Patrick Dwyer

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Where The Wild Things Are
As humans we instinctively feel the need and desire to belong. When we truly belong to something we achieve a sense of acceptance, love and togetherness. ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ by Maurice Sendak is a children’s book that explores the concepts of belonging and in contrast, not belonging. It is a very simple story accompanied by large, rich pictures. The text and pictures complement each other, each enriching the sense of alienation for the responder. Max is a mischievous young boy who displays aspects of childhood irritation and loneliness. He lives in a world with limited freedom as he is a child. It becomes clear to the responder through the positioning of the character on the page, the vector of the boy’s angry gaze as well as the neutral, bland colours used that Max feels like he doesn’t belong in the world he calls home. The pictures at the beginning of the story are quite unengaging compared to the bright, richly textured pages that follow. This sense of not belonging leads to Max fantasising and creating a whole new world within his imagination. In this world Max is king, there is no one to tell him what to do and how he must act. In this place Max is completely accepted and the most important part of the wild things world. Max wears a wolf suit during the story, it shows the responder that Max is disguising who he really is and that the suit enables him to escape from reality. Whilst Max is wearing this suit he becomes a wild thing and he thinks that his behaviour is acceptable. Max is pushing his family away, but he is also wishing to obtain a sense of belonging, love and acceptance. He finds this sense of belonging with his new wild friends. Throughout the text, the composer portrays a range of emotions felt by Max. He finally gets what he wants, a place of unlimited freedom and acceptance, but still is not happy. He needs to be “where someone loves him best of all”. So he returns to the comfort and familiarity of his...
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