Tales From The Inner City by Shaun Tan Book Review
In today’s day and age, people are becoming much more isolated in the physical spaces they inhabit and it is human nature to either resist advice or to adopt it slavishly. The results of these two factors are loneliness and the fear of being different. A multimodal text, written and illustrated by Shaun Tan called Tales From The Inner City deals with many significant issues in human society that need desperate attention in order to bring change. Through the use of the different themes Shaun Tan has explored, both the Tiger and the Cat stories have used themes to alter a readers attitude towards an ongoing issue.
Through the use of the theme of peer pressure and the fear of being different, the Tiger story has been able to alter and change a readers attitude towards an issue. For example the quote “This is a great weakness of humankind. We are very self-conscious, easily embarrassed and, much like the tiger, generally want to look as respectable as possible all the time”. This quote demonstrates how we humans are concerned about our looks and appearance in the eyes of others. Humans are self-conscious about themselves and their appearance in order to fit into societies norms. This is in fact due to the fear of being different or being an outcast. People fear being different as we don’t want to be the odd one out in society and It is by nature that humans try to fit into societies norms so we are not classified as different. This short story, by Shaun Tan, shows how society is held back by peer pressure and the fear of being different and Shaun has used the theme of peer pressure to alter and change a readers attitude towards an issue.
Shaun Tan has also used the theme of discrimination in the Tiger story to alter a readers attitude towards an issue. For example the quote ‘Of course, it comes at great cost. These same subjects have also lost jobs, friends, lovers, the respect of communities; they’ve been verbally abused on public transport, denied service in restaurants, expelled from religious and educational institutions, even harassed by the police.’’ This quote tells the reader how the people who wear a mask are being treated by the public. Nowadays people classified as different do not receive the same treatment as people who fit the social norm and this goes to show how humans are quick to judge and talk down on other people about their looks and appearance because they’re so-called different to everyone else and don’t fit into societies norms. This theme of discrimination in the Tiger story has been able to alter a readers attitude towards the issue.
Through the use of the theme of loneliness and unfulfillment, the Cat story can alter and change a readers attitude towards an issue. For example “She now cried at breakfast and cried at dinner and then at every picture of a cat, especially if it was a striped one”. This quote demonstrates how much of an impact animal like cats have on humans. Without cats or any sort of animals, humans have this sense of darkness, loneliness and even hopelessness. Their cat, Tugboat, who had given purpose to the lives of the mother and her daughter had just gone missing. The mother was so immersed in juggling the familial and work responsibilities that she feels metaphorically consumed by the sea. Shaun Tan uses the cat as a symbol of rebirth and resurrection between the cat and humans. This is because they are nocturnal, are associated with darkness and also represents love and companion as people start to feel sad because the cat isn’t there. Shaun Tan has used the theme of loneliness and unfulfillment to alter the reader’s attitudes towards an issue.
This multimodal text, written by Shaun Tan has given readers a deeper understanding of the nature of humans and animals and shown how he has used multiple themes to change a readers perspective on a certain issue. By reading these two texts, I have been able to approach and look at things differently towards serious issues.