Traveling Inward – Journey as Metaphor

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Metaphor is most frequently employed as a literary device in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one article is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison. Journey serves as an effective metaphor because it can accurately portray many concepts from all walks of life without becoming vague. This feat is accomplished by utilizing the inherent characteristics of the word "journey" itself, as a journey can be representative of a process, physical travel, or any undertaking involving a goal. In Ariel Dorfman's Heading South, Looking North, Michael Radford's Il Postino, and Pablo Neruda's "Walking Around", the metaphor of journey manifests both as a process that the protagonists experience, and as an objective that they strive to reach. All three works under discussion have the process taking the form of physical travel, while the goal becomes discovering one's true identity. These two interpretations of journey as a metaphor are inherently intertwined, and through careful analysis, we will see how these associations are represented throughout these works. Ariel Dorfman's Heading South, Looking North perhaps best illustrates the concept of a journey being both a process and a goal. Dorfman's travels are a focal point of the autobiography, but the travel of Dorfman's parents becomes important in developing the different facets of Dorfman's identity search. The ties between Dorfman's soul-searching and his travel begin, strangely, before his own birth. The story begins at the opening of the twentieth century, when Dorman's parents had to flee Europe; his father leaving Odessa and his mother leaving Russia. They each end up in Argentina, where they met in the language common to both bilinguals – Spanish. In essence, the crafting of Dorfman's identity begins there, as he was "conceived in Spanish, literally imagined into being by that language…" (Heading South, 14). This allows us to observe how the travels of Dorfman's parents...
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