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Journey Essay

By Pappas666 May 08, 2012 1366 Words
In every text, both realities and possibilities are inherent in the journeys individuals undertake, but the extent that one dominates or interacts with the other differs widely. The poems “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost and “The French Prisoner” by Janos Pilinszky, both explore journeys that include realities and possibilities. “The Road Not Taken” uses “road” as an extended metaphor. The journey undertaken by the persona is not merely physical, however, the journey is metaphysical in nature. This poem explores journey as a possibility and explores two key ideas, journeys are individual experiences, and, journeys are propelled by decisions. The poem “The French Prisoner” challenges the assumption that journeys are exhilarating and rewarding. The text also explores a type of journey that was reality at one stage. Thus, the journey explored offers a savage role in memory, as the poem explains a memory that is destructive but also enlightening to read for the responder. The journey explores a real observance of a prisoner that culminates in a destructive, consuming memory. The idea of a metaphysical journey is extended in the visual text, ‘The Ivory Trail’, which supports ambivalent attitude towards realities and possibilities. In this text, the realities of unusual travel to symbols of the olden days are balanced by the mysterious and dangerous possibilities the text presents. This is central to the film ‘Into the Wild’ directed by Sean Penn, 2007, Paramount Vantage. Here the physical journey of Christopher McCandless into the Alaskan Wilderness invites the responder to make a judgment about the interdependence of realties and possibilities. The impact of Christopher’s personal journey has significant consequences for the complex inner journeys undertaken.

The Road Not Taken uses road as an extended metaphor for journey. The journey undertaken by the persona is not merely physical; it is also metaphysical in nature. Journeys are individual experiences, this is expressed in the poem by using first person, and they assess which choice to take. “…And sorry I could not travel both…” emphasises to the reader that the composer is writing about a personal experience that he may have witnessed in the past. Also, it shows a reality that the persona will only write about one journey, instead of comparing two journeys to each other which brings on a whole different possibility. ` thus, this journey is a journey of the mind. The tone used in paragraph one, is confident and controlled “…And sorry I could not travel both…” is a mildly regretful tone; controlled, measured rhythm contributes to a confident tone shows the reader that the composer is really confident in what he is writing about. The possibility in this text is the writer taking the other path. If successful, the writer could either confuse the reader quite easily. When reading two different journeys in the same text, readers quite often will get confused. This is a significant idea about the concept of journey due to the fact that journey should be a personal experience. This poem explores both reality and possibilities in journey. “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both” is and example of an ambiguous decision. This decision is an example of a journey that might be imaginable by the reader. This journey is a reality not a possibility, due to the fact that the persona has already experienced this journey and is writing a recount in a poem form. “…And sorry I could not travel both…” again shows the reader that this journey has occurred. By contrast, ‘The French Prisoner’ by Janos Pilinszky, also explores both journeys that include both realities and possibilities. The journey challenges the assumption that journeys are exhilarating and rewarding. The persona is caught up in a journey that he can’t get rid of “… If only I could forget that Frenchman…”is an instance of the persona wanting to disregard this. The poem reminds responders that journeys are not always about fulfillment. While many journey texts suggest that obstacles a eventually overcome, ‘The French Prisoner’ shows a different kind of journey. The first person speaker uses a tone of frustration, the opening line is an example of this point, ‘If only I could forget that Frenchman’. An image is highlighted instantly in the reader’s head that this poem will be unforgiving and cruel. Janos Pilinszky purposely doesn’t explore a metaphysical journey in this poem due to the fact that it is all realities. The persona memory of watching the prisoner ‘among garden shadows’ is one that remains with him, beginning an inner journey that is neither rewarding nor satisfying. ‘The French Prisoner’ challenges the assumption that journeys include both realities and possibilities by only offering a text that only explores reality.

The poster ‘The Ivory Trail’ emphasises both realities and possibilities. The written text ‘The Ivory Trail’ emphasises the physical, arduous nature of the journey and shows us that it might lead to a quest and be potentially dangerous. The responder is positioned to view this text as not merely physical by the use of the gaze of offer. The poster has no realities only possibilities. This text could lead to viewer in many directions. The reader instantly is attracted to the context of the poster, which is in Egypt, this is emphasised through the use of physical landmarks; the pyramid, damaged sphinx and temples. This gives the reader more of an idea of where the journey is going to be held. The poster also uses a dominant image of a face, suggesting that the journey will be about an individual and personal journey. The dominant focus on the upturned and averted eyes on the poster suggests that the persona will undergo a new and unknown experience leading to a shift in understanding a different type of perspective. Possibilities are only explored in this poster.

The film ‘Into the Wild’ directed by Sean Penn, represents both realties and possibilities. The film begins with a scene of parental distress. The mother has woke up from a dream and tries to think that it is not a dream, she heard her son, “…I heard him…I heard Chris…”. This shows the tragedy that this story may possibly hold, through her anguish. Chris McCandless lives by the statement that “You don’t need human relationships to be happy, God has placed it all around…”. The film represents a reality through the use of Christopher travelling through the Alaskan Wilderness. The key establishing shots of the wilderness expresses to the viewer that this journey will be about a journey that will be unforgiving. Throughout the whole film, the possibilities of Chris ‘giving up’ almost become real on multiple occasions. Towards the end of the film when Chris comprehends that ‘…Happiness is only real when shared…”, he finally realizes that he shouldn’t have taken this journey, because he is going to be unsuccessful in surviving the journey. This is a vast reality that Chris should have realised beforehand. The film represents a harsh reality through the death of Chris at the end of the film.

The poems “The Road not Taken” and “The French Prisoner”, realities and possibilities are shown in both texts. However, “The Road not Taken” by Robert Frost tends to explore realities more than possibilities by exploring only one road instead of imagining what will be down the other, which is a reality. By contrast “The French Prisoner” challenges the assumption that realties and possibilities are present in every journey text, by only writing about the realties that happened. “The Ivory Trail” only explores possibilities. Through the use of descriptive imagery, the viewer is only situated to consider the possibilities that arise from this poster, not realties. “Into the Wild” by Sean Penn represents a journey that only shows realties. Chris starts out as a teenager as a lot of potential but by the end of the film, he finally realizes that he shouldn’t have taken this journey, because he is going to be unsuccessful in surviving the journey. This is a vast reality that Chris should have realised beforehand. The film represents a harsh reality through the death of Chris at the end of the film. All journey texts label both realties and possibilities.

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