Where the Wild Things Are
Sendak, Maurice. Where the Wild Things Are. Illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Harper & Row, 1963. 40 pages.
In Maurice Sendak’s picture book, Where the Wild Things Are, the realities of child’s temper is explained. Sendak tells of story of the main character, Max getting sent to his room with no dinner by his mother after acting up. While he is overwhelmed with anger and stuck in his room, a forest began to grow. And soon enough, Max arrived to where the wild things were. He soon became of the king of the wild things and came across the challenge of trying to control them. He learned very quickly he could do so by staring into their eyes. Still being able to have fun with them, he also controlled them too. Soon enough though, he became homesick and missed his mother. Max faced a barrier that every child comes across. He starting off being mad at his mother, but then he realized he needed her. Max also came to this realization after he saw how hard it was to control the wild things. He even used his own mothers technique when he was punishing them by sending them to bed without dinner.
A few of the main messages Sendak was trying to put across were about how there is a wild part to every individual and that every individual has an idea of what power is. Therefore, to children, there is a general message that in the end, everyone needs their parents and there is always a place called home.
Sendak uses a few different elements to enhance and extend his text. Color and value were employed in Sendak’s illustrations throughout the book. He used very subtle colors overall. It evident that Max was the odd one out of the wild things. Having Max be white showed how dominance was being used to give him distinction. Because of such the calmer color, it drew your eyes too.
In the illustrations, many diﬀerent tones of values were used. It is noticeable that he used diﬀerent values of the colors by adding black to them to give them a dark shade. Straight up primary colors are not used. It looks as if black or grey was used to tone down the color from popping. Sendak also used composition. This can be seen in the ﬁrst few pages of the story. The illustrations themselves become larger and take up more of the page as the story progresses. This portrays the idea something big will occur and a change will come, just like how when the wild things showed up, they took almost all the blank space on the page. Similarly, the balance on the pages is informal. The shapes inside the illustrations have irregular distribution. For example, on the ﬁrst page where the wild things are introduced, Max is the main character and he was pushed to the side of the page. The wild things very in sizes and in comparison to the trees and the moon, they almost seem disproportionate. Lastly, in the illustrations, the variation of the lines gives texture to each piece drawn. It can be shown through the diﬀerent wild things. Some have scales, others are fury, while the leaves look ﬂuﬀy. They all have a distinguished sense of texture through the diﬀerent types of lines used.
When evaluating the text, one of the things Sendak does use is the use of repetition. In the text of the Where the Wild Things Are, repetition was used in two diﬀerent scenes in the book. First oﬀ, when Sendak explained Max’s room, he repeated the word, “grew.” It made an impact in the way the story was paced. The author made it evident with the repetition of the word, there was going to be a change. Similarly, in the next passage, although the word “wild” is used to explain the monsters, the combination of the word in their title and the descriptiveness, the author gives the word enough emphasis to have an overpowering meaning.
In the mind of the child, a few questions that can come to mind after reading Where the Wild Things Are, consist of: Did Max really go to where the wild things were? Are the wild things real? Was Max just having a dream? A few other questions that kids can ask about the forest being in Max’s room consist of: Did a forest really grow in Max’s room? Was the forest in his whole house? When looking at the moral lessons in this book, a child may question how Max was being punished. Kids may ask, Was it fair for Max to be sent to his room? How did Max feel about his punishment? Kids may wonder what is the correct way to punish a kid. Kids also probably would compare themselves to Max. And in the end, Max realizes he needs his mom, so a child may realize that although he or she may act up, they will always love their parents. The book can therefore also show a kid that everyone is affected by their punishment and its not always easy when trying to control a child.
…and they were frightened and called him the most wild thing of all
and made him king of all wild things.