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Exact: Blox

23 Apr

Exact: Cornell

21 Apr

For the development of a blox through the instructions of Cornell for exact, I have reflected on what things are exact about The Giving Tree and how they make me feel. One of the first things that comes to mind when I think of being exact is a ruler. Although there is nothing specifically mentioned about a ruler in this book, the specificity of word placement and clarity that each page has because of the white space has influenced me to want to include a designer’s rule which is clear and includes different measurements of points and picas. These types of rulers assist in the placement and spacing of text and because of the text’s involvement as a portion of the art work, I feel as though this is important. I have learned about these rulers from school and have kept the knowledge with me through notes and practical use- in reflection of how Cornell himself relied on personal experience and memories.

The next item that I will include is an old-fashioned typewriter. Although this is similar to a ruler in is meaning or symbolism, it is still different. These typewriters were unique in that each letter had a lever that was unique to it, and when the button was pressed, the lever would extend in a rapid and forceful motion. As a child I had experiences with an old typewriter and enjoyed pressing the buttons to see the levers come out and type words on a page. This book was not printed with an old fashioned typewriter, however the precise placement of the words reminds me of how exact a typewriter’s actions must be and therefore will be a prominent element in my blox.

Another item that brings to mind exactness is a tuner for musical instruments. Without precise intonation, instrumental music does not sound as it should. Finally, I will include a saw in my blox image because the boy uses a saw to cuff of the limbs of the tree and takes them away. A saw is an instrument that provides precise actions as well as an exact cut when used properly. As a perfectionist, I can relate personally to the use of a saw as a tool to get things accomplished correctly.

Were it not for the exactness of letter placement and the hand drawings the reader would gather a completely different experience, and it is because of those things that I have associated precision and the necessity to include tools that ensure this type of achievement.

Exact: Adaptation

21 Apr

If adapted, The Giving Tree would make for an easy set and script. Although filler material would be required, it would be an expansion of what is already available, and simply an execution of what is imagined.

In terms of being exact and using the elements of adaptation from Seger, The Giving Tree has a great deal of direction and dimensionality- two elements she says are essential for making a story dramatic. If it were not for the exact nature of this storyline the sense of drama would be significantly less because of the tensions that is provided. Tension is an essential element to drama, at least in my mind, and the fact that sentences are left open, unanswered on one page until the next is read, it provides for the opportunity to expand on what exactly is happening in an adaptation, or in the case of reading the book first hand, an imaginative experience.

Also evident as a result of this story being exact is its division into three parts: when the boy is young, when he is an adolescent/young adult, and when he becomes a man in his older age. The presentation of his life in these exact stages as well as obvious transitions offer further support for the ability of this story to be adapted to another work of art, such as film. Without exactitude, a film has no definition and makes no sense to the audience.

Finally, The Giving Tree could not be more exact in its theme. Although its title is an obvious implication of what is to be read in the book, one who just reads the cover does not know to what extent or in what way the tree is a giver. With the tree’s explicit allowance and provision encouraged personally by the tree, the audience cannot help but understand that this tree really is a giver in both a physical and unconditional sense. Without exactness, this would not be understood, and this story not as cherished.

Exact: Experience

21 Apr

My experience with The Giving Tree in terms of being exact is that of an appreciation for the precision with which each picture is drawn and sentence is written. As more of  a poet than a writer of works at length, Shel Silverstein is a true wordsmith and master of conciseness while still managing to convey such power and depth. If it were not for his exact and deliberate choice of words, syntax and grammatical expression, The Giving Tree would be just another children’s story about a boy, his imagination and experiences with a tree as a friend.

Calvino expresses his definition of exactness or exactitude in terms of literature being an “evocation of clear, incisive, memorable visual images” (pg. 56) Silverstein achieves just that as he manages to imply so much more than there is to this story in actual words. Within the 25 pages  are what could possibly be at least three chapters of a story because of the richness each simple line incorporates. But it is not just the individual lines of text and context that allow for depth, but is the tension and pregnant pauses between each of the thoughts and lines that allow the reader to process and take in the experience. Not only are the words exact, but also are the placement of the words on the page in terms of spacing and indention. They become a part of the artwork and provide further support for the dramatic sense of the writing.

One of the most exact portions of the book that is also one of the greatest points of heightened emotion is on the page that reads,

“But time went by.

[next page] And the boy grew older.”

The break in lines between these pages and the realization of sadness by the tree, and therefore the reader, is the first point of conflict experienced by the reader and is most definitely deliberate by Silverstein.

It is all of these aspects combined, the exactitude of word choice, placement and precise but minimal drawings that allow for the imagination to fabricate the missing pieces of the story in terms of visual elements. These things, according to Calvino, define the characteristic of being exact and allow the reader an experience of empathy, sympathy and love for these characters.