Empathy with Images and Narrative

oyster-205x300

[images online] Available at://blogs.crikey.com.au/literaryminded/2010/12/14/guest-review-gerard-elson-on-tim-burtons-the-melancholy-death-of-oyster-boy-and-other-stories/)[Accessed 15th December 2014]

Tim Burton, a man who tells stories which come with a dark shadow. The shadow that intrigues and shows a darker side to tales and fiction, and not ones that have fairytale endings.

In 1997 Burton created ‘The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories’ a collection of twenty-three illustrated short stories. The stories comprise of a set of characters, all of which are disfigured and seen as not normal. The children come with names, like Roy, the Toxic Boy,  Stain Boy and Oyster Boy. The names alone set of the imagination and create images of children that are seen as outcasts.

burtonart6

[images online] Available at://www.joblo.com/newsimages1/burtonart6-big.jpg [Accessed 15th December 2014]

Gerard Elson spoke about the characters

“…never complain, nor seem embittered, nor seek to settle the score. If they teach us anything, it’s that though life often sucks and other people can be jerks, there’s dignity in not allowing the injustice of it all to corrode your spirit or compromise your character.”

(Elson 2014)

This book explores the harder realities of life, and how if different you can become an outcast, subjected to a lonely life, yet the book gives permission that you may not be alone and that others out there can empathise with how you are feeling.

Returning to thoughts spoken in other posts about who’s need is it to avoid these darker aspects of life, and holding in mind my aim for the course, I returned to the work of Shaun McNiff, an Art Therapist who states

“To those questioning the therapeutic wisdom of welcoming disturbing figures, I can say I have never encountered an image in artwork or dream that came to harm the person experiencing it. A student once said to me “It may come to show me where I hurt, but it doesn’t want to hurt me.”

(Mc Niff, 2004 p.97)

This encompasses the ideal of creating images that do challenge and evoke emotions, and  as Tim Burton’s work clearly shows, it does not need to be explicit, but to resonate with the viewer to have a dual commonalty that the reader can empathise with.

References

  • Meyer, A, (2010) ‘Guest review: Gerard Elson on Tim Burton’s The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories'[online] Available at http://blogs.crikey.com.au/literaryminded/2010/12/14/guest-review-gerard-elson-on-tim-burtons-the-melancholy-death-of-oyster-boy-and-other-stories/) [Accessed December 15th 2014]
  • McNiff, S,(2004) ‘Art Heals, How Creativity Cures the Soul’, Shambhala, London
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