Book Analysis: Analysis Of Intertextuality In Moby Dick

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Picturebook Analysis

The book’s title is “a combination of a name and an epithet or appellation” (Nikolajeva & Scott, 2006, p.242). The reader can expect that the protagonist is a boy. “Incredible” and “book eating” further reveal the theme of the story; the word “incredible” implies an evaluation of the main character, which may disclose the opinion and focus of the narrator. The cover also foreshadows what the story may be about. Each word is represented in different fonts and sizes on the cover (2007 edition): “incredible” forms an arch in eye-catching red; “book”, which is a collage of pages from books and notebooks, seems to be slightly bigger than the other words; “boy” is painted in warm orange tones identical to Henry’s hoodie and
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Some of Jeffers’ humour, however, might only be understood by more experienced readers, which sheds light on the idea of intertextuality that “requires the reader to use background knowledge in order to access the available meaning” (Anstey, 2002, p.447). In addition to the above intertextual references, Jeffers also presents the “fish and chips” joke which may not be grasped by younger readers who do not know Moby Dick. The illustration shows a plate with the book titled Moby Dick, chips, and peas on it (figure 5). Arizpe found that this is difficult to grasp for 10 and 11-year-olds without an explanation from the researcher (Arizpe & Styles et al., 2008). On the front endpaper, Jeffers uses mise-en-abyme, “a technique in which an image contains a miniature replica of itself” (Pantaleo, 2009, p.58). He draws a book titled “The Incredible Book Eating Boy” with a bite mark, which prefigures and echoes the final surprise. The simple storyline, exuberant illustrations and sophisticated intertextual references show how this book can be enjoyed by both children and adults, communicating “to the dual audience at a variety of levels” (Nikolajeva & Scott, 2006, p.21). As with many picturebooks, it also requires readers to “fill in gaps and generate predictions on multiple levels as they move back and forth between text and artwork” (Pantaleo, 2008, p.23). Pages in the book are broken up with a variety of texts scattered around. There are also some background words and occasional handwriting that could not have “a direct effect on the main narrative” (Arizpe, Styles, & Wolpert, 2008, p.218). All of these designs prompt the reader to pore over each page: they need to navigate, choose their direction, and determine what to

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