Comprehension of visual narratives in different age groups: Taking Shaun Tan’s wordless graphic novel The arrival as an example

Po King WONG

Research output: Other contributionHonours Project


This study aims to find out how the visual narratives work in graphic novels through analyzing Shaun Tan’s wordless graphic novel The Arrival. Graphic novel uses illustrations to tell a long and complete fictional story with plots. This book uses illustrations to tell a story instead of using words. Graphic novels mainly use illustrations to narrative, therefore, visual narrative is a key of the story development. Moreover, the study is able to assist the readers to further understanding of the subject matter and author’s intent. This study was targeted at three age groups of readers. Three groups participated: 2 boys in P. 5 (aged between 10.5 to 11 years), 2 teenagers in S.5 and S.6 aged 16-18 years and 2 adults (aged between 25 to 31 years). Age and reading experience will affect readers’ comprehension. In this research, adult participants demonstrate their capability of understanding of several visual narratives. Visual narratives can help reader to comprehend conceptual meaning and information behind the scene.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019


Illustrated Books
Age Groups


  • Honours Project (HP)
  • Bachelor of Education (Honours) (Visual Arts) (Five-year Full-time)
  • Programme code: A5B063
  • Course code: ART4902