What does it mean to live well?
Many aspects contribute to living well, as we see in Shaun Tan’s “The Arrival” family is one of the most crucial aspects that leads to living well. We see in section I that it is very hard for the man to leave his wife and child which makes his experience much more unbearable. When I think of living well my thoughts get directed to having a stable job that you enjoy and having friends and family that you love surrounding you everyday. We don’t know directly if the man is moving for work as he bounces around jobs, we see this in section IV. This instability in his work causes his quality of life to go down, much like if you were to go to work everyday and not enjoy your job.
In live we need something to connect us to where we are most happy, this “connection” comes in the form of the origami birds. From start to finish we see these birds come into the story, they connect him to his daughter and home life and this encourages him to push through his journey. As section III rolls around the man starts to absorb new traditions with other family’s, he doesn’t push them away instead he immerses himself in them. I see this as a way to connect back to his family by pretending to be apart of another. Yes this is not very usual, but I think it’s a way to cope without his family.
You need very little to be happy, but those “little” things must have meaning, love and passion. Family, friends or even a hobby you love to do will lead to living well. What the man in Shaun Tans Arrival needed was family, once his family made their “arrival” so to speak he became the man he loved to be, and that’s what we need to aspire too. We must always be the person we love to be in order to live well.