ANALYSIS RELATED TEXT 1
Name: The Red Tree Published: Shaun Tan Text type: Picture Book Year: 2001
???The Red Tree??™ illustrated and written by Shaun Tan is a picture book which is based on a variety of images and statements inspired by the experience of depression. The main Character is a lonely red-headed girl, who remains un named through the book, experiencing a lack of belonging to herself and connection to the world, causing to have the effect of alienation upon herself. Tan uses many techniques in conveying this deep meaningful piece towards the audience, helping to engage the viewer to become aware of those who don??™t have a safe place in the world in which we live in today.
A lack of belonging ones self can create negative perceptions of the world.
– Use of symbolism created through dramatic images, depicting the girl??™s emotions.
– Reputation of a red autumn leaf, symbolising the little hope she has in the world, camouflaged in each picture painting.
– Title page best describes her emotional inner self, as we are viewed with the red-headed girl slouching carelessly over a paper hat, floating in the middle of the water.
– The paper hat floating in water, with words written all over it, to express how she truly feels, floating towards an orange leaf.
– The use of juxtaposition used through black leaves surrounding the hat boat, contrasted towards the lonely red leaf, showing that the girl sees more negative than positives in the world, over ruling the hope which she has of feeling belonged.
– First page of the story we are shown with the red-headed girl sitting up in bed, surrounded with a few black leaves symbolising the negativity which she has that the day started.
– Also been expressed through the use of tone ???sometimes the day begins with nothing to look forward to???.
– shown through the image that the girl forces isolation within herself, due to the door wide shut, and the blinds on the window closed, trying to create a barrier from letting anyone in, symbolic through the dull bleak colours of her room, towards her emotional self.
– techniques are often contradicted through the alarm clock sitting beside her bed, indicating that she is running out of time, and that she wants to find belonging.
– framed red leaf directly above her bed, showing that she treasures each moment of hope within her life.
– The next page through the book shows that the black leaves over power her empty lost room, forcing her to leave the room, indicating that negatives often push you to work harder in life.
– The painted image ???nobody understands??? shows the viewer of the red-headed girl trapped in a bottle, symbolic of a barrier to open up to the world.
– The girl wears a gas mask in the picture showing us that she is slowly suffocating, and scared of how the world perceives her image, by hiding her face.
– The stormy weather, symbolic of how she feels, fills up the bottle which she lays in, symbolising drowning in her own tears.
– the horizon of the picture, is clear with white clouds and bright blue skies showing that there is still hope and life, but she is not able to reach it, due to being stuck in the bottle.
– repetition of the word ???and wait??™ and the constant tally marks, tells the reader that she has wanted belonging for a long time and still hasn??™t been able to reach the satisfactory level.
– Tally marks done on top of a large snail, shows that it is a slow process, shown also through the snail going around in circles, backing up the statement ???but nothing ever happens???.
– ???wonderful things passing you by???, shown with the red-headed girl looking out the window, which uses the technique of salience, with a padlock shutting the window with the word ???regret??™ engraved on it. This creates a meaning that the girl wishes to open up to the world, but she can??™t due to feeling regret for everything which lays inside her. This creates a barrier in helping her to feel a sense of belonging within herself and the world.
– The use of bright, happy colours, and text, soon used through the technique of juxtaposition with the next page of ???terrible fates are inevitable??? which shows dark red colours.
– this page shows the a board game and dice, symbolising that you need to take one step at a time, to get closer to feeling belonged and developing a sense of identity. It shows that you need to take chances in order to receive what is needed, shown through the dice, and the steps of good and bad, on the border of the picture.
– ???Sometimes you just don??™t know what you are supposed to do??? shown with the red-headed girl on stage, not belonging with anything else, as she feels out of place. She is on stage in a clown costume through irony making a ???joke??™ of herself.
-???or who you are meant to be??? as the red-headed girl draws herself on a wall, facing backward, instead of revealing her face, showing that she is ashamed and doesn??™t have a developed sense of identity within herself.
– ???and the day seems to end the way it began??? suggesting no improvement or hope noticed throughout the day, having poor self-confidence been revealed, as she believes there is no chance of survival in the life she lives in.
– second last page revels the red-headed girl going back into her plain dull bedroom. As she opens the door, a light shines in, directing the viewer??™s eyes towards the salience of a red stem plant in the direct middle of her room. ???But suddenly there it is right in front of you, bright vivid and quietly waiting???
– the last page of the book shows the red-headed girl looking up towards a large red tree, symbolising that there is hope, and that she shouldn??™t give up no matter what.
– We also notice that she is comfortable in leaving the door open with the light shining though, as she builds up the confidence, motivating herself to see a sense of belonging within herself.
Without a belief in one??™s self it is difficult to establish a connection to the environment
– ???darkness overcomes you??? showing that the girl is always in the shadows, symbolising a large fish overhanging her body image. Those around her, contrasting them to be in the light, not noticing this large fish.
– symbolic meaning towards the fish, is that we kill fish all around the world, not taking in great amounts of thought of the harm or feelings it may have, as seen through the large fish eyes crying.
– The red-headed girl has the opportunity to seek help, but she feels worthless, deciding to shadow herself towards the world, creating a barrier of developing a connection within herself and others which through relationship can cause a connection through place.
– The bottle in ???nobody understands??? traps the red-headed girl from reaching the clear blue skies, as she decides to be stuck in a barrier due to her lack of trust in herself.
– ???Without sense or reason??? shows a clattered amount of images which the world views as values in different parts of the world. The red-headed girl looks up each ladder to find a sense of belonging in each place, but finds no connection.
– The world??™s values are fake, as they don??™t support any emotion when being created. This is why the red-headed girl finds it difficult to see any connection
– We are shown different language writing on each place, showing that this doesn??™t only occur in one place, but it is of the whole world. It also shows that people find these values more important, choosing to fulfil them, rather than helping those like the red-headed girl, feeling displaced in the world.
– The building are showing with faces on them, also indicating that we treat these values as people, caring for these values, when there is no emotional or true meaning within them.
– Plain Red and yellows used to tell the audience that its all the same values which we care for and that there is nothing interesting, nor different about them.
– ???Then all your troubles come at once??? This picture shows the red-headed girl in a small boat, been attacked from all angles as two large boats are about to crash in between her, due to a title wave. This is symbolic that she is scared to find a place of belonging in the environment, as she feels attacked and threatened from all angles.
– She also feels isolated that she will not have anyone with her, as people have high statuses. This is seen through the desert image of ???or where you are??? as she is of the lowest status, sitting down on the bottom of a hill, next to large hills and mountains, symbolising popularity and power, creating an understanding that she feels un important in the world.
– We are shown that she doesn??™t feel a sense of belonging within the world, but her own room, as she has difficulties in leaving it, and when she returns back home, she is presented with a big red tree, symbolising hope, and to not give up. This helps motivate her to find the sense of belonging within the world.
– The red-headed girl feels safe and secure within her room, as she is not judged by others, letting her to express her true identity. This is also shown through the leaf which follows her, where she feels secluded to do what she wants want??™s and who she wants to be, till the end of the book, where a tree full of these leaves shows that she is not limited.
– In the first and second page of the book, Every morning she struggles to get out of bed, but the dead leaves push her out, symbolising that she needs to get out of bed and search for a sense of belonging, in order to retrieve the satisfaction of the healthy red tree once again. This can also be hope and satisfaction of survival of the world due to having depression.