Für neue Autoren:
kostenlos, einfach und schnell
Für bereits registrierte Autoren
29 Seiten, Note: 1,0
2 Text and Illustrations in Picturebooks
2.1 Examining Picturebooks from a Semiotic Perspective
2.2 Approaches to the Relationships between the Visual and the Verbal in Picturebooks
2.2.1 ‘Synergestic Relation’ and the ‘Pictorial Third’
2.2.2 Temporality (and Spatiality)
2.2.3 Linearity and Simultaneity
3 Text and Illustrations in Alan A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh (1988)
3.1 Narrative Framing
3.2 Negotiating the Meaning and Function of Words
3.3 Temporality and Spatiality
3.4 Relations between the Linearity of Text and the Simultaneity of Illustrations
3.5 Text and Pictures in Relation to Aspects of Temporality and Spatiality
3.6 The Linearity of Text and the Simultaneity of Illustrations as Entwined Concepts
Picturebooks have always been among the most popular and vitally important literary types in the field of children’s literature. Narrative picturebooks in particular are often described as a “unique visual and literary art form” (Wolfenbarger/Sipe 2007: 273), since they combine visual and verbal narration of stories that appeal not only to child audiences but also capture the adult reader’s attention and interest, as they often invite the reader into colorful and dynamic fictional or non-fictional stories. Due to this unique and intriguing nature, several literary scholars such as Nikolajeva, Scott, Johnston and Sipe investigated what they regard the most representative characteristic of picturebooks: the interrelationships between the Visual and the Verbal.
In order to illuminate the various and dynamic ways in which text and illustrations interrelate and how they depend on and even transform each other, Maria Nikolajeva, Carole Scott and Lawrence R. Sipe established interesting theses as well as useful terms, that assist a detailed and elaborate analysis of the interplay between the Visual and the Verbal in picturebooks.
In this respect, the following thesis sheds light on the scholars’ assumptions that the combination of text and illustrations in picturebooks not only constructs the temporal and spatial structure of a narrative in terms of revealing spatial movements or temporal progression, but it also discloses the inherent linear character of words and the text as well as the primary simultaneous and static nature of illustrations and pictures. In a further step, the thesis draws on these basic notions in a more detailed analysis of Alan A. Milne’s illustrated book “Winnie-the-Pooh ” (1988) in order to illuminate the various ways in which text and illustrations can interact with each other. Thereby, it scrutinizes scenes in which the linearity of the verbal and the simultaneity and discontinuity of illustrations as well as their potential to refer to the temporal and spatial structure of the narrative is confirmed. However, the thesis argues that the interplay between text and illustrations in “Winnie-the-Pooh ” not only unfolds its potential to blur the boundaries between the different narrative frames that can be examined. In fact, the thesis also questions the scholars’ assumptions by revealing that the visual and the verbal mediate between the concepts of the linearity of text and the simultaneity and unsteadiness of illustrations, as they tend to adopt both of these characteristics and, thus, create a superordinate meaning.
Within the wide field of children’s literature the picturebook takes an important and unique position for many reasons. Narrative picturebooks1 in particular appeal to both children and adults, as they invite them into stories that are constructed and vitalized through the interplay between visual and verbal elements. These literary types may be distinguished into several categories: Some books contain many pictures or illustrations, which primarily construct the narrative, and make use of words and text secondarily, whereas others include nearly no additional text or words. Furthermore, there are picturebooks (or illustrated books) in which only a few illustrations display specific scenes and actions while the story emerges mainly from the written text. From the conceptual differences between these kinds of picturebooks arises the question, in which ways illustrations and text relate to and depend on each other, how meaning is encoded by means of this interplay and finally how the relation between illustrations and text influences readers (,and listeners in the event of reading picturebooks aloud,) in their process of making meaning.
Many scholars such as Lawrence R. Sipe, Maria Nikolajeva, William Moebius and Jane Doonan discovered that the interrelationship between illustrations and text in its varying complexity is the most important characteristic of picturebooks and crucial in order to understand its dynamics. Concerning this matter, Rosemary Ross Johnston refers to many investigations that have been made so far:
At the heart of the picturebook is the dialogic conversation it has within itself, between the art of its words and the art of its pictures - the interaction it sets up in the spaces between and beyond its words and pictures. This conversation constructs its worldview, and works in a synergistic tension extending or interrogating meaning by juxtapositions, by mutual supplementation, by contradiction, and by dialogic interrelationship.
