The Rabbits-Deconstruction of Visual

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John Marsden’s and Shaun Tan’s epic picture book, “The Rabbits”, is an allegorical fable about colonisation, told from the perspective of the natives. An unseen narrator describes the coming of ‘rabbits’ in the most minimal detail, an encounter that is at first friendly and curious, but later darkens as it becomes apparent that the visitors are actually invaders. My chosen image (above), embodies the overall style of the book which is deliberately sparse and strange. Both text and image conveys an overall sense of bewilderment and anxiety as native numbat-like creatures witness the environmental devastation under the wheels of a strange new culture, represented by the rabbits. The image projects a painting of a striking sunset and edifices assembled next to one another, detained by the rabbits costumed in black suits. This inclines as the salient image, as it is positioned in the centre and obtains a significant amount of the opening. The use of luminous colours in the picture also aids in formulating this as the salient image. And through the employment of foreshadowing, the composer envisages a future where the rabbits will acquire full control of the land. The thick, gold framing of the painting within the image creates connotations of a traditional, majestic and somewhat civilized society, characterising the rabbits as structured and bureaucratic. The rabbits’ flag placed on the crest of each edifice suggests that they are inevitably going to rule the land. The scene of the sunset also reminds us of the saying, “The sun never sets on the British empire”, as the rabbits are a symbolic reference of the white settlers. And the fact that all the edifices are even and identical, portray the calculative and methodical nature of the rabbits whilst the road acts as a vertical vector, leading our eyes towards the sun. This illustrates that no one will obtain the power to control the rabbits as the road vanishes into the distant horizon. The outlines of the shapes of...
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