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Copy of Voices in the Park - Anthony Browne

An Analysis of the intertextualities within Browne's Voices in the Park.

Deirdre Lanigan

on 22 August 2014

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Transcript of Copy of Voices in the Park - Anthony Browne

The seasons change with each characters perspective which is a symbolical reflection of their attitudes and personalities.
Two Dogs
In the classroom:
Voices in the Park
Anthony Browne
Perspectives and intertextualities
In browne's Voices in the Park
Intertextualities are utilized within Browne’s Voices in the Park to emphasize the different character's perspectives. Though these perspectives, the book explores social status, race, age, gender, unemployment, poverty, and freedom/lack of freedom. The illustrations of gorillas help make these issues less alarming to young readers.
Analyzing each Perspective and voice

A Walk in the Park:
Gorillas vs Humans
Intertextualities help children deal with the issues
Anthony Browne is an internationally acclaimed author and illustrator of children's books. Browne was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire in 1946. His books have received many awards such as the Kate Greenaway Medal in 1983 for
and again in 1992 for
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
(1988) and
Voices in the Park
(1998) all won the Kurt Maschler Emil Award. In 2000, Browne also won the highest international honour for illustration, the Hans Christian Andersen Award
A audio/visual reading of Browne's Voices in the Park
(if you have not read it)
First Voice = Mother
Second Voice = Dad
Third Voice = Charles
Fourth Voice = Smudge
First Voice: Mother
Children were asked to describe the images of each of the characters and put them on a poster as an adjective building exercise:
The first voice is Charles’ Mother. She has an overbearing and dominating presence about her that is evident in Charles always being hidden behind his mother. Her font is tall and proper which is similar to her stature. Unlike Charles, the Mother allows her pedigree Victoria to walk in front of her and upon arrival at the park, she lets Victoria off her leash to run free. Ironically, Mother does the opposite with Charles, as she tries to control his freedom: “Sit. I said to Charles. Here.” When Charles leaves to go play with Smudge, his mother shouts “Charles! Come here! At once…and come here please, Victoria.” His mother gives Charles commands similar to ones that would be given to a pet, however, she asks Victoria rather than demanding.
Charles’ Mother is quick to judge the
other children, dogs, and adults in
the park: “Some scruffy mongrel appeared and started bothering Victoria,”
“I saw him talking to a rough-looking child,” “You get some
frightful types in the park these days!”
Although Charles’ Mother says she “called his name for what seemed like an age,” the picture tells a different story as the trees are being blown over due to her shouting. This proves that she is an unreliable narrator and that the other character's perspectives may give insight on what may have really happened.
The use of the orange and red colors of autumn symbolizes Charles’ Mother’s fiery temper. The last image of them leaving the park has an illustration of a tree engulfed in flames. This tree represents the Mother’s smoldering silence due to her outrage and disapproval of Charles. Charles is once again in his mothers shadow as shriveled leaves trail behind her.
Second Voice: Dad
The second voice is Smudge’s Father. His font is bold, unsophisticated, and has no aspects of non-sense. This font is straight to the point like his personality. Smudge’s dad is in the gloomy season of winter and his outlook on life is hopeful, yet depressing, as he struggles with unemployment. As they walk to the park their urban neighbourhood contrasts with Charles’ neighbourhood from his mothers perspective. The trees are large and towering over Smudge’s dad as he unconfidently walks with his head down.
The neighbourhood transforms on their way home as Smudge’s positive persona cheers her father up. The streetlight turns into a flower which symbolizes Smudge’s happiness being reflected onto her father. A shooting star in the sky is a possible foreshadowing of Smudge’s father getting his wish of finding a job in the future.
Third Voice: Charles
The third voice is Charles, his font is frail and faint. This font represents Charles always being overshadowed in the background by others. As he stands in his home, Charles says that he is bored, but the empty interior and narrow structured walls with a series of open doors in the rooms beyond; reveal his limited experiences.
The image of Charles’ mother’s hat reappears on the trees, hedges, columns, and light posts. This recurring motif and his mothers shadow represents the control and power she has over him.
Smudge brings Charles into her perspective when she invites him to go play on the slide. His raincoat and his gloomy day disappear into the blossoming beauty of spring. Charles enjoys his first taste of freedom as he slides right out of the frame
Light (Victoria) vs dark (Albert)
contrasting dogs symbolize the two families
Fourth Voice: Smudge
Smudge’s font is carefree, quirky, and playful like her spirit. Smudge’s perspective transforms her father’s gloomy day into a joyful playground and her point-of-view at the park is like a wonderland. Exciting colors and shapes radiate happiness within the illustrations.
“Anthony Browne: Childrens Laureate 2009-11.” Booktrust. n.p. n.d. Web. 18 July 2014.

