The Arrival

Topics: Culture / Pages: 7 (1650 words) / Published: Sep 15th, 2013
“The Arrival,” by Shaun Tan, is a very unique and intriguing illustrated story filled with a variety of perceptions, questions, details, interpretive images, and inspirations. Although there are many ways one could summarize this story, I have come to the conclusion that it is based on a traveler’s story. A family is subject to separate an impecunious town, in search of a better existence in an unfamiliar realm on the other side of an immense sea. The husband/father finds himself in a confusing city of unfamiliar customs, strange animals, inquisitive floating objects and impossible to read languages. Having nothing more than a travel case and a handful of money, this refugee must find a place to reside, provisions, and some kind of productive service. He is helped alongside the way by understanding strangers, each hauling their own silent history. These stories tell of struggle and survival in a world of perplexing aggression, disorder and hope. Before I even started to dive into this book I needed to know more about the author; to understand his reasoning in constructing this unique and unusual approach toward his cultural surreal descriptions. Shawn Tan came from the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. Being a half-Chinese, Shaun Tan experienced a sense of separateness because of the unclear notion of identity and detachment from roots. Shaun Tan’s work as an illustrator helps the reader to travel beyond the individual issues and basic existential question that everybody deals with from time to time. “When something challenges our reality or defines our expectations we often find ourselves in new realities such as a new school, employment, relationship or country, any of which demand some reinvention of belonging.”

Drawing upon my experiences both personal and professional, I will discuss experiences portrayed in the book, how they compare to experiences of my own, and the experiences of other people I know, such as my students or my own

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