The Arrival by Shaun Tan Discussion Questions

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

'The Arrival' is a graphic novel by Shaun Tan that is told through visual storytelling without text. It's a compelling immigrant's tale presented in a unique way that will make for great conversation in a class discussion.

The Arrival

The Arrival is a graphic novel by Australian author and illustrator Shaun Tan. The story follows an immigrant who travels to a strange new land to seek opportunities and deals with the trials and isolation of his new world. However, it's a story told entirely through images, with no text. This will present a unique challenge to your students, and can open up room for great discussions on storytelling. These questions can help to guide a class discussion on this graphic novel as students work through their thoughts and reactions.

Questions about Story

  • In one sentence, can you describe the plot of The Arrival? What is this story about?
  • Who is the main character in this graphic novel? What is he trying to accomplish? What are some of the first things we learn about him? How would you describe this character?
  • Provide a synopsis of this story. What are the main events that happen, in order? What does the main character do? Who does he meet along the way?
  • What is the central conflict in this story? How does the main character deal with this conflict? What challenges or obstacles does he face? How does he deal with them? How does he start to find a home in this new place? How is he able to connect with people?
  • How does the story end? How did you feel about this ending? What do you think will happen to the main character from here?

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