What is that creature?

The cover of “The Arrival” is a sepia tone photograph of a man (we soon learn he is an immigrant) and a creature peering up at him. This creature continues to be present throughout the majority of the graphic novel and can perhaps be interpreted as the man’s roommate. I think the use of an indiscernible creature instead of a human is an interesting choice. It illustrates that people view other cultures and races as possibly subhuman. I think that the creature in this story pokes fun at this notion and emphasizes that although strangers may seem like monsters, they are really that different.

What are other people’s interpretations of the creature? Why do you think Shaun Tan includes it? Especially on the cover of the book!

One Reply to “What is that creature?”

  1. My initial interpretation of the creature was that it was some kind of alien that was playful. I think the only reason why it might have seemed scary to me at first is because it’s unidentifiable. I couldn’t place it, but after reading through the images I think this little creature is more of an imaginary friend. I thought that loneliness and fear of the unknown were major themes and Tan might have wanted to incorporate an imaginary friend for this immigrant because there needed to be something to distract from the ominous undertones.

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