the simple gift – Cover Analysis

 In English we had to do a cover analysis of the book the simple gift by Steven Herrick.

 This is what I came up with:

the simple gift by Steven Herrick

The cover of the verse novel, the simple gift, provokes contrasting feelings of warmth, calamity, despondency and hope. The reflection of a sunrise or sunset suggests the end of an era or a new beginning. The colours and images suggest the novel is a coming of age story aimed at young adults.

Depicted in the centre of the cover is an outward facing hand holding an old style key. The hand looks aged and the sleeve of a maroon jumper suggests it belongs to a man. The key is placed in his left hand which indicates he is receiving it either as a gift or maybe a prize. It could symbolise the key to someone’s heart or the key to happiness or maybe it unlocks the door to a new world, a better world. I think the key might be a sign that there is still hope.

Situated behind the hand is what looks to be storm clouds. They seem to be split in half at the middle of the page. A sunrise or sunset is reflected on the bottom half of the clouds, tinting them with orange. This could suggest the end of an era or a new beginning. The black in the top of the clouds instils a feeling of mystery and fear and suggests great tragedy or misfortune, whereas the orange suggests warmth and balance. It could also mean that the protagonist is demanding of attention.

In between the two halves of cloud is a picture of a train track. This leads one to believe that the protagonist may be running from or to something, breaking through the darkness and away from misery. Maybe the story is about someone going on a journey to find happiness, taking a chance, catching a train to an unknown destination, running away from tragedy not knowing where they will end up, leaving with nothing but hope for a better life and a key, possibly the key to happiness. The train track, like the sunset, could symbolise a new beginning, a change of times.

Next one’s eyes move to the title at the top of the page, the simple gift. What is the simple gift? Love? Happiness? Freedom? Could it be the key in the man’s hand? That which unlocks the door to what one most wants? That, to me, is the simple gift. The text is a light purple which symbolises the foundation of all that is, a combination of strength and mercy. It suggests that the protagonist is imaginative, visionary, etheric and a daydreamer. In the title the word ‘the’ is the smallest out of them all; it is situated above the word ‘simple’ and to the left. This is most likely done because ‘the’ is the least important word in the title. Next is the word ‘simple’. It is the largest word on the page which suggests it is the most important word. The word ‘gift’ is slightly larger than ‘the’ but smaller than ‘simple’. It is situated underneath the word ‘simple’ and to the right. The font is simple, keeping in theme with the title and has no uppercase letters.

The only other text on the page is the author’s name, Steven Herrick. It appears to be in the same font as the title but this time uppercase letters are used because it is his name. The text is still purple but it is a slightly darker shade and it is situated at the bottom of the page. This is most likely done because the publisher feels the authors name is not as important as the title, marketing wise. Or it could just be an aesthetic choice, done to balance out the page and put the emphasis on the image in the middle.

One’s eyes will also come across a small silhouette of a power line in the right corner of the page. This could just be for aesthetic purposes, in keeping with the theme of trains, but I think there is more to it.  It may be there to put an emphasis on the train tracks or it may indicate power, authority, command and control. It looks like it is in the distance; fading, like the life he is leaving. I believe the power line is there to represent the life and the unruly authority the protagonist is running away from.

I imagine the novel will be about an elderly man telling the story about the time he ran away from home in search of a better place. Tales will be told of his journey out of the darkness and into light, of all the trouble he got in, all the mess he made and how he found a way out of it all, how he found love, happiness and the place where he truly belonged.