Journey - Away, the Red Tree the Violin Man.

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Today the meaning of journey has been lost in many forms of literature. Every single author creates some sort of journey in the stories that they write, no matter what form or medium it is in, there is always a journey being taken. There are three different types of journey; they are inner, physical and imaginative. By categorising different forms of literature into these three options, the meaning of journey can be easily derived and the techniques in which they are constructed can be more fully understood and appreciated. The drama “Away”, by Michael Gow has been very intricately written, Gow has used physical journey to portray the inner journey taking place in each of his characters lives. The picture book by Colin Thompson, “The Violin Man”, uses images and illusion to create the imaginative journey that a lonely man decides to make. Similarly “The Red Tree” uses a lonely character in the form of a young girl to represent all three journeys by incorporating physical, inner and imaginative concepts throughout the remarkable picture book. Each of these texts is constructed differently but they all use similar techniques to construct the journey being taken in each story.

“Away” by Michael Gow is an excellent example of how journeys can interweave with different types of journey to create real meaning. Gow has set up a simple story set in the late 1960’s about three different families with their own sets of issues taking a holiday at the end of the school year. Although this particular journey may seem to be a physical journey, it’s simply a metaphor for the inner journey that each character from each family takes to reach a stage of restoration and hope. From the very beginning of the play Gow incorporates “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” into his own work by beginning his own drama with the ending of Shakespeare’s play with the character Tom playing “Puck”. This is extremely significant as Gow uses his play as a comparison or rather an appropriation of Shakespeare’s drama using Tom as the centre of activity and the character that initiates action. This interweaves beautifully with the character Puck as he is the fairy that directs the other fairies in Shakespeare’s drama. Gow has shown his audience who the main character is and by placing Tom in the role of “Puck” he tells viewers that it is Tom who is going to be the centre of the journeys taking place in the play. While discussing the fact that Gow uses the physical to demonstrate what is happening on the inside of a person, one can also mention the storm that takes place in the middle of the play. The storm in the storyline serves as a climax and the turning point for many characters. Not only does Gow use a holiday to represent journey but also details such as the weather and devastating natural disasters to represent what is happening inside a character. An excellent example of a character to use is Gwen, the mother of teenage daughter Meg and wife to Jim. Gwen is an extremely snobby and proud woman. This woman has learnt to manipulate everything and everybody around her so that events take place the way that she wants them to. The reason behind her behaviour and personality is the way that she grew up and struggled with poverty as a young person, she has learnt to put materialistic possessions before the most important things in life such as the relationships with her family members. Gwen is a woman who is content living in a repetitious routine she does not like change and feels threatened when her daughter begins to mature and form her own opinions. “Throw your future away. Give it away. Throw what I have done, what we have done, in our faces” [Ref. 1a)]

Gwen feels threatened by the way she thinks her daughter is determined to live her life. Gwen is an extremely independent woman and does not like to appear weak or be in any position of weakness, and throughout her journey she is given the option to change the way she is.

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