Grau’s story and the picture by Laughlin relate for the reason that they are harmonic to each other. Like an illustration in a Jan Brett collection, the picture flows with the story’s layout and the two juxtapose each other relatively. Grau didn’t have to cite Laughlin directly because her grandfather did all of that for her in the story. He said that, “Memory is the most amazing thing. It is a human being human. It is what links one generation to another.”(pg. 418, line 1.) While glancing at a picture, it could be viewed in different ways. A picture is worth a thousand words, they say. When looking at the picture, a reader might think it has something significant to do with the story in that it was displayed after the title and before the story began. It makes someone wonder if it could be the setting. Or, it could be a concept later defined in the story. Or it just might, like Grau’s grandfather explained, be a memory, as are most photos.
The question that Grandfather asks the children before he starts his story is related to the picture. If you are not focused on the sights that are around you and what you are experiencing, then you are missing out on life itself. Without knowing where you’ve been, how will you know where you’re going? Laughlin’s picture has the house fading out in the background. This just goes to show that good memories sometimes fade with time and Grandfather told his stories to keep his memory alive.
Grau’s grandfather is like the picture. Pictures preserve the present for the future. Grandfather was a photo in human form because he passed on his legacy to his granddaughter and others through his stories; a memory, like a picture, for his and future generations to come.
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