(Ross Johnston et al. 2011: 599)
With this declaration Johnston summarizes the examinations of many scholars on picturebooks: They are considered to be highly complex and “unique visual and literary art form[s]” (Wolfenbarger/Sipe 2007: 273), as they combine visual images and verbal elements and therefore convey meaning by means of “two different sets of languages […]: the language (in the usual sense) of the sequence of words and the language of the sequence of pictures” (Sipe 2012: 5). This distinction between the ways in which words and pictures construct and carry meaning indicates that it is essential to examine words and pictures from a semiotic point of view in order to develop an idea of how these two different systems can work together and how new meaning is constructed, which is “more than the sum of [its] parts” (Sipe 2012: 11).
In their essay “A Semiotic Perspective of Text: The Picture Story Book Event” Golden and Gerber suggest that the picturebook’s characteristic combination of verbal and visual elements generates highly complex and interwoven spheres of possible interpretations, that result from its unique way of conveying meaning by means of different sign systems (cf. Golden/Gerber 1990: 203). However, before continuing with a more specific description of the above mentioned difference, it is helpful to look at Ferdinand de Saussure’s understanding of the concept ‘sign’, since his overall understanding of this aspect is reflected in Golden’s assumptions as well as in Nikolajeva’s suggestions about this aspect.
Ferdinand de Saussure, a French linguist, argues that “language is a system of signs” (Saussure, in: Rivkin/Ryan 1998: 76-90), in which the (linguistic) sign always consists of two components, the signifier and the signified, which are “psychological and […] united in the brain by an associative bond” (ibid.). Saussure introduces these two terms in order to indicate that words as linguistic signs consist of both the so called “sound-image” (the spoken or unspoken signifier) and the mental concept (signified) that is carried (cf. ibid.). Furthermore, he suggests that signifier and signified “are intimately united, and each recalls the other” (ibid.), since hearing or reading the word “tree”, for instance, automatically evokes the idea of a tree in our minds and vice versa. However, Saussure also emphasizes that signifier and signified of the linguistic sign (word) have “no natural connection” (ibid.) to one another, since each existing language contains individual signifiers in order to describe one and the same concept.
Parallels to Saussure’s understanding of the terms sign, signifier and signified can also be found in Nikolajeva’s and Scott’s investigations. They examine picturebooks from a semiotic perspective by means of distinguishing between what they call conventional and iconic signs (cf. Nikolajeva/Scott 2001: 1). In their judgement, visual images (pictures, illustrations etc.) are iconic signs, as the signifiers directly refer to a certain concept mostly by means of formal resemblance (cf. ibid.): For instance, a picture of a tree directly refers to a real tree or the idea of a real tree in our minds. In this case, not the sound-image of the word ‘tree’ but the material form of a visual representation of a tree (i.e. pixels or lines) functions as the signifier, by which we recognize the respective concept. Similarly to Saussure’s concept of the linguistic sign, Nikolajeva and Scott define words as conventional signs, that do not directly represent the signified concept, but only carry meaning that society agrees upon (cf. ibid.): The word ‘tree’, for instance, has no direct reference to the concept evoked in our minds, but our society agreed upon using this specific sequence of letters in order to symbolize the concept through verbal language.
In this respect, picturebooks feature a combination or fusion between conventional and iconic signs, which opens various ways of interpretation, since the dynamic interplay between text and illustrations construct meaning that is in excess of the messages both carry on their own. Golden and Gerber confirm and expand this understanding by suggesting that the picturebook as a whole can be regarded as a “potential sign” (Golden/Gerber 1990: 207). They not only regard the two sign systems as essential for the generation of a narrative, but they also put emphasis on how readers and listeners individually make meaning of picturebooks and how this results in multiple forms of interpretation (cf. Golden/Gerber 1990: 205). Moreover, Golden and Gerber refer to the additional dynamics the picturebook might develop when being used and performed in social contexts, i.e. when an adult reads to children. In such a case, the interpretation of the picturebook narrative “depend[s] upon what the symbol offers, what the reader brings, and how the text is mediated by participants in a social context” (ibid.). In actively ‘performing’ the picturebook (aloud), the reader subjectively interprets the combination of the sign systems due to his experience, knowledge and underlying ideology, and thus unconsciously selects what ‘is worth’ emphasizing. Golden and Gerber hereby indicate that the way a picturebook story is presented by a reader might “limit the [interpretation of the narrative] by not capturing other ways” (Golden/Gerber 1990: 206) of understanding.
