The Arrival

English Speech The Arrival by Shaun Tan is a graphic novel which follows the story of a man who embarks on the journey of migration. The notions of belonging that are highlighted in the text are belonging to a place and belonging to a family. The composer establishes these through the masterful employment of various visual techniques. One of the foremost themes of the novel is the concept of belonging to a place, in particular the connection to a homeland. A disturbance in the main environment signifies as the stimulating factor for the disruption of the man’s sense of belonging.

There exists an fragmented sense of existence in the old land, something that is established primarily by the ominous, malicious serpent like figures that force the man’s departure and his search for a new way of life. Tan’s symbolic representation of the serpents as the threatening and severe influences in the early pages of the novel drives the man out of his homeland as it is is a source of unease and discomfort for his family. Upon entering the unknown land the man feels alienated from the new way of life that he is faced with.

The author highlights this through the use of various shades of grey which are evidence of the shared melancholy of the migrants. Furthermore the positioning of all the migrants huddled up together reinforces the turmoil and hardship that they have collectively encountered. The use of dark and malicious tones and the overshadowing images of the technologically averse boat that towers over the migrants furthers their insignificance and defencelessness. The commonality with fellow migrants is carried throughout the novel and it soon becomes a source of solace for the man who is otherwise alien to the new world.

Tan uses flashback scenes to illustrate the man’s opportunity to connect with his fellow migrants. Tan uses darker tones in the flashback scenes and the tumultuous journeys of the other migrants are elicited. Our protagonist is able to relate to their troubled background and this allows the connection between the two parties. The man is drawn into their stories and this is highlighted greatly through the change in tone to a grim, darkened one which the reader appreciates to be both captivating and intriguing. Tan is thus able to illustrate to his audience, a true appreciation of belonging to a place and its connotations.

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In addition to this, belonging to a family is a key concept in this novel. The novel opens with an alluring introduction to the family; a blissful atmosphere is created through the picturesque icons of their family life. The composer uses small photograph like icons to allude towards the widely acknowledged contentment that is readily associated with the memories in a picture album. Tan introduces the motif of the paper crane which he carries through the length of his novel as a symbol of affection and belonging between the family members.

The next pages signify the break in contentment as the man begins his journey and a salient image of the couple with their hands grasping the other’s parallels the anxiety and despair in their downcast facial expressions. Although the gloomy atmosphere, the light sepia tones in the picture allow an insight into the tender and loving relationship that the family members share. Upon the man’s departure the paper crane motif returns and he hands it to his daughter as a token of his undying love for her.

His migratory experience is studded by the comfort and ease that he obtains from a picture of his family. In paralleled scenes on the boat and the new apartment, the man is seen reminiscing his time with family. He dines with and converses with the picture, the repetition of which is significantly indicative of the unfaltering sense of belonging he feels to them. In both scenes, the composer then zooms out to illustrate the man’s isolation in the ostensibly large structure that he resides in and the reader can then truly appreciate his sense of solace in the people from the picture.

Through the use of these various techniques the concept of belonging to family is emphasised. The Arrival can now be truly appreciated as a graphic novel with allusions to the intricate and complex nature of belonging. In particular belonging to a family and to a place was discussed today and I hope I did justice to the carefully developed messages that Tan portrays. The Arrival by Shaun Tan is a graphic novel which follows the story of a man who embarks on the journey of migration. The notions of belonging that are highlighted in the text are belonging to a place and belonging to a family.

The composer establishes these through the masterful employment of various visual techniques. | One of the foremost themes of the novel is the concept of belonging to a place, in particular the connection to a homeland. A disturbance in the main environment signifies as the stimulating factor for the disruption of the man’s sense of belonging. | There exists an fragmented sense of existence in the old land, something that is established primarily by the ominous, malicious serpent like figures that force the man’s departure and his search for a new way of life. Tan’s symbolic representation of the serpents as the threatening/menacing authoritarian influences in the early pages of the novel drives the man out of his homeland as it is is a source of unease and discomfort for his family| Upon entering the unknown land the man feels alienated from the new way of life that he is faced with. The author highlights this through the use of various shades of grey which are evidence of the shared melancholy of the migrants. | Furthermore the positioning of all the migrants huddled up together reinforces the turmoil and hardship that they have collectively encountered. | | |

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