Postcolonial Issues and Colonial Closures: Portrayals of Ambivalence in Shaun Tan’s The Arrival


  • Renata Lucena Dalmaso Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina
  • Thayse Madella Unicentro



This article aims to investigate the visual representation of the connection between immigration and the construction of an Australian identity as a nation in Shaun Tan’s graphic novel The Arrival (2006). Based on the debate about imagined communities and the ambivalence on the narration of a nation, proposed by Benedict Anderson and Homi Bhabha, we will discuss how The Arrival creates moments for the appearance of the ambivalence of cultural difference at the same time that it also constructs a horizontal imagined community. On these terms, The Arrival depicts some of the liminal positionality that immigrants have to deal when they arrive in a new place, but also constructs a cohesive and homogeneous narrative that entails the assimilation of the immigrants. In other words, this work offers a closure that can be read as an assimilation of the colonial discourse for a series post-colonial issues. 

Biografia do Autor

Renata Lucena Dalmaso, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina

Renata Lucena Dalmaso has recently obtained her doctorate in English at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC), Brazil. Her research interests are: graphic memoirs, autobiography, disability, and embodiment. She has published recently in Ilha do Desterro, on the topic of disability and visual metaphor, and has authored chapters in two collections of essays about Neil Gaiman and feminisms.

Thayse Madella, Unicentro

Thayse Madella has a MA in English Literature from UFSC (Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina), in Brazil. Her research interests range from Post-colonial texts by women to graphic novels that deal with issues of displacement and Orientalism. She has presented in conferences covering the fields of gender, feminism, comics, and popular culture. She has also published scholarly work on those topics. She is now an Assistant professor of the English department at Unicentro, Paraná, Brazil.


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