Many researchers agree upon the fact that the relationship between text and illustrations in its various forms is a matter of high significance when analyzing and appreciating picturebooks. In this respect, the following chapters draw on several scholars’ investigations by selectively introducing relevant analytical concepts, in accordance to which certain forms of the interdependence between illustrations and text in picturebooks can be illuminated. Although it has often been criticized that many inquiries still regard pictures and illustrations as subordinate to the verbal text and, thus, lack in highlighting and scrutinizing the close relation between the visual and the verbal in picturebooks (cf. Nikolajeva/Scott 2000: 225), the sum of the investigations made by scholars such as Nikolajeva, Moebius, Nodelman and Sipe established a list of clear and detailed terminologies as well as exemplary descriptions, that serve as scaffolds for an elaborate analysis. In spite of the high number of serviceable approaches and terms that have been developed so far, such as the different forms of word- picture-interaction determined by Nikolajeva and Scott2, the following paragraphs primarily concentrate on how the text and illustrations in narrative picturebooks convey concepts such as temporality and spatiality and how the linearity of the verbal and the simultaneity of the visual manifest. These aspects are addressed after the notion of synergy has been introduced. This term was developed by Lawrence R. Sipe, a scholar of education and literature specifically interested in how children generate literacy skills with the aid of picturebooks, and can be regarded as a superordinate term, as it illustrates the essential role of the text- picture-interaction within processes of interpretation or meaning-making.
In his essay “How Picture Books Work: A Semiotically Framed Theory of Text-Picture Relationships” Lawrence R. Sipe emphasizes that when analyzing the relations between illustrations and text, it is important not to regard the verbal and the visual in terms of superiority or inferiority, since “the text-picture relationship is not so much a matter of balance of power as it is the way in which the text and pictures transact with each other, and transform each other” (Sipe 1998: 98). Herewith, Sipe highlights that pictures and text have to be regarded as interdependent and equal contributors to what makes the picturebook a “unique visual and literary art form” (Wolfenbarger/Sipe 2007: 273), even if extreme forms of picturebooks, such as nearly wordless or pictureless books, are subjects of examination. For this reason, he exclusively uses the compound word “picturebook” instead of the separated term “picture book” in his later works in order to display the inseparability of visual and verbal elements (cf. Sipe 2001: 23) .
Sipe builds the various ways in which the verbal and the visual can interact on his assumption that words and pictures “have a synergistic relationship” (Sipe 1998: 98), that they establish a connection by combining their individual ways of communicating meaning in order to construct more complex and elaborate spheres of interpretation. This concept is also reflected and extended by Michael Meyer’s assumption that images and text can engage in an “infinite intermedial dialog” (Meyer 2015: 5), in which they corporately create a new space of meaning, a “pictorial third” (ibid.), in which a superordinate sense is generated through the dynamic and constructive process of negotiation between the visual and the verbal.
Narrative picturebooks, which probably is the most popular and utilized type, often feature unique and dynamic ways of creating a story, since they are characterized by the interplay of a visual narrative, composed of a number or sequence of illustrations, and a verbal narrative, which is developed by means of the sequence of words and text-passages. In this respect, Nikolajeva and Scott argue that “picturebooks present a unique challenge and opportunity in their treatment of spatiality and temporality” (Nikolajeva/Scott 2001: 139), which are important aspects when analyzing narrative structures.
In their book “How Picturebooks Work” Nikolajeva and Scott examine how the interplay between words and pictures develop temporal and spatial characteristics of the narrative in terms of “movement and duration” (Nikolajeva/Scott: 2001: 140). Despite the “static” (Nikolajeva/Scott 2001: 139) nature of pictures, they still argue that there are several techniques of using illustrations in order to create a sense of movement or process (cf. ibid.), which can receive support from the accompanying verbal text. The authors especially highlight the way the illustrator uses sequences of pictures in order to display a character’s developing movement such as jumping, running, falling or turning around. Thereby, every picture illustrates a different phase and is linked to the previous and the following ones in a way that “encourage[s] us to apprehend a temporal - and often causal - relationship between them” (Nikolajeva/Scott: 2001: 146). Consequently, the readers or listeners are asked to perceive the sequential illustrations as a temporal succession and to imagine a flowing and continuous spatial movement. Consequently, they are engaged in a complex process of filling the gaps the picture-sequence itself is not able to fully present due to its broken nature (cf. Nikolajeva/Scott 2001: 139).
