Personality is the way that she grew up and struggled with poverty as a young person, she has learnt to put materialistic possessions before the most important things in life such as the relationships with her family members. Gwen is a woman who is content living in a repetitious routine she does not like change and feels threatened when her daughter begins to mature and form her own opinions. “Throw your future away. Give it away. Throw what I have done, what we have done, in our faces” [Ref. la)] Gwen feels threatened by the way she thinks her daughter is determined to live her life.
Gwen is an extremely independent woman and does not like to appear weak or be in any position of weakness, and throughout her Journey she is given the option to change the way she is. Returning to the way that Gow uses physical aspects in life to represent the inner journey really taking place in the scene of the storm Gwen is stripped of virtually all her materialistic possessions and it is only then that she realises what is truly important. For her to realise that she needs her family she needed to be stripped of what she thought was important and in reality give up on trying to protect the things hat can be destroyed in a single storm.
Visually in the play Gow uses silent scenes to show outer and inner movement. This is an outstanding use of visual technique and really shows the audience how the play is to finish. Using small gestures to portray a larger and much more significant gesture is the physical use of metaphor. “[She unwraps it. It is a pair of slippers. She looks at them, then at him and walks away, a bit overcome. JIM goes to her and they embrace. ]”[Ref. 1b)]. This simple silent scene shows the restoration of the relationship between Gwen and her husband Jim. Gwen has gone from complete independency to co-dependency with her husband.
Dialogue has given the audience insight to what type of woman Gwen is and how manipulative and sharp her words are. Metaphor has been used very effectively such as the storm portraying the chaos occurring in Gwen’s mind and finally the calm after the storm shows the change in Gwen’s attitude towards her family. Metaphor has become an ongoing theme in this drama and through the physical changes in environment and weather; Gow has constructed an inner Journey in each of his characters and portrayed it visually. Journey can be constructed in a form of text as simple as a picture book.
This way of showing Journey is extremely effective visually. Colin Thompsons “The Violin Man”, is completely different to the previously discussed text and is in the form of a picture book. Although the book still communicates to the audience visually, the pictures must show the Journey rather than seeing actual people act out the Journey. To add complexity to the plot there is no real physical Journey to take place but rather a journey entirely based on the past. This text challenges the boundaries between the eal world that exists and the imaginary world that changes for whoever is taking the journey.
In this case the person taking the Journey is a lonely old man called Oscar. The real world that this man lives in is a cold dark world where people walk past him continuously as he plays his beautiful music through an old violin. In the first double page spread the old man is pictured holding his violin and the picture is quite simple. The use of dark and light is extremely significant as the viewer progresses through the book, in this particular picture there are two simple yellow spotlights and hey give light to people waiting in a line and Oscar holding his violin. Oscar lived in a world of dreams. And when he played the violin outside the theatre, he took other people into his world too” [Ref. 2 a)]. This picture is quite dull and shows the reader that the real world is not necessarily the best place to be. As the page is turned the journey begins and readers are taken to a familiar scene, but it has been altered considerably. Brilliant colours and characters shower the page where the light shone in the previous page. The dark areas such as brick wall and pavement remain the ame but the light areas show what Oscar sees and the places that he escapes to.
In essence it shows where he takes people when they listen to his music. This story follows the everyday routine of an old man who has lost his daughter, a beautiful ballerina who would dance to the music he played on the streets. When Oscar lost his daughter he really traded the Journey to fulfil his lifelong dream for the imaginary journey to his past where he can play with his daughter. Thompson uses irony in his book because Oscar continues to wait for his chance to play in the theatre and when e is given the chance to do so he realises that the dream no longer holds any Joy for him. He closed his eyes again to see Marietta, but she wasn’t there either. “[Ref 2. b)]This is ironic because by Oscar closing his eyes he opens his eyes to the imaginary world and is discomforted because his daughter cannot be found on the journey he is sampling. As Oscar realises that he would rather be playing in the streets the audience discovers that by playing in the streets Oscar recreates the past and the Joys of playing music for his dead daughter. Oscar is content living in the dream world and he allows the past to dictate his future.
This can be related back to Gwen in GoWs “Away’, who allows the past to dictate her future and although she is given the chance to move on, Oscar in comparison makes a conscious decision to stay in the past. The Journey to forgetting the past and moving on with the future is commonly used in writing and is significant in “Away’ and “The Violin Man” because although the characters are faced with the same problem they both deal with it differently. “The Violin Man” does not use necessarily comforting pictures but rather the use of abstract objects and completely random scenarios make the world that
Oscar lives in completely absurd. Thompson has used symbolism very effectively, in one picture Oscar is seen sitting on a chair sipping tea, but the strange thing is at the feet of the chair the reader sees Oscar becoming part of the chair that looks rather like a tree trunk. This doesn’t mean that Oscar is part of nature itself but rather the routine he is stuck in has become a part of him and he has been set so long in the same nature that it has grown on him and slowly been taken over by the growth.
In reference to his Journey this growth that is his imagination has hindered him from aking the Journey to fulfil his dream and stopped him from moving on. By using extreme forms of symbolism and contrast to what is real and imaginary Colin Thompson has shown the audience the kind of power imagination can hold over the way somebody will, or will not continue on their life Journeys. Journey is very well constructed in the form of a picture book because audiences can relate directly to what they see on the pages.
There are many different styles of picture books and “The Red Tree” by Shaun Tan, is a strange book that represents all three Journeys, physical, inner and imaginative. This text is also a picture book but extremely different to “The Violin Man”. Rather than using a specific character the main character in this book is not anybody in particular but rather a reflection of whoever is reading the book, taking each reader on their own Journey. This character is already an example of symbolism in the book. On the first page the small girl is pictured in her bedroom and small black leaves are scattered around her room.
The use of symbolism in this book is outstanding, already on the first page the physical journey begins with a new day symbolising the beginning of a Journey. The black eaves represent troubles, doubts and worries that the little girl feels introducing the imaginative and inner Journey that she is about to make. “Sometimes the day begins with nothing to look forward to”. [Ref. 3a)] As the young girl continues through her day she faces obstacles that challenge the borders between the real world and the imaginary world that exists inside her.
Much like “The Violin Man”, “The Red Tree” is a book that shows various everyday life aspects but with some form of absurdity to depict the imaginary world escaping from the mind. This challenges the boundaries between what is real and what is not. In each picture a pattern begins to form and a small red leaf is shown but the girl never seems to see it or even look for it. Again the use of symbolism is put into practice and the red leaf signifies hope or happiness but the character is so focused on the negative aspects of life she fails to see the positive.