20 Oct Slice of Life: Considering the Impact of the Visual Image on Interpretation
“Yes. What are your thoughts?”
“I think the image around perfect for young girls is troublesome.”
“Hmmm. Tell me why you think that? What part of the song do you think sends this message?”
“The part when the perfect girl is gone and she stands in the light of day.”
I take a closer look at the lyrics so I can reread the words she is referring to:
Let it go! Let it go!
And I’ll rise like the break of dawn!
Let it go! Let it go!
That perfect girl is gone!
Here I stand in the light of day…
Let the storm rage on!!!
The cold never bothered me anyway
I honestly still do not notice how a negative image is being made in the song.
“Show me where in the text this image is coming through for you. I am not having the same response.”
“Well, not just in the words. It is what happens when she is singing those words. In the movie she completely changes during this part of the song. How she changes sends an image around the word perfect.”
I realize that since I am not really familiar with the movie I am creating my own image as I listen to the song. This teacher is referring to the image in the movie. Here is a clip of the movie during this section of the song:
This pushed me to think about Standard 7 in CCSS:
Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
Our students need to continually consider how the words and visuals in a text integrate. They need to think about why an author may choose to visually represent a text in a particular way. Does it change the meaning, tone, mood or message? What is the author’s purpose? How does it impact a reader’s interpretation?
Graphic novels are a wonderful format for students to explore how authors integrate the visual and the words. This format provides many structures for them to consider and evaluate. Graphic novels portray characters, settings, and conflicts both visually and with words. Authors and illustrators make choices that impact how the reader interprets the text.
Graphic novels are designed so the reader must integrate the visual and the words. When readers interpret and evaluate graphic novels they need to use both the words and the visuals as evidence to support their thinking. This can be a scaffold for comprehension for some readers and for others it can be an opportunity to learn how to integrate various media formats they encounter with both pictures and words. Digital literacy demands this type of integration.
I interpreted the theme and message of that song, but without the visual image provided by the movie. Now that I have closely examined the image and integrated it with the words, my interpretation of the song has dramatically changed. I know the students in our classrooms will have to navigate a digital world that requires them to integrate many sources of information. I want to give them many opportunities to discover the importance of visual literacy. Graphic novels seem like the perfect format for students to make this discovery!