Inner Journeys

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More than anything else inner journeys are about the challenge of self reflection . Do you agree? An inner journey involves the exploration of the self, as individuals review their growth and development in light of experiences which challenges and inspires them. More than anything else, inner journeys are about the challenge of self-reflection. The following texts ‘We All Fall Down’ by Robert Cormier, ‘Baghdad Wedding’ by Hassan Abdulrazzak and ‘Things have changed’ by Bob Dylan emphasise how one reflects on the ways an inner journey provides new insight and an understanding of the world and themselves.

Robert Cormier’s thriller novel ‘We All Fall Down’ explores the April Fools Day trashing of the Jerome’s house that leaves the youngest daughter Karen in a coma, the house a disaster, and an emotional state for Jane and her family. The trashers are four average high school boys led by the manipulative and dominating Harry Flowers. Harry manipulated the group and takes advantage of Buddy’s state of mind. ‘The Avenger’ an 11 year old boy witnesses it all, but remains an unknown character until the conclusion. The book focuses separately on the trashers, the Jerome family and the Avenger, as they unknowingly interact and come together at the stories end. The novel points us towards the key themes of maturity, isolation and loneliness and moral failure. Cormier’s characters review their growth and development in light of experiences and shows their ability to challenge themselves to self reflect.

Through the use of motif and irony Cormier allows the reader to follow the inner struggles of his characters. A motif is a recurring theme or basic idea. This literary technique helps to unify the novel and emphasize particular themes or issues within it. Cormier uses the motif of the ‘broken window’ when Harry instructs his trashers “not to break any windows”, Buddy’s father explains his broken relationship with his wife and family has been shattered, like a broken window, “You can’t fix it. You get a new window.” The reader is also told that “the eyes are the windows of the soul”. At several stages throughout the novel, Cormier uses the motif of religion to explore concepts of sin, evil and redemption. This is shown firstly when Jane visits the Hospital Chapel. Jane begins to reflect in the hospital chapel while visiting Karen. Jane recognises an absence of faith and spirituality in her life as if this might be to blame for the present circumstances. It is secondly presented when Addy and Buddy begin to talk. Addy voices the theme of the novel when she declares that “The sins of omissions are the sins of doing nothing.” There is a sad irony that often reappears throughout Cormier’s novel. During the novel Addy’s only way to break through Buddy’s isolation she had to offer him alcohol the very cause of his isolation. The deepest irony in the novel relates to the joy and comfort Buddy and Jane are able to give to each other, the fact that Buddy is both the cause and cure for Jane’s pain. The reader can also see that the characters behave ironically, Harry Flowers is the model student to his father but his father doesn’t really know the true nature of his son. More importantly, in the novel many inner journeys are undertaken by the main characters.

The first character that begins their inner journey is Buddy who self reflects on his action of the trashing and the deceitful relationship with Jane. Buddy has an unhappy relationship with his parents who are divorcing and a poor relationship with his sister Addy. He is a victim of a broken home. His weakness lies in turning to drink to cope with his unhappy world. ‘The gin he drinks makes the rotten things go away’. “Drinking, however, gave him bliss in his loneliness. When he drank and began to drift, the lovely vagueness taking over his sensibilities, he did not need comrades or companions. Needed nobody. Especially did not need his mother and father.”Which of course, exactly...
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