Frequently. book screens are composed with the ultimate scheme to pull possible readers and buyers—with arguable effects. Dogeaters manages to accomplish this end through a polarizing design method that utilizing breaking off in believing that lends itself about entirely to floor. horror. and even discourtesy. Designer Stephanie Bart-Horvath utilizes elements that create morbid captivation for the narrative that is supposed to picture Filipino civilization. The screen of Dogeaters is an evident hodge-podge of symbols to stand for assorted constructs and events in the narrative. yet the perceivable ethos is that of repulsive force. and even confusion.
Done to look like a picture with an overall tone of fiery gold and ruddy. the immediate connexion would be a word picture of snake pit ; this thought is confirmed by the presence of angels. disintegrating trees. and the chief figure—the most disturbing of all—which is a woman’s organic structure chopped off at the cervix. and attached with bloodied stitches to a carved caput of a adult male. The consequence is emphasized by the usage of a blade and a caput held by its hair. and the focal point of a foetus seen through the woman’s belly. In the background. a lighter scene demoing mountains and waterfalls are seeable.
However. on top of all these confusing images is the rubric “Dogeaters” in ragged fount that works with the dismaying subject yet provides a weak nexus to the visual—hence the confusion. Sing the confused elements in the design. the poignancy is communicated by the endorsement that appears at the underside. which states what the book is about—it is a “surrealistically hep heroic poem of Manila” . that so allows the reader to logically link the images and their effects to a peculiar civilization.
Without the benefit of existent reading. anyone would easy reason that Manila or the Philippines is a grossly barbarian venue. specifically mentioning to its people as barbarian Canis familiaris feeders. The design logos effort to pass on the novel’s kernel in wholly conceptual signifier. a regular narrative of the country’s history. The place of angels interchanging a cap at the top of the screen demonstrates the culture’s religion. and how faith is at the helm of one’s destiny.
Showing dark clouds beneath the chief figure implies somberness and calamity. while the figure itself represents a whole history lesson on the Philippines: the brown-skinned caput held by one manus appears to typify ethnicity. and the blade on the other may be a mention to Spanish colonisation. The weaponries seem to equilibrate both elements. yet the dejected look on the caput depicts entry and licking. The affiliated carved caput on the organic structure represents America. and the usage of blood and stitches imply both adversity and infliction.
The foetus merely represents new life. one that would be capable to the effects of history. and the trees at the underside are mere symbols of a rotten yesteryear. But the background scene is the Philippines itself. showcasing its landscape. perchance an allusion to what had been left buttocks. This book screen design. while available for right reading through information gleaned from history and research. merely provides a atrocious image of Manila at first glimpse. The designer’s purpose to state the whole narrative through imagination is applaudable. yet the success of the effort is questionable.
Using the rubric Dogeaters. through a fount and manner associated with pandemonium. panic. and lawlessness. merely compounds the job ; dog-eating was a pattern in really distant countries in the Philippines in ancient times. and should non be used as an embracing term to depict Filipinos—particularly in the epoch discussed in the novel. The writer may hold been able to give a alone position of the typical Filipino history and outlook of seeking greener grazing lands in America. but utilizing this design for her novel’s screen may merely name on those interested in a good horror read.
Hagedorn. Jessica. Dogeaters. New York: Penguin Group. 1990.