Journeys Essay with Robert Gray Poetry and Related Material

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Question:
“Journeys allow travelers to reflect on their own experiences because of new knowledge gained and greater insight into themselves and the world around them.” How do composers explore this aspect of journeys?

Essay Answer:
It is presumed that journeys are uplifting experiences, with the implication that new knowledge and greater insight allow travelers to gain wisdom and solidify a coherent view of the world. Yet, experiences through journeys can result in new knowledge clashing with preconceived beliefs, potentially disabling the traveler’s epistemology. Furthermore, a traveler cannot ignore this conflicting knowledge and return to his prior self at the conclusion of his journey. These themes are explored in Robert Gray’s poems Flame and Dangling Wire and Arrivals and Departures, an excerpt from Ahmad Faqih’s short story Gardens of the Night, and a photograph by Robert F. Sisson depicting Native Americans staring into a car at a white man.

The travelers in Robert Gray’s poems Flame and Dangling Wire, and Arrivals and Departures undergo negative experiences that, although constitute as new knowledge, result in them viewing the world as a more destructive place. Exposure to death and destruction are commonalities in the poems, which in turn disillusion the journeyers. Flames and Dangling Wire creates dark imagery of a desolate, defective future that has been destroyed by the pollution of man. Men are compared to “scavengers/ as in hell the devils/ might pick about through souls” and are presenting people as incomplete figures of humanity. This simile provides insight into the idea that man’s eternal existence is futile because the world, which in the past was civil, has become a place of mockery where “the horse-laughs”. Similarly, the journeyer in Arrivals and Departures is confronted with death, leading him to question what is morally right. The sound of “the engines’ then almost subliminal thump would stop” suggests that the continuous...
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