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Physical Journeys

Essay by   •  March 13, 2012  •  Essay  •  1,906 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,462 Views

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Physical journeys have the ability to reshape the human intellect and soul, and have done so from as long as humans have been able to document their journeys of coming of age, obligation and independence. Journeys allow us to perceive life with a broadened perspective, not only after encapsulation of the journey, but amid it, establishing unity and developing our personal fundamentals of culture and beliefs. Physical journeys are experienced at all stages in a lifetime, and in no aspect dependable on age to be of importance, for physical journeys are singular in the facet that they are simple movement from one place to another, they are a necessity in life, yet there is no journey alike or without intent. Texts which feature physical journeys allow our understanding of the concept to develop and recognise the significance of our own physical journeys and the inextricable link between itself and other journey types, such as inner and imaginative. Texts which exhibit physical journeys are Peter Skryznecki's anthology, Immigrant Chronicles, containing poems 'Crossing the Red Sea' and 'Immigrants at Central Station, 1951' which both respectively offer issues of isolation in transit and alienation at the destination. An advertisement placed by Singapore Airlines, in October 25th's publication of the Sydney Morning Herald, presents it's readers the opportunity to devote themselves to quiescence, and The Red Tent, a novel composed by Anita Diamant uses the physical journey as a parallel to the protagonists transition into adulthood.

The advertisement offered by Singapore Airlines appeals to those frequent roamers who have become ensnared in the tedium of constant physical journeys, and this concept is offered through the superimposed slogan, 'EXPERIENCE TRAVEL IN A NEW LIGHT,' an imperative supplicating the attention of it's viewers, swaying them to recuperate and enjoy their time travelling rather than view it with trepidation. Therefore through deviation from conventional travel, it suggests that in the physical journey, travellers will be reinvigorated through a reconstructed sense of awareness via segregation from societal norms and mores.

The physical journey in the advertisement is being presented as opulent and luxurious, seen through vectors, which are utilized to direct the eye to an area of the page presenting a sunset viewed out of the window, epitomising the notion of the end of the day, a time of relaxation, which appeals to those who wish for recluse to reflect upon their journey and experiences. This is supported by the euphony in the tagline, 'their very own haven of tranquillity,' suggesting that physical journeys are clandestine, tailored to the individual, for no personal reflection is cognate and each escape partitioned, appealing to those who require a ruminative hiatus.

The advertisement accents its conceptual idea of separation from the world through an image ironically showing the aeroplane larger than the globe lulling audiences into believing that the stoic routine of life will be surpassed onboard, allowing passengers to disregard earthly problems and perhaps self-actualise through the world being metaphorically extraneous.

Physical journeys are presented throughout the advertisement as the means to rejuvenate our mind and soul, an expurgation of our daily life and an escape that allows for the exploration of the individual.

'Immigrants at Central Station, 1951' composed by Peter Skryznecki presents the theme of culture shock and isolation that is prevalent within the branches of physical journeys, and in this instance how this theme convolutes into the lives of a family of migrants collectively experiencing transitory journeys after escaping their homeland.

Within the first line of the poem, we are aware that a physical journey is taking place, "It was sad to hear, the trains whistle," suggesting that with the tone of remorse, the family of immigrants have become lonely and empty with their physical journey, for every passage of movement has advanced their estrangement with the culture they are immersed within.

The progression of time becomes increasingly frustrating on behalf of the migrants, the simile "like cattle brought for slaughter" which suggests that as the displaced await their approaching ephemeral transit, they become vulnerable and subdued, aware of their future which retains no depth or opportunity to grow their identity. Through this connection to animals on the threshold of death, it suggests their future