The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy

February 25, 2015

The Melancholy Death of Oyster BoyAllow me to return to Tim Burton‘s poems. Let us speak today about The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy. If you’ve seen even one of his films, get ready to step into a world similar to those shown on TV. It’s a strange universe, where you encounter children who are human(ish). Special people, if you wish, just like the Oyster Boy mentioned in the title. Maybe you are familiar with Morticia Addams’ words, that normal is an illusion. This is an idea which captures the essence of the given situations. The characters found roaming amidst the pages of the volume are not exactly what one would call normal.

It is a book with children, about children, but not for children (nor is it for some adults). Maybe these kids were wanted at some point, but they’ve been abandoned because they were different. Do you need examples? Look for Oyster Boy, the Girl with many eyes or Roy, the toxic boy. The major issue is that, although they are seen and treated like freaks (if you watch films, you’ll recognize this as an insult used too often by those who are normal), they are innocent and crave for happiness. They are denied that right, receiving only – more or less metaphorical – blows from the others. The ending of their short lives is marked by nothing but cruelty: Oyster Boy is killed by his own father, Mummy Boy is killed by mistake by children (as a side note… yes, they can be cruel, too), Junk Girl commits suicide and Roy dies because of clean air, our life-source.

We have twenty-three poems, some longer and others made out of only four or five lines. They are all defined by macabre and black humour. Unsettling… this is what they are. If you laugh at some point, any trace of a smile will disappear once you read a different fragment. Everything’s so sad, so tragic. The characters are not what one might expect, but we learn that the ones who are truly terrifying are humans (not many, true) hell-bent on destroying anything that is different and – according to them – impossible to understand or accept. It is no secret that this universe presented by Tim Burton in his films and poems reflects our own world: cruel, toxic, a place where innocence disappears too easily.

It’s impossible not to visualize the characters and the harsh situations they are forced to face. The author truly knows how to play with words and you feel as if you’re watching a film while the lines chase one another in front of your eyes. Everything moves so fast, you can’t stop reading… you don’t want to stop. And if your imagination refuses to work with you, the illustrations will be there to help you. Anyway, there is a line in Lilo and Stitch which stayed with me: the family is described as small and broken, but still good. It’s the same here, really. Burton’s children form a strange, but loving family.

Tim Burton has many fans, but a lot of people fail to understand his way of presenting the world. Maybe you are wondering why anyone would want to read his poems. Well, why not? True, they are not for everyone, but they deserve our attention, for us to take the time and truly look at them beyond mere words. Think about it… who are the real monsters here? Enjoy!

Text online

by Elena Atudosiei

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2 Responses to The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy

  1. book tag | eLitere on February 25, 2015 at 2:17 pm

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  2. Opposite Books Tag | eLitere on March 14, 2015 at 6:36 am

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