Scott Mccloud: A Textual Analysis

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What is an icon? Why are icons important? Why do we use icons? Scott McCloud, author of Understanding Comics, defines the icon as “any image used to represent a person, place thing or idea” (27). Icons are all around us, and can have main different meanings. Symbols, one category of icon, are used to represent concepts, ideas, and philosophies (McCloud 27). Symbols do not look like the items they represent because they often represent abstract topics. Iconography is the interpretation of visual images and symbols to find what concepts, ideas, or philosophies they represent (Shapinsky). A medium in which symbols are utilized as the core method of communicating feelings is graphic novels. Arrival, a graphic novel by Shaun Tan, tells the story of a man who leaves his impoverished homeland to venture to an unfamiliar city in search of a better life for his family. With only a…show more content…
The scene then rotates between panels of the protagonist running and waving, and panels of his wife and daughter arriving at the new city. After a close up panel of the man’s daughter smiling, signifying that she sees her father running and waving, Tan then shows close ups of a suitcase being dropped and a hat falling to the ground (Tan 5). This is one of the most important pieces of symbolism used by Tan in the entire book. In the opening scene, when the protagonist is leaving his family, Tan makes a point to show panels of both the daughter handing her father his suitcase and of the protagonist putting on his hat (Tan 1). This makes these two item symbolic of the family’s part, and now, in the climax of the story, Tan introduces the two items again. However, this time the luggage is being dropped and the hat falling symbolize that there parting is now over, and that the protagonist’s conflict of being reunited with his family in the new land has been

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