identity and Immigration: The Caseof Italy (Doctoral dissertation, &nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbspUniversity of &nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbspBath). Pp. 61-79.

Gollin, D., 2016. Hunger Games: A History of Famine. Foreign Aff.,95, p.150.

Peters,R.F., 2015. The global dystopian: Twenty-first centuryglobalization, terrorism, and urban destruction (Doctoraldissertation, LOYOLA UNIVERSITY CHICAGO).


Ünaldi,S., 2016. THAILAND IN 2015: The Waiting Game. Southeast AsianAffairs, p.317.


Vasquez,B.S., 2016. Katniss Everdeen: Feminist Fighter or Teen Bride, p. 58

Devos,L., 2011. Not all that`s modern is post: Shaun Tan`s grandnarrative.Bookbird: A Journal of InternationalChildren`s Literature,&nbspp.1-5,%20jan%2013/Reading_guide_Tan_Arrival.pdf

Facione,P.A., 2010. Critical thinking: What it is and why itcounts.&nbspRetrieved June,&nbsp9,p.38-89.–to%20be%20linked%20to%20HSRT%20info.pdf