Robert Gray

Composers often manipulate their chosen form of text to explore their concerns within the world. Throughout the poem The Late Ferry by Robert Gray the type of journey is seen to be long-term, emotional, confronting and challenging for individuals. Shaun Tan’s The Red Tree uses journey as being long-term, personal, confronting, emotional and mental. These are recognized by the usage of symbolism and metaphors. Robert Grays The Late Ferry contains a large amount of symbolism through the duration of the poem. The symbolism is what gives the audience an idea of what the journey itself is and what type of journey it may be.

In the 1st stanza we see this symbolism as a mother watching her child leave her and enter the real world on their own “The late ferry is leaving now; I stay to watch from the balcony as it goes up onto the huge dark harbor”. This is exploring journey through the child leaving their mother and getting about on their own now, therefore for the child it is a journey of coming of age. Robert Gray can uncover journey to the audience by using light and darkness to juxtapose each other and showing what are the positive and negative times for the individual in this journey.

The colour orange in stanza 4 is a symbolism for an element of hope. Hope that this individual will get used to be on their own and finding their way around through life “And out beyond the tomato stake patch of the yachts, with their orange lights” juxtaposed to the darkness symbolised in stanza 6 “the longer white feel nervously about in the blackness” this is also symbolic of a negative time as the person is nervous in a dark world trying to find the light to turn their world positive again.

The technique shown in these quotes can be symbolism, juxtaposition and the re-occurring motif of the colour. This shows the audience when the journey can be great or when the journey can be tough. This is a way of Robert Gray showing his notion of journey in The Late Ferry. Shaun Tan and The Red Tree uses also uses symbolism and metaphors to create knowledge to the reader by clearly showing what journey they are on and what sort of journey it could be for the individual in the text.

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On the page where the girl is bottled up on a beach we can see what is happening in her life and why she is feeling this way. The writing on the page says, “no one understands” by it stating this and the picture of her to go with it we can see that the technique being used by Shaun Tan is social distance; she is distancing herself away from everyone, as no one understands her feelings she is going through. We feel as if she has been dehumanized and left to suffer, we show sympathy towards her.

The notion of journey is being explored by Shaun Tan in this as we get so many emotions and right away we realise it is a personal, emotional journey. In The Red Tree we also explore journey through the image in frame 4, we are exposed to the idea that journeys can offer a change in perspective, ideals and behaviors. She is experiencing an inner emotional journey that is displayed through her being in a bottle and the message is on the shore instead of being in the bottle. This is represented through the dull colours- dark blue and black.

These are symbolic of the type of journey she is on. We give empathy to this girl as we get the feeling that no one wants to talk to her and no one likes to her their emotions all bottled up. Through both the texts The Late Ferry and The Red Tree journey is explored and depicted by the usage of symbolism and colours. Although both composers are using the same techniques the type of journey is completely different to one another. Ultimately both composers clearly display in their text what is happening throughout the whole time of this experience for the individual.

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