Tag: houses

  • Castles In Art and Storytelling

    Castles In Art and Storytelling

    The castle is a feature of Gothic storytelling, and commonly makes appearances in ghost stories of all kinds. Dragons and castles also go together. As kids my friends and I played King of the Castle. There’s not much to it. We used a pile of dirt, left by some builders. One person climbs to the […]

  • A Brief History of Home Lighting

    A Brief History of Home Lighting

    With the invention of electric light human lives changed suddenly. This change was reflected immediately in art, first by the Impressionists. Impressionist painters were the first to enjoy the freedom of painting without reliance upon the sun, in plein air. Artists from the 1960s to today use light sources to express ideas, concepts and to…

  • The Symbolic Basement In Fiction

    The Symbolic Basement In Fiction

    In Gaston Bachelard’s Symbolic Dream House, you probably shouldn’t go down to the basement, ever. I mean it. Nothing good ever happens down there. The basement is the house version of a fairytale forest — a descent into the subconscious. We can’t control our subconscious. That’s what makes it scary. EXAMPLE ONE: BASEMENTS AND BEREAVEMENT…

  • Passages, Hallways and Corridors in Art and Storytelling

    Passages, Hallways and Corridors in Art and Storytelling

    When storytellers focus on the hallways and passages of a building, look for metaphor. Take note of the width of the passageway: Narrow passages might represent the will to escape. Broad passages represent freedom and space. The tunnel is the naturally occurring equivalent of the manmade passage. In houses, the passages, hallways and corridors are…

  • The Scary Kitchen in Children’s Stories

    The Scary Kitchen in Children’s Stories

    Most often, kitchens in children’s literature serve as metonyms of familial happiness, but every so often you do find a scary kitchen in which not all is well. The kitchen is the perfect place for a scary scene because it is at once close to home (in fact the hub of the home) and contains…

  • There’s A Sea In My Bedroom by Margaret Wild Analysis

    There’s A Sea In My Bedroom by Margaret Wild Analysis

    There’s A Sea In My Bedroom (1984) is a classic Australian picture book, written by Margaret Wild and illustrated in realistic fantasy style by Jane Tanner. Margaret Wild is a well-known Australian author whose subject material ranches from melancholic to funny. I have previously blogged about Harry and Hopper and Chatterbox. Jane Tanner is also…

  • Writing Activity: Describe A Living Room

    Writing Activity: Describe A Living Room

    As a writing exercise, describe your own living room, or the living room of someone you know. For inspiration, I offer the following examples from literature. EXAMPLE OF A LIVING ROOM DESCRIBED BY DAPHNE DU MAURIER We were all sitting in the long, low room at Farthings, darker than usual because of the rain. The…

  • Homes and Symbolism In Film and Literature

    Homes and Symbolism In Film and Literature

    Homes are an outworking of the characters who live inside. Sometimes, in fiction, the house even seems to come alive in its own right. There exist sunny houses in which, at all seasons, it is summer, houses that are all windows. Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space For my notes after reading Gaston Bachelard, see…

  • The Wolves In The Walls by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean Analysis

    The Wolves In The Walls by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean Analysis

    Have you ever had something living in your walls or in your roof space, or cellar? Apparently the story was inspired by his own daughter, who heard rats in the walls at night. (So do we — they’re actually mice…) Hearing rodents in the walls isn’t all that uncommon. And rodents are most active at…

  • Symbolism Of The Dream House, Cottage, Bungalow and Cabin

    Symbolism Of The Dream House, Cottage, Bungalow and Cabin

    House symbolism is an interesting way of looking at a story. Have you noticed that houses as depicted in Western picture books tend to look the same? Two storied, bedrooms upstairs, slightly untidy but still Pinterest-worthy? There’s a reason for this. Each part of a house is symbolically unique. Gaston Bachelard talks about this in his famous book on architecture and philosophy, The Poetics of Space.

  • Kitchens As Metonyms For Familial Happiness In Literature

    Kitchens As Metonyms For Familial Happiness In Literature

    A warm, safe, lighted place.Hepzobah’s kitchen was always like that, and not only that evening. Coming I to it was like coming home on a bitter cold day to a bright, leaping fire. It was like the smell of bacon when you were hungry, loving arms when you were lonely; safety when you were scared….…

  • Walking, Floating, Creeping Houses

    Walking, Floating, Creeping Houses

    Included in the definition of ‘home’ is the idea of a stable, secure structure… which doesn’t get up and move! The concept of home is especially important in children’s stories, which explains the popularity of the home-away-home structure: Child leaves home, has a little adventure, then returns to security. The young reader falls into slumber,…