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Tom 26 (2020)

O tym, jak dzieciom opowiedzieć o wszystkim. Moc metafory w norweskiej książce obrazkowej „Blekkspruten” Gro Dahle i Sveina Nyhusa

  • Hanna Dymel-Trzebiatowska
16 września 2021


The article discusses how the taboo theme of incest is narrated both visually and verbally in the controversial Norwegian picturebook Blekkspruten (The Squid) from 2016, authored by the famous Norwegian artists Gro Dahle, a writer, and Svein Nyhus, an illustrator. The duo had previously tackled numerous contentious themes in their books, such as domestic abuse, gender disparity and mental illness, but this time the subject seems particularly problematic to present in a children’s book. Since both Dahle and Nyhus explicitly advocate a concept of allalderlitteratur (literature for all age groups), the implied readership of Blekkspruten includes young, inexperienced readers, too. The analysis focused on the mode in which the artists acquainted children with incest, and the answer was the intricate metaphorical message rendered both in the text and in the images. Their pregnant, yet subtle imagery and sophisticated interaction made it possible to narrate the difficult, challenging theme for children. Furthermore, the investigation responds to Dorte Karrebæk’s suggestion to devote more reflection to the illustrators’ work as a continuum. It juxtaposes Nyhus’ illustrations from Blekkspruten with his previous works, showing both his new artistic solutions (different lines, shapes and colours) and references to some visual symbols employed before (open or closed containers, a monkey toy, a key). They recur in an intervisual, self-referential play, often participating in construction of open endings and implying the impossibility of giving unequivocal answers.