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Luke's Way Of Looking
Transcript of Luke's Way Of Looking
Luke’s Way Of Looking is an insightful book as it highlights a prevalent theme in society today. The underlying theme of the book, reminds the reader of the importance to always value and celebrate what it means to be different. This was conveyed effectively with the author’s use of language. Nadia Wheatley finely structured the language in a way that the words of each page built the story at the right pace, keeping the reader intrigued as to what Luke was going to experience next. Whether you can relate to how Luke is feeling, or you broaden your perspectives on different ways of looking, all should read this book.
Nadia Wheatley & Matt Ottley
Luke’s Way Of Looking is a children’s picture book written by Nadia Wheatley and Illustrated by Matt Ottley. The book is written about a young boy that goes to school where all the boys in his class see things the same way, but Luke has his own way of looking and does not conform to his teacher’s expectations. The main characters in the book are Luke and also Mr Barraclough, Luke’s teacher. In the story, we are able to see the relationship that Luke and Mr Barraclough have and how this affects Luke. Luke expresses his differences in his artwork, displaying his abstract and creative mind. However, it is not appreciated, rather he is considered an outcast for his differences. One day Luke ventures to a building he has never seen before. He explores what is inside and leaves with an overwhelming sense of belonging and ownership of his way of thinking. The confidence that he finds within himself exudes out of him and forces others to see the value in his differences, even Mr Barraclough see’s Luke’s special individuality.
Luke’s Way Of Looking is written as though the author is telling the story.
However, Wheatley has carefully shaped and constructed the text to position
the reader to respond to Luke’s perspective. The word choices in the text evoke
emotive responses with figurative language used effortlessly. The repetition of key
words such as, “Luke didn’t know. So he said nothing” really highlighted Luke’s
overwhelming sense of self-doubt as Mr Barraclough was constantly putting him down.
This was beautifully repeated at the end of the story by Mr Barraclough this time,
representing the journey that Luke has been on and expresses that Mr Barraclough finally
see’s Luke’s talent and appreciates his individuality. This was a fantastic way to contrast the character’s strengths at different points in the story.
Matt Ottley’s illustrations seamlessly displayed the changes in Luke’s world. His illustrations really depict what Luke felt which made this book so powerful. Ottley’s illustrations allow the reader to be inside Luke’s mind and ‘walk in his shoes’ on his exploration to believe in his own special individuality. The illustrations in the picture book are truly brilliant with many visual features employed. These artistic choices not only aid the words on the page but also extend the meaning of them. The use of the compositional mode (Kress and van Leeuwen, 1990, 1996); balance and layout are evident with the use of vectors, colour, balance, texture, salience and placement.
This was evident in the first scene where the placement of the prison-like barred window is above the boys that are under Mr Barraclough’s control. This idea of control was also portrayed by Mr Barraclough’s reaching hand, which casts a shadow over the top of the boys displaying that he has complete control over them, except for Luke whose shadow is rising to meet Mr Barraclough’s.
The use of shadows are key in this book and is featured on many other occasions including when Luke paints the blue apple.
Also, when Luke is swinging through the painting he is closer to finding the angel within him; his individuality and you see his shadow has wings.
The ‘out-reached’ hand is used as a motif throughout the narrative to symbolise different aspects of emotion. First we see it as Mr Barraclough’s control, then as Mr Barraclough’s anger, outside of the gallery possibly symbolising Luke’s plea for a sense of belonging as he enters the unfamiliar, then in the gallery Luke is reaching towards the art pieces (the familiar).
Symbolism is used comprehensively throughout the book in a way that each time you read the book you might notice something that you did not before that adds to your understanding of how Luke felt. It could be said that the bird symbolism throughout the book was used to illustrate Luke’s spirit. This was clear when Luke painted a blue apple and Mr Barraclough goes “off his brain”, there is a bird through the window flying away symbolising Luke’s spirit being frightened away. When painting the clock tower there is a bird on the roof gutter outside as if his spirit has tentatively come back while he paints.
Outside the gallery there is a statue of a phoenix with a human figure holding it back, replicating the relationship that Mr Barraclough and Luke have.
In the abstracted painting of Mr Barraclough (by Clarra Bough), there is an outreached hand squeezing a bird, indicating that Mr Barraclough is killing Luke’s spirit. This worked perfectly with the words “Whoever lived here seemed to look at things in just the way that Luke did”.
When Luke has his epiphany on the bus the Phoenix is flying free. It is clear that the use of symbolism really provides the reader much deeper meaning.
Interanimation is used wonderfully in the book. The final illustration of Luke’s shadow symbolises that he has found his spirit without having to put this into words. Mr Barraclough’s shadow has combined with his to make Luke’s shadow appear as if it he has angel’s wings representing Mr Barraclough’s redemption as well as his opening up to Luke’s way of looking. This also highlights how the relationship has developed.
The most dominant visual feature that is used in this book is colour. It is used to evoke emotional responses and take the reader on Luke’s journey. Ottley commendably uses colour, hues and colour contrasts to evoke certain responses and to therefore position the reader.
The book starts in sepia tones with graphite, pen and ink with a faint watercolour wash to create a slightly old fashioned and colourless look. This effect gives the feeling of a repressed and tightly controlled world of Mr Barraclough, a time when Luke feels trapped and sad. Mr Barraclough is usually the darkest image on the page and the only colour is in Luke’s art works.
When Luke arrives at the gallery, he wanders away from the black and white world as we begin to see the use of rainbow watercolours seep out of the doors of the building, fading as the colour moves down the stairs. It is like the colour is calling out to Luke.
After Luke has entered the world within the art gallery, colour gradually seeps into him as if he is drawing in the energy from what he see’s around him. When he returns to school, the bright colours continue as if he is seeing the world with fresh eyes although Mr Barraclough is still black and white.
When Mr Barraclough finally ‘see’s’ he too is painted in colour and is free from the heavy cross-hatching.
Luke’s Way Of Looking is the result of a beautiful partnership by both visual and verbal storytellers. This picture book is technically brilliant, and holds a significant message that you will value and employ in your own way of looking.