The Oxford Dictionary defines Journey as “an act of travelling from one place to another”; this could, of course, be taken literally. Instead, why not think of “places” as emotional or mental situations? So you take a journey between different emotional states. “The journey, not the arrival, matters. ” This statement is correct for all four texts I will be discussing. The journey is more important than the arrival because it is the journey that makes people who they are.
On a life journey there are tipping points that define who we become. On our life journey, what is the end, death or something beyond? What significance does death have to the person you have become? Nothing; in death we look back at who we’ve become, but we have become like that, not because of the situation that you are in at that moment in time, but the choices or paths that we took on our life journey. A life journey has bumps and dips that can sometimes feel like mountains or craters as deep as hell, but the journey will always continue.
It could be argued that we never really have a specific arrival point in the journey, but have multiple points of arrival and departures. Does a life journey ever really end? The journeys that are shown in the texts are inner journeys (spiritual, mental and emotional) that revolve around certain significant points in the subject’s life journey. The four texts that will be compared are; “God’s Grandeur”-Gerald Manley Hopkins, “I wake and feel the fell and dark, not day”-Gerald Manley Hopkins, “Reign Over Me” written and directed by Mike Binder and a visual representation of journey. God’s Grandeur” contains a significant inner journey. In the first four lines of the octet Hopkins describes a natural world through which God’s presence runs like an electrical current. Alternatively in the last four lines of the octet he talks about how humans are robbed of their sensitivity to the beauty of what is left in nature, people have become unaware of the wonders of the world around them. The sestet shifts in argument again, even though humans do not realise it, nature continuously offers the potential of power and re-birth.
Hopkins is in awe of the beauty of God’s presence all around him. Hopkins uses a metaphor of God’s grandeur as an electric force. This suggests an undercurrent that is not always seen, but which builds up as a tension or pressure that occasionally flashes out in ways that can be both brilliant and dangerous. In this moment Hopkins is amazed at how rich and full of life God can make him, Hopkins emotions peak at a high at this point in time. Hopkins uses repartition of the word “trod” and triple rhyming words; “… ave trod, have trod, have trod, all is seared with trade bleared and smeared with toil” to emphasis the struggle of humans, continuous journey, they have been on a journey for so long that they can’t see God clearly anymore, and the use of the word “smeared” is to exaggerate the same thing again, the screen between God and humans is getting murky and dirty, not easy to see through, so they are losing contact. . Hopkins is disappointed that humans have destroyed the land by building factories. Seeing this makes Hopkins sad and sorrowful.
Again Hopkins emotions drop wildly when he realizes that man does not recognize His power and the beauty of nature; “…. the soil is bare now, nor foot can feel, being shod. ” This may mean that because humans are wearing shoes we are disconnected to nature, and we cannot feel God’s presence because we have a barrier between us and the earth. Humans have been cutting down trees and ruining the Earth for centuries, we have made the soil bare. Once Hopkins realizes that humans have stopped being one with nature, it made him almost annoyed that we can just ignore God’s presence.
Hopkins spirits are finally lifted again when he notices that there will always be the promise of re-birth, new life and “dearest freshness”. In the last four lines of the sestet Hopkins employs imagery from nature to convey rejuvenation by saying “…. last lights off the black West went oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs…. ah! bright wings” meaning; that even though the sun goes down in the west he knows that God will bring it back up in the East, he has faith that God will keep the Earth surviving long enough that a similar cycle will happen with nature; that things will go back to how they were, fresh and rejuvenated.
Also, Hopkins believes that eventually if God keep the Earth turning someone will eventually notice the beauty and wonder that God’s presence makes. In this poem Hopkins is on an emotional journey, he first starts by being amazed at God’s presence, then his emotions change to almost angry at how human can be so ignorant, then when he realises that God will always be there his emotions transform to astonishment at Gods persistence. Would it matter that he was astonished at the end of the poem, if you didn’t know how hat occurred to redder him this way? The second text that I will be discussing is “I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day”, this is a terrible sonnet by Gerald Manley Hopkins this poem, is an emotional journey also. In this poem Hopkins is suffering from insomnia, he longs for the brightness of the day time. The darkness of night makes Hopkins feel claustrophobic, the poem emphasises his feelings of loneliness and isolation. The sonnet finishes with the consolation of sleep, while it opens with its impossibility.
Hopkins starts this poem by stating that he wake up expecting day light, but unfortunately he is still stuck in the fall of darkness. The clever use of “fell of dark”, relates back to the fall of Adam and Eve, or how the Lucifer (the devil) is a “fallen” angel. Hopkins is trying to get across the meaning that darkness is cruel or the equivalent to “Lucifer”, compared to the brightness of daylight. Hopkins is exhausted and he feels as though the night time is endless “But where I say Hours I mean years, mean life”.
