Essay: Visual storytelling

I. Introduction :

As Leonardo de Vinci said in the fifteenth century about visual storytelling ”And you who wish to represent by words the form of man and all the aspects of his memberification, relinquish that idea. For the more minutely you describe, the more you will confine the mind of the reader, and the more you will keep him from the knowledge of the thing described. And so it is necessary to draw and to describe.” Ecocriticism is the study of the relation between natural world and literature. It can be defined also as the prefix ‘Eco’ which is preferred by some for its ecological connotations ‘human and non-human webs of interrelation’ as Lawrence Buell calls. In this paper, Lawrence Buell ‘Ecocriticism’ four criteria are applied in the books I choose. The Perfect Hug by Joanna Walsh and Judi Abbot and the second book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn A Camping Primer by Jennifer Adams.

Literature Review:

In my knowledge, known wrote about the books I choose. Which are The Perfect Hug and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn A Camping Primer. In my study, I will explain the theory of Ecocriticism in literature. It will help the students to understand the theory. They are showing in a way or another the relation between the natural world and literature. Those books are similar to The Tale of Peter Rabbit by the British writer Beatrix Potter from the relation between the natural world and literature.

II. Children Picture Book:

Many children like pictures and their imagination is visual in a way that gives them an intuitive ability to understand pictorial information. The assumption about pictures is that they are automatically understandable. Children’s picture books combine visual and verbal narratives in a book format. It is special because it contains illustration, picture books give forms of pleasure different from other types of storytelling .The picture book is defined by Nancy Anderson, as “all books written for children, excluding works comic books , joke books, cartoon books, and non-fiction works that are not intended to be read from front to back, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other reference materials”. The books are around thirty to forty pages long, although some of them are less than thirty pages. It starts in 1400s, but in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, it became known as the “Golden Age of Children’s Literature” . The greatest example of a picture book for children is The Tale of Peter Rabbit by the British writer Beatrix Potter.

III. Ecocriticism :

Ecocriticism is “an umbrella term for a range of critical approaches that explore the representation in literature (and other cultural forms) of the relationship between the human and the non-human, largely from the perspective of anxieties around humanity’s destructive impact on the biosphere.” Lawrence Buell, whose measured views often provide a touchstone for Ecocriticism said: ‘crisis of the imagination the amelioration of which depends on finding better ways of imaging nature and humanity’s relation to it’. Buell’s book in ecocriticism ” The Environmental Imagination” he put his criteria in ecocriticism.

The movement starts slowly from 1960s until today, but it’s golden time in 1990s.The most excellent critics whose wrote about this theory are Thomas Hardy, Hugh Dunkerley and Lawrence Buell. The great book that symbolized this theory is Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor by Rob Nixon.

IV. Lawrence Buell criteria:

a. Biography:

Lawrence Bull The Professor Of American Literature Emeritus at The University of Harvard. Buell born in 1939. He known for his critical theory in Ecocriticism. Lawrence won many prizes because of his work. An example of the prizes is Warren-Brooks Award in 2003. He retired from Harvard in 2011.

b. The four criteria:

The critics Lawrence Buell in his book ” The Environmental Imagination” which published in September 1996. In his book he mention his four criteria in Ecocriticism. The first criteria is ‘The nonhuman environment is present not merely as a framing device but as a presence that begins to suggest that human history is implicated in natural history (Buell 7).’ The Second criteria is ” ‘The human interest is not understood to be the only legitimate interest’ (Buell 7). The third criteria is ” Human accountability to the environment is part of the text’s ethical orientation’ (Buell 7). The fourth and last criteria of Buell is ” Some sense of the environment as a process rather than as a constant or a given is at least implicit in this text’ (Buell 8).

IV. The Perfect Hug as an Ecocriticism:

a. The writer and the book:

Joanna Walsh is the writer of The Biggest Kiss book collection and Judi Abbot is the illustrator of this collection. The Perfect Hug is one of the books which published in 2014. It talks about small panda whose looking for the perfect kind of hug. Walsh is one of the best writers in this field who’s giving a great impression when you read the book for babies. The story is for the small children from zero to three years old. It consists of thirty two pages long. However, this book is called ‘a wonderful cuddle-up-and-read choice’ by School Library Journal.

b. Why it is ecocriticism:

‘The nonhuman environment is present not merely as a framing device but as a presence that begins to suggest that human history is implicated in natural history (Buell 7).’ It is Buell’s first criteria which meant to be that nonhuman environment presented as historical also. In this book the nonhuman environment is presented clearly. The panda the main character and the hero 0f the short story, in his trip he meet with dinosaurs. Dinosaurs belong to an old age before human beings. Throughout the picture, different types of dinosaurs are presented. This was a great example to explain this criteria. This picture is explain this criteria.

One of Lawrence Buell’s criteria is that the human interest is not only interest. It means that some creation has needs and interest too. In The Perfect Hug, the short story written by Joanna Walsh and Judi Abbot; the whole story is about a panda and his need for hug. These animals are portrayed as heroes of the tale and they try to show the best hug by hugging different kinds of animals and at last they reveal this perfect hug to be between two identical animals. It is an attempt from the author to present a good work for little children in order to make them enjoy perfect hugs and this process is shown by non-humans which are panda bears by being employed by the author in the miscellaneous images or illustrations added to the book which represent a kind and a sort of visual eco-criticism.

Lawrence Buell fourth and final criteria is ”Some sense of the environment as a process rather than as a constant or a given is at least implicit in this text’ (Buell 8). It meant to be that nothing is stable everything is changing. Being stable is meant to be died. So changing is mean that you are alive. From the story The Perfect Hug, the change is happened to the panda who is changing especially in emotions. The hero’s emotion is keep changing from being interested, uncomfortable, worried, wondering, scared and at the end happy.

The sense of environment is implicit in the text can be applied in the picture of the text also. In the story there the time and place are changed also. One time in the forest, or in the depth of the sea with jellyfish, or in the space till he back to the forest again. The changing in the universe from places, creation and time is one of the Ecocriticism criteria. Those two picture are symbolized the changing.

c. Concept of the hug:

A hug is a way to express love, peace and care for someone else. A hug is defined according to the Oxford Dictionary as ”Squeeze (someone) tightly in one’s arms, typically to express affection”. The origin of the word hug is ”’Mid-16th century: probably of Scandinavian origin and related to Norwegian hugga ‘comfort, console’.” It can be defined also as” is a physical action that involves putting arms around another person or group as a sign of love and affection.” There are several meaning that hug can say such as hello, hi, love you, miss you and so on. A hug is stronger than words. It expresses feeling and you know whether it is a true hug or not through feeling only.

A hug is used as a medicine also and it is a new way for treating some illness. Because hug is important, the writer uses it as the one and only idea. The panda was not happy until he found the real hug that fit him. Hugs are great. Hugs stands for a sense of closeness and affection to others. This concept of closeness concerns very intimately our mood levels. Very broadly speaking now low mood can be connected commonly with emotions of isolation and being lonely. Connecting with others can help to make these feelings less and induce a positive change in mood.

V. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn a Camping Primer:

a. The writer and the book:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as one of children’s novels and which was written by Mark Twain is considered eco-criticism as in its different aspects there is an attempt of the author to reveal the hatred towards racism and shows interaction between man and his natural surroundings in environment around him. The book I choose is illustrated by Jennifer Adams. It talks about a boy who goes to camp with his friend. Jennifer Adams is interested in children’s literature and she wrote and illustrated many children’s books. She made the book easy for children .The writer quoted some lines from the Twain original book. This book was rewritten to be suitable for the babies from zero to three years old.

b. Why it is Ecocriticism:

Buell’s first criteria which is ”the nonhuman environment is present not merely as a framing device but as a presence that begins to suggest that human history is implicated in natural history ( Buell 7).” It means that the nature is showing as a part of the history. In applying this criteria on the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn A Camping Primer, You can read the history of the work by its environment. Throughout the story, the presented environment is in old ages. No electric machines, lights and new boats or anything else. Instead of that, nature and nothing else is presented. A home in the river bank, a wood boat with a paddle, a raft in the river with a hanging lanterns, fishing line, cooking on a wood and lying on the river bank. All of these things are related in a way or another to human in previous ages. This picture can explain the nature life.

Buell’s third criteria which is ” human accountability to the environment is part of the text’s ethical orientation ( Buell 7 ).” It means that humans are take part to the environment. Human beings are responsible for what happened in the environment. This story shows that the old man was a friend for nature. They did not use chemicals, car, machines and such things that destroy nature. If we compare the environment in the story and our environment now; we can reach to the conclusion that we are not good to the nature now.

Lawrence fourth criteria which is ” Some sense of the environment as a process rather than as a constant or a given is at least implicit in the text (Buell8).” It is meant to be that the life is not constant it is moving. By the story, nothing is fixed but changing. The time is very significant in the book. The change from sunrise, to the sunset till the darkness of night. The changeful color of the sky is a great example of this criteria. The action also, in every page there is new things. This criteria can applied in every single page of this short story. This picture is symbolized and explain the changing.

c. Concept of friendship:

Friendship is a human need and a relationship that has existed across historical times in all types of societies. Friendship is defined according to the Oxford Dictionary as ” The emotions or conduct of friends; the state of being friends”. The origin of the word friendship is ”Old English fr??ondscipe”. There is chemistry between friends. They might have the same or common interest to spend the time and enjoy with each other. They are affected by the behavior of each other. Both friends seem like they are the same person if they are old friends. They use the same vocabulary and do similar actions.

The true friend can give you happiness, help and inspiration. The story discusses the friends who goes together in the adventures and share the experience of camping. Friendship comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors.

VI. Conclusion:

To sum up, the two books which were written especially for little children are some form of ecocriticism that mainly relates and addresses the interrelation between humans and non-humans in some environment showing the effects of this on ecological issues and human interests. These books have to be seen from this perspective as they imply different aspects of human life. The adventures of Huckleberry should be looked at as a revolution against racism in all their forms together with all its proponents. As one of the best illustrated books written mainly for little children comes The Perfect Hug which is regarded as one of the greatest works done by Joanna Walsh.

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