DEC Scan Journal : February 2013
Volume 32, February 2013 29 Contents Editorial Currents Teaching & learning Research Curriculum support Share this Resource reviews In teaching about point of view we need to provide students with extensive experience of engaging, enjoyable narratives that enable them to appreciate the visual construction of variation in point of view, and simultaneously, we need to ensure that they develop a consistent metalanguage for describing the options that are available for constructing different points of view. I would suggest that one excellent source of enjoyable texts for this purpose is the increasing number of what I will refer to as transmedia narratives, that is, literary narratives that exist as hardcopy and digital multimedia versions. In the following section of the paper I will briefly draw attention to some different forms of these transmedia literary narratives before providing an outline of Shaun Tan’s picture book, The lost thing (Tan, 2000), and the animated movie version (Ruhemann & Tan, 2010), which will be the main focus in this paper. In the subsequent section I will illustrate from The lost thing, a systematic account of options for the visual construction of point of view and compare the use of these options in the book and movie versions. The next section will discuss rear view images in The lost thing and how the use of these in segments of the animated movie contributes to the substantial difference in interpretive possibilities between those segments and the corresponding story segments in the book. In concluding, I will suggest that the exploration of point of view in interpretive responses to multimodal narratives can also inform the development of students’ multimodal composing, especially with the increasing availability of high quality 3D animation software suitable for student use. Picture books and transmedia narratives The experience of ostensibly the same story in paper and digital media formats is a substantial and increasingly routine aspect of literary culture for a broadening age range and social spectrum in the community, as some stories are now composed for the digital moving image format, such as The fantastic flying books of Mr Morris Lessmore (Joyce, 2011). A number of picture book authors are simultaneously producing book and digital media versions of their stories such as The heart and the bottle and its corresponding iPad app (Jeffers, 2009), and as a multimedia re-versioning of established literary works that bridge into popular culture. For many decades, well-regarded literary picture books in English have been reproduced as animated films. Perhaps the best and longest known of such films are those produced by Weston Woods in the USA. Books such as Rosie’s walk (Hutchins, 1968) soon appeared as an animated movie (Deitch, 1970) as did Maurice Sendak’s classic picture book (1962) Where the wild things are (Deitch, 1973). Point of view If students are to achieve these expectations they need to be able to identify the elements of language and image that are used to construct point of view and how they are deployed to effect the construction of different points of view. The subtlety and sophistication of focalisation (Genette, 1980) and shifts in point of view have long been the subject of detailed scholarly enquiry (Huhn, Schmid et al. 2009) but here we will simply draw on the basic distinction between (i) who is telling the story – the narrator, and (ii) from whose point of view, or through whose eyes, we experience the story. The verbal text can position the reader to experience the story from the perspective of an external observer or from the point of view of a character in the story, and this positioning may change to the point of view of other characters, or indeed to the external observer again, at various stages of the narrative. Images in picture books can also position the reader/viewer to experience the image from an external, unmediated viewpoint, or from a point of view similar to that of one of the characters in the image, or as if the reader/ viewer were one of the characters in the image (Unsworth, 2006; Painter, 2007; Painter, Martin et al. in press). Sometimes the points of view constructed by the verbiage and the image are consistent and sometimes they are different. The emphasis in this article will be on the construction of point of view in images. FOCALISATION – THE PERSPECTIVE THROUGH WHICH A NARRATIVE IS PRESENTED we need to ensure that they develop a consistent metalanguage for describing the options that are available for constructing different points of view... they need to be able to identify the elements of language and image that are used to construct point of view...