As emphasized in the previous chapters, picturebooks are especially characterized by the dynamic interrelationship between pictures and the text. Therefore, it is essential to examine how the visual and the verbal construct the “duration of a narrative” (Meyer 2011: 88) - both individually and in combination. In spite of the potential of illustrations to establish a sense of temporal progression and movement in a narrative, it still remains difficult to judge over which period of time specific events of the narrative occur. Referring to this, it is important to analyze how story-time and discourse-time, as they are known, create the duration of a narrative (cf. Meyer 2011: 88) and in which ways they interrelate and influence each other - the former concept is defined as “the duration of the purported events of the narrative” (Chatman 1978: 62), whereas the latter can be described as the time needed to perceive the text in different manners (cf. Meyer 2011: 88).
The relationship between discourse-time and story-time in narratives, and thus in narrative picturebooks, can take several forms. If the duration in which the story is told by the narrator (discourse- time) is balanced with the duration of the actual story (story-time), the relationship is called a scene (cf. Meyer 2011: 88). Additionally, the narrator might use techniques such as a verbal summary or an ellipsis by reducing discourse-time in order to skip a longer temporal period between two events. Furthermore, the narrator can expand or emphasize specific events by extending discourse-time beyond the duration of the events in the story (story-time). Whereas an ellipsis is an “extreme form of summary” (Nikolajeva/Scott 2001: 157), since it reduces discourse-time to zero, a pause can be used to ‘exit’ the flow of the narrative at some point in order to describe, reflect or comment on specific details or events (cf. Meyer 2011: 88). Consequently, story-time is turned to zero in these particular cases.
These terms indicate that discourse-time and story-time in narratives are closely interrelated and even arranged in a causal relationship with each other. With regard to the behavior of these notions in picturebooks and illustrated books, the question remains, in which ways illustrations and verbal text are able to display, for instance, long or short periods of time as well as fast or slow movements by means of influencing discourse-time and story-time. In order to establish an understanding how text and illustrations support each other and equalize “each other’s insufficiencies” (Nikolajeva/Scott 2001: 139) in terms of temporality and spatiality, two additional theories about the visual and verbal sign systems are helpful: Many researchers suggest that words, the symbolic or conventional signs (see chapter 3.1), are in their nature linear and convey meaning sequentially, whereas pictures appear simultaneously in a sense that visual information is presented to a reader or viewer all at once (cf. Sipe 1998: 99). On this account, the following chapter introduces the understanding of the linearity of words and the simultaneity of illustrations and presents their close relationship to the above described concepts of temporality and spatiality.
1 Scholars distinguish between several types of picturebooks, especially between narrative and non-narrative ones. The following thesis only focuses on narrative picturebooks.
2 Nikolajeva and Scott developed five forms of text-picture-interaction (symmetrical, enhancing, complementary, counterpointing and contradictory interaction), which often cannot be clearly distinguished from one another, but still serve as useful terms in order to analyze the dynamic forms of this interdependence (cf. Nikolajeva/Scott 2000: 225-239 or Nikolajeva/Scott 2001: 11-26).
Der GRIN Verlag hat sich seit 1998 auf die Veröffentlichung akademischer eBooks und Bücher spezialisiert. Der GRIN Verlag steht damit als erstes Unternehmen für User Generated Quality Content. Die Verlagsseiten GRIN.com, Hausarbeiten.de und Diplomarbeiten24 bieten für Hochschullehrer, Absolventen und Studenten die ideale Plattform, wissenschaftliche Texte wie Hausarbeiten, Referate, Bachelorarbeiten, Masterarbeiten, Diplomarbeiten, Dissertationen und wissenschaftliche Aufsätze einem breiten Publikum zu präsentieren.
Kostenfreie Veröffentlichung: Hausarbeit, Bachelorarbeit, Diplomarbeit, Dissertation, Masterarbeit, Interpretation oder Referat jetzt veröffentlichen!