The last four lines of the octet describe how Hopkins is wondering where God really is, “… like dead letters, to dearest him that lives alas! Away. ” Hopkins has been trying to get a response from God for all the hours of the night, but he feels like pleading with God for sleep is pointless. He thinks that God is just ignoring him. The first line of the sestet has a metaphor “I am gall, I am heartburn. ” Hopkins is now feeling so terrible that is feels like he is the pain; the darkness is so overwhelming that he feels that he himself has become the insomnia. “The lost are like this…. s I am mine, their sweating selves; but worse” Hopkins now feels like he can understand how “the lost” (damned) feel, that they too; are trapped in never ending darkness. Hopkins emotional journey in this poem moves from a pleading state with God, through self-pity then to an emotion that is almost undefinable, he is irritated at God for not helping him through his suffering of insomnia, but disappointed with himself for being so. Between the two poems Hopkins emotions change of emotions from the joyfulness of ‘Gods Grandeur” to the despair of “I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day” is a journey in itself.
Hopkins must have experienced a pivotal moment in his life for his emotions to change so dramatically. “Reign Over Me” written and directed by Mike Binder has a very powerful inner journey (both mental and emotional). It is the story of a man named Charlie and his struggle to deal with the loss of his family in the tragedy of 9/11, Charlie suffers from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and is helped through the struggle by his former college roommate Alan. In the movie, Charlie starts off weaving through the traffic on this motorised scooter, symbolising that he is in his own world.
Charlie is stuck in a loop the whole way through the movie, every day is a struggle to just get up out of bed. He lost his family and he is constantly trying to shut that out, he pretends he doesn’t remember any of that pivotal moment in time. “He just shut down. Quit work. He stopped wanting to talk about her. Then he acted like he didn’t remember them. Then he pretended like he didn’t remember us. ” Charlie’s in-laws are constantly trying to talk to him, while Charlie is just trying to forget. He is in a state of denial for most of the movie, until Alan gets him to talk to someone.
First he tries a therapist, but Charlie refuses to talk. Eventually Charlie confides in Alan and tells him the story of how he lost his whole world “….. and I felt them burning. ” This is the beginning of a new journey for Charlie; he has finally realized that he must remember them to enable himself to move on. Charlie’s emotions peak at amazing highs and drop so low at times that he doesn’t know if he can live with the pain of losing his family, but with the help of his in-laws and his friend Alan, Charlie’s journey has gotten back on a more stable path.
What Charlie went through, made his mind and soul so distressed that his journey to recovery will never end, it will be a constant struggle to stay on the stable path. So this particular example of journey has no arrival, but the process of his emotional peaks and falls has made his journey a lot more important than where he will end up. Again, does a life journey ever really end? Will Charlie ever arrive at a point where is can just stop? No, he must always continue on.
The final text in a visual representation of a journey, in the middle of the frame you are looking at a set of steps (outside) leading up to darkness with a caption above reading “Life is a Journey-Enjoy the journey. ” The steps in the visual are not perfect or straight, they are rough and uneven. This is a symbol meaning that life may not be easy; it will have parts that are unstable and scary. Also, the steps are leading up to darkness, this represents that we do not know where life will lead us, and it is unknown.
If we knew where we were going what would be the point of the journey? Why wouldn’t we just jump around the hard parts and go straight to our destination? No one knows where life will take us; each decision has a separate path leading us to another choice. It doesn’t matter where we end up if there was no story of how we got there. There is a circle of light on the bottom few steps. This is a symbol that only the place where we are standing at a certain moment in time is lit up, we can only see so far ahead of us. Once that light ends it is unrevealed where the path will lead.
The caption above the image reads “Life is a journey-Enjoy the journey. ” A life journey has multiple inner journeys; each inner journey is important and significant. There would be no point to the journey if we didn’t not enjoy each moment. Enjoy life; it is the only real journey we ever undertake. Each inner journey is experience differently by the main subject of the individual texts. In both of Hopkins poems he experiences two vastly opposing emotional states. One is admiration for God’s presence, while the other is disappointment at how God can just ignore Hopkins suffering.
Neither one of his poems bring him to any kind of conclusion, therefore his journey continues and does not arrive anywhere. In “Reign Over Me” Charlie’s grief moves through the seven stages but does not conclude. He will always grieve but is stable enough for his life journey to continue. Like Hopkins, Charlie’s journey is not over when our involvement is over. In the visual representation we cannot see the end of the path so the only option is to persist up the steps, even though it is scary and unknown still the journey continues. So what is the arrival without each separate step of the journey?