Browne, Anthony.
Voices in the Park
. New York: Dk Pub., 1998. Print.

Digital Files. JPEGs. Google Search: “Voices in the Park Browne.” 18 July 2014.

Stephens, John.
Language and Ideology in Children's Fiction
. London: Longman 1992. Print.

Works Cited
Browne actually had written a book called
A Walk in the Park
(1977), which he reconstructed into
Voices in the Park
(1998). A Walk in the Park had human characters instead of gorillas, and excessive white backgrounds

So why did Browne decide to rewrite this story with gorillas?
It is not necessary to read the pre-text before reading
Voices in the Park
, however, comparing both stories can produce significant meanings. Stephen’s stated that “the significance of the story will tend to be situated not in the focused text, but in the process of interaction between the texts. That is, the effect is intertextual in its fullest sense" (88).

Voices in the Park
features many intertextual features. A
Walk in the Park
is an intertextual reference in itself.

A Walk in the Park
, the faces are often in profile and show little emotion. In
Voices in the Park
, the characters emotions and personalities come alive. Charles’ Mother as a gorilla physically towers over him and appears as angry as she acts. Also, the use of gorillas as humans in a children’s book makes serious issues less alarming to young readers. The use of gorillas can also create debates, (about class, race, age, gender), among adolescent readers. The gorillas in
Voices in the Park
intertextually references to Browne’s other books
Willy, Gorilla,
King Kong
July 18th
Analyzed by:
Chelsey Commisso
Voices in the Park
, Munches,
The Scream
appears on the front of the newspaper, and paintings such as the
Mona Lisa
and the
Laughing Caviler
are in Smudge’s/her father’s urban neighbourhood.

Children and adults will both enjoy finding the hidden jems within the illustrations that are not written about in the text. The inclusion of these sophisticated intertextualities can be interesting when analyzed.
The Scream
is a reflection of Smudge’s father's frustration and depression as he deals with unemployment. The apperance of the painting also foreshadows Charles’ mother shouting at him.
King Kong appears ontop of a building with his muscles outstretched. This represents Smudge’s ability to make her father feel ontop of the world with happiness which contrasts with how he felt previously as the buildings and trees towered over him.

Mother is an oppressive character that represents a type of bully in the story. Her house, clothes, and dog are (in her mind), of a higher/classier status. The use of a gorilla head instead of a woman’s emphasizes her inhuman, wild, and animalistic behaviour. This realization is significant for readers as it shows how people who make prejudice judgments are being portrayed.
Each character has their own font which embodies their personalities. This makes their voices seem more realistic and easier to read aloud.
Intertextualities that are more parodic:
Santa sitting on the sidewalk with a sign stating “wife and million of kids to support” and Mary Poppins flying through the park which references P.L Traver’s
Mary Poppins in the Park.
Voices in the Park
, Browne places sophisticated intertextualities within the illustrations which allude to other works, foreshadow future occurrences, tell a different/more in-depth story than the text, and make parodic references.
These intertextualities create discussion for readers as they analyze the significances. Both adults and children can enjoy finding and decoding the hidden secrets within the story.
As Browne intertextually references his other works such as
, (by drawing his characters with gorilla heads), Browne makes it easier for younger readers to deal with the issues within the book. Age, gender, race, and social status are still identifiable within the characters however, the gorilla heads are unrealistic to not disturb younger readers but create discussion for older ones.

Interesting video of Anthony Browne speaking to a classroom about his stories:
Full transcript