The Arrival



Shaun Tan’s The Arrival is a partially autobiographical picture book in which all communication with the reader takes place through visual text. The shifting tonality between sepia and grey scale images alerts the reader to shifts in narrative focalisation within The Arrival. Tan has deliberately modelled the protagonist’s appearance after his own, in order to capture the essence of the universal immigrant experience that can be seen as emblematic of all settler groups.  Visual metaphor is used extensively throughout The Arrival, the sub-sequent panels create a sense of movement and shifting perspective in which image is used to represent idea. The juxtaposition between fear and hope, isolation and community, allows Tan to create a sense of journey within The Arrival. Also, the blending of natural and constructed imagery imbues Tan’s picture book with a surreal yet tangible impression of his symbolic landscape. G


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