"the journey, not the arrival, matters" - NSW 2004 paper 1

Essay by CrabholeHigh School, 12th grade August 2005

download word file, 4 pages 3.7

It is the journey, not the arrival, that ultimately transforms the traveller - particularly for imaginative journeys, which often occur spontaneously and is undecided in its destination. The experiences one encounter during their travel/travail is what evolves them to better understanding of themselves and the world, inspires them to spiritual reform, which constitutes the educative and/or therapeutic qualities of the imaginative journey.

While the philanthropic vision of Coleridge, in This Lime Tree Bower My Prison, and John Lennon, with his gentle utopianism in the song Imagine, articulate a milder, positive philosophy of such experiences, the murky and subterranean landscape of the human psyche painted by Atwood in "Journey to the Interior", and the arduous trek depicted by Leunig in How to Get There project a mood of doubt and pessimism characteristic of our contemporary, cynical age.

Coleridge's imaginative experience propagates through a series of contrast: darkness & light, imagination & reality, freedom & confinement - which serve to compile in the responder's mind a better understanding of the concept of the journey as something that involves the development and rebirth of a person with new-found ideals or perspectives.

His physical incapacitation induces his mood of querulous egotism - reinforced by the petulant monosyllabic "well they are gone!", and is the catalyst for his imaginative trek. As his speculative powers recreates the sights and sound of his friends' physical trek, he begins to share their joy. Tactile images like "springy heath" and "speckled by the midday sun" transports the traveller to the scene - thus we are able to share his spiritual change, being moved and transformed from self-centred ignorance to selfless participation in nature & God. A similar progression occurs in his poem Frost at Midnight, where the narrator escapes his physical stagnancy through an imaginative, introspective journey:...