Picture books through descriptive language and symbolic illustrations can convey many meanings. In requiem for a beast the bull metaphorically represents many issues. On one level it represent anger, violence and hatred. On another level it conveys a road to redemption. The beast also embodies the boys fathers demons from his past mistakes and can illustrate a theme of memories and how they can help us deal with our demons.
In the graphic novel the “beast” is more than just a bull in the sense that it represents many other characteristics, but it is still a beast because it embodies the aggression, violence and fear shown in the boy and also in all of us as individuals. The hostility of the beast is shown through the physical killing of the aboriginal child, the pursuing of the bull, as well as the depression and the attempted suicide of the boy. A quote that conveys this is, “I have become such a beast”. All the anger we have inside us is represented by the bull, but also through the boy. The “boy” not having a name establishes this, because by being nameless he can personify all of us. When the boy is trapped in the amphitheatre cornered by the bull it metaphorically suggests that everything in his life up to that point is on a stage for him to examine. There is no escape he must confront the beast. By doing so he is tackling his fears, his anger and his guilt.
The bull or the “beast” isn’t just representing the bad in all of us, it also depicts the journey to forgiveness, reconciliation of our past mistakes and the freedom of letting go of your anger. In the graphic novel, a theme of rain, washing clean wounds and the trouble of the past conveys this. A narrative quote about the boy after he kills the bull is, “a sense of calm settled over him, an emptiness that did not need to be filled”. This conveys how once that “beast” was dead, along died with it the emotional pain he had being experiencing and carrying with him for years. The boy was stuck in...
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