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Coleridge, Text Of Own Choosing, And The Imaginative Journey

1060 words - 4 pages

Imaginative journeys allow us to transcend the physical world and travel through a metaphysical realm, giving us greater freedom to speculate and to learn. The limitless nature of imagination lends itself willingly to speculation, suspending disbelief, and offering endless possibilities. Imagination allows the traveler to over come the restrictions of the physical world, and enables a greater understanding of the world and of himself. This is shown in the poetry of Coleridge, and other texts.Through imagination we are able to speculate on possibilities previously thought to be intangible. Coleridge's Kubla Kahn reflects this notion through the exploration of the potential of the human mind. Coleridge compares imagination to "Alph, the sacred river" and conveys its endless potential, through the image of an infinite chasm "through caverns measureless to man." The "stately pleasure dome" represents an idea, the product of speculation, built "where Alph, the sacred river ran" on imagination. Through a contrast of "walls and towers" to the sensory imagery, and the evoked smells of nature "gardens bright with sinuous rills" "blossomed many an incense-bearing tree", Coleridge shows us the reconcilement of opposites. This is further reinforced through the contrast of "as holy and enchanted", two paradigms in conflict with each other, yet existing within the dome. Coleridge reinforces the surreal image, through the contrast of the "sunny pleasure dome with caves of ice" and opposites are once more reconciled. The recurring image of the "sacred river", "five miles meandering" "through wood and dale" traverses the many speculations, symbolic of the creation of ideas from imagination. Thus we see that the dome is able to exist through imagination. This is reinforced through the image "I would build that dome in air" as Coleridge is able to "revive within me" his speculation "a vision I once saw" through the power of his imagination. By the contrasting and reconciling of opposites, Coleridge demonstrates the capacity of the imagination to reach beyond what is tangible. Not only does the imaginative journey allow the traveler to suspend disbelief, but the scope of speculation it offers is limitless.At times the scope of the imagination is vast beyond the traveler's grasp. Margaret Atwood's Journey to the Interior metaphorically compares speculation with an uncharted journey, through an extensive wilderness, the human imagination. Through rich visual imagery, "endless as prairies" Atwood paints the endless scope of the imagination "welded together, open as I move". Yet through enjambment, and the use of contrasting images "light and dark" Atwood conveys the difficulty of travel. Through the use of a conversational tone, "of course: the lack of reliable charts;" and rhetorical question "have I been walking in circles again?" an insight into the difficulty of traversing the expanse of the imagination, of speculation, is clearly expressed, "a compass is useless."...

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