How Do the Distinctively Visual Elements in Texts Affect Interpretation and Shape Meaning?

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Through the use of techniques, a composer is able to create distinctively visual images when describing setting and characters which help us to understand and form meaning of what the composer is trying to convey in their texts. The use of techniques to create distinctively visual images which help us to convey an understanding and form a meaning is evident in the novel Maestro by Peter Goldsworthy, the film Blade Runner directed by Ridley Scott, and the poem Mending Wall by Robert Frost.

The clear visual images that Goldsworthy uses in Maestro through his techniques affect the interpretation and help shape the meaning of the characters and blossoming setting which reveal aspects of these characters. Through these distinctively visual images of both character and setting, the reader is able to form an interpretation and meaning of Goldsworthy’s ideas and themes when introducing and developing the characters and setting. Goldsworthy critiques the development process using distinctively visual images of Darwin through the eyes of Paul.

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Darwin is described through Paul’s eyes as, “I had never seen such greenness: an unnatural greenness: as if the leaves were a kind of plastic” (pg10). The reader is able to from a meaning and interpretation through this distinctively visual description of the setting as they become aware that all of this was new to Paul. The simile of the lush greenness of Darwin and Paul’s uncertainty about it all can be contrasted to his developing maturity and sexual urges that he is experiencing for the first time.

Through the use of distinctively visual images, the interpretation and meaning of the character Paul and the setting of Darwin is made clear and Goldsworthy’s purpose of the critique of the development process is evident. When describing Keller’s harsh past to the reader, Goldsworthy uses distinctively visual images through the characterisation of Keller and the description of Vienna and ‘The Swan’ which help the interpretation and shape the meaning of Keller’s harsh past and the theme of escapism. “Movie-set architecture, “Keller murmured. “ Ornamental facades. Hiding the hypocrisy within… (pg45). Goldsworthy has interpreted a distinctively visual images through Keller’s description of Vienna, and formed a meaning if why Keller is the way he is through hinting to Keller’s harsh past.

Goldsworthy uses a distinctively visual juxtaposition in order to form a meaning and interpretation of his theme escapism. Keller is sitting in ‘The Swan’, “his white suit and Panama could not be missed among the blue singlets and short-sleeved shirts; the clear, heavy fluid of his schnapps bottle likewise, standing high and separate among the amber, lathered beers. (pg30). This distinctively visual image is shown in the setting of ‘The Swan’ and juxtaposes Keller to the men of Darwin as Keller is said to be wearing a white suit and holding Schnapps which gives us a clear understanding that Keller does not fit in. Also, the out casting of Keller from the Darwin community links to Goldsworthy’s theme of escapism. Through the use of techniques in distinctively visual images when describing setting and character, the reader is able to interpret the themes and main ideas and form a meaning of what is going on throughout the novel.

Similar to Maestro, in Blade Runner, Scott uses film techniques through character and setting to help the audience the form a meaning and interpret the purpose of the film and themes he uses in the film. In the opening scene of the film, Scott uses a landscape shot to show the setting, a post-apocalyptic landscape. The landscape shot is a distinctively visual image showing the audience the essence of death, desolation, destruction and the removal of nature and human existence which allows the audience to interpret the severity of the destruction on the city.

Through the use of this camera angle the director has helped the audience to form a meaning for his purpose of technology and to interpret its effect on the world. This distinctively visual image sets allows the audience to begin to interpret that this will be the main theme of the movie. Through the technique of dialogue, Scott is also able to open up his characters more intimately to the audience allowing them to interpret relationships between the characters and convey to the responder his purpose in the displaying the theme of death and immortality.

In the character, Roy’s final monologue, Roy states “All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die”. Also, shortly after is the statement from Gaff, “it’s too bad she won’t live, but then again, who does? ” The use of dialogue by the composer, through Roy, is distinctively visual description as the responder is creating an image of moments of life being lost “like tears in rain”. The second quote, although not as distinctively visual gives a good insight to what the central theme of the film is and what the director may want the audience to interpret from watching the film.

Both of these techniques used by Scott, open up his characters and his setting to the audience, and through this, he can easily express to the responder the meaning of conveying the themes of death, immortality and technologies effect on the world. Similarly to the way distinctively visual images are used to convey purpose in Maestro, in the poem Mending Wall, Robert Frost uses techniques in order to create distinctively visual images through his characters and the described setting. Conveying to the reader his themes allows the responder to create a meaning and purpose for his poem.

In Mending Wall, the composer uses imagery to convey his theme of the barrier in the relationship between humans. In the poem, the ‘wall’ is a symbolic representation of the barriers that separate friendship between the neighbours. The repetition of the word ‘wall’ throughout the poem allows the reader to interpret and understand why there is a barrier between the neighbours. “Sends the frozen-ground-swell under it, and spills the upper boulders in the sun” (lines 2-3) is an example of imagery used to help the responder to create a distinctively visual description of the setting.

The responder can see that the ‘wall’ is visually described as a giant barrier. Through the use of the imagery in the quote and the distinctively visual image Frost has created through it, the responder is able to interpret the distance in the relationship between humans. “Good fences make good neighbours” (line 27), once again frost uses the distinctively visual image of the fence being the neighbour in order to convey his theme of man’s relationship with each other through the characterisation of the neighbour.

The repetition of this quote throughout the poem emphasises the theme that Frost wishes to convey to the audience, allowing the responder to create meaning of man’s relationship with each other. Through the use of these techniques, displaying distinctively visual images created through the setting of the wall, and the characterisation of the neighbour, Frost is able to convey his themes to the responder and therefore allowing them to shape a meaning and interpret a purpose.

In conclusion, it is evident that, through the novel Maestro by Peter Goldsworthy, the film Blade Runner by Ridley Scott, and the poem Mending Wall by Robert Frost, a composer is able to use literary or film techniques to create distinctively visual images which affect the interpretation and shape meaning when describing setting and characters, and that through the use of these distinctively visual images the responder is able to see more clearly the purpose and themes of the text that the composer wishes to convey to the responder allowing them to form the own interpretation and meaning.

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How Do the Distinctively Visual Elements in Texts Affect Interpretation and Shape Meaning?. (2017, Mar 15). Retrieved from