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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Pathways through the woods : how the cohesive resources of colour and repetition contribute to the construction of coherent narrative picturebook texts Shoemaker, Kathryn E.


The focus of this work is on how visual cohesive resources construct coherent picturebook texts. In particular, I analyze how the cohesive resources of colour and repetition construct meaning across a visual sequential narrative in the picturebook format. While there has been deep scholarship on the picturebook format, especially on the meanings, how and what readers glean from them, and how they work and support literacy and literary development, there is little systematic study on the construction of meaning and even less that uses a social semiotic theory of multimodal meaning construction. The study is based on the close analysis of two acclaimed picturebooks, Where the Wild Things Are and How to Heal a Broken Wing The broader implications of my study stem from the use of the multimodal picturebook as the focus of analysis. The picturebook is a widely acknowledged literary format - a sequential narrative multimodal form that is brief, concise, and ideal for the delicate analysis of multisemiosis. This investigation is timely and relevant to the growing imperative to involve future educators and students in multimodal learning and literary response and assessment activities. My reflections discuss the three outcomes of this study that provide new resources for picturebook analysis and have the potential for application beyond children’s literature and picturebook creation as resources for multimodal learning and assessment. The first outcome is a framework of resource systems and the textual environments that they construct. The systems and environments are central to the analysis and creation of picturebooks and multimodal sequential narrative texts. The second outcome is a defined set of cohesive colour configurations that are resources for assessing and editing visual cohesion in sequential visual narratives and other multimodal forms. And third is a set of descriptions of the ways visual repetition constructs continuity and cohesion, with particular attention to ways that salience and framing provide additional fresh critical resources for multimodal analysis and creation.

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