The Use of Illustrations in Ruskin´s Text, The King of the Golden River

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Today, it is very uncommon to come across illustrations in any book that is not meant for a child. However, in the Victorian Era, illustrations were considered to be an integral part of the text enriching the story, and, overall, creating a fuller experience. Ruskin utilizes sophisticated vocabulary and sentence structure; however, he has created a text that is easily accessible to a younger audience. There are layers of nuance and depth in the story—particularly the moral—to entice readers of any age. The surface simplicity of the moral allows even the youngest reader to learn from this story, but the underlying complexities provide an older audience with important food for thought. John Ruskin’s transitional story The King of the …show more content…
Older readers will be drawn into the story because the higher-brow vocabulary makes for a much more lively text. While younger people might struggle with some of the words, it is an opportunity for them to expand their vocabulary and become better educated.
There are three major themes that appear repeatedly in The King of the Golden River, which Ruskin uses to bring across the didactic moral of the story: alcohol, religion, and money. Each of these three different elements eventually lead to either the success or downfall of Gluck and his two brothers Hans and Schwartz. The basic message behind these themes is obvious enough from the text for children to grasp it. However, there is underlying meaning to entice and entertain an adult audience. The reader is introduced to the monetary wealth of the three brothers on page 15 when Ruskin lays out examples of the cruelty of Schwartz and Hans and links it directly to their yearning for wealth. Though these brothers have “heaps of gold lying about on their floors” (15) yet they are greedy and uncharitable. When the story progresses further and the brothers lose all of their money they do not mend their ways and try to be better to earn back all they have lost. Instead they force their brother into working as a goldsmith and they waste all the money Gluck earns on

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