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Imaginative Journeys: S.T. Coleridge "Lime Tree Bower, My Prison" And "Frost At Midnight"

786 words - 3 pages

"To what extent has studying the concept of imaginative journeys expanded your understanding of yourself, of individuals and the world?"To reach the full potential of our human experience, an individual must reach beyond the boundaries of the physical world and use the power of imagination to reach an understanding of the self and the natural world. Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poems, "This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison" and "Frost at Midnight", explore how imaginative journeys allow the individual to realize and satisfy the need for spiritual fulfillment, leading to self discovery and a heightened understanding of our natural surroundings.The power of imagination acts as a medium for an individual's spiritual transcendence into the state of enlightenment and joy that defines the wonder of human life. In Coleridge's "This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison", the persona's imaginative journey acts as the catalyst for personal growth and an understanding of the natural world develops. Ironically, the persona's journey of liberation begins his bower "prison" where he adopts a short-lived melodramatic tone in his lamentation for "Friends, whom I[he] may never more meet again". However, as his imaginative journey gains momentum, the wonder of nature "flings arching like a bridge" across his imagination, creating an image of vitality that contrasts the previously sorrowful tone. His outlook on his present situation undergoes a dramatic change for the better. The persona gains enlightenment through his own thoughts and as he delves deep into his imagination, the spiritual escalation he experiences is mirrored by a constant light imagery that moves from being "dimm'd" to "dappled", to being a glorious "radiance," highlighting his growing awareness of the "Love and Beauty" nature has to offer. In systolic expansion, his thoughts move outwards from the claustrophobic state of his confinement, to the expansive landscape, allowing him to understand that the power of imagination is like a "wide wide Heaven" that extends to every individual in the universe, bestowing them with understanding and enlightenment. Furthermore, the "beauties and feelings", of which he is physically deprived, are replaced by a journey through the spiritual eye, and the bower that he initially claims to be his prison, ironically becomes a liberating force. Thus, the balancing and cyclical nature of the poem's structure allows for Coleridge's imaginative journey to end in completion and fulfillment, as well as opening his mind to the...

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