The Rabbits-Deconstruction of Visual Essay

698 WordsSep 15, 20113 Pages
John Marsden’s and Shaun Tan’s epic picture book, “The Rabbits”, is an allegorical fable about colonisation, told from the perspective of the natives. An unseen narrator describes the coming of ‘rabbits’ in the most minimal detail, an encounter that is at first friendly and curious, but later darkens as it becomes apparent that the visitors are actually invaders. My chosen image (above), embodies the overall style of the book which is deliberately sparse and strange. Both text and image conveys an overall sense of bewilderment and anxiety as native numbat-like creatures witness the environmental devastation under the wheels of a strange new culture, represented by the rabbits. The image projects a painting of a striking sunset and…show more content…
This metaphorically suggests that the rabbits have already begun to construct their homes, and now nobody can stop them. Their forceful invasion into the native indigenous landscape is further emphasised by the dead lizard featured in the foreground, which has been brutally squashed with seemingly no remorse. Furthermore, the buildings in the background are entirely formed by jigsaw pieces. Thus Tan presents us with a visual allegory of the rabbit society as manipulative and un-relentless nature. The small strip across the top of the visual, presents us with an alternate world that is natural and heaven-like where numbat-like creatures are suspended upon tree branches. The gaze of the numbat-like creatures leads us to the quote, “They didn’t live in trees like we did”. Through the inclusion of text Tan portrays that the numbat-like creatures don’t understand the rabbits. This quote does not show any strong emotions, but instead the blatant tone bestows a ‘clueless’ feeling to us, the responders. This section is very small in contrast to the rest of the image showing the rabbits. This symbolically represents the unprecedented manner in which the rabbits came and quickly “made their own houses”. At observing the picture more closely, we can conclude that where the numbat-like creatures are sitting, the sky is lighter compared to where the rabbits are placed; implying that the lighter colour is the time the numbat-like creatures were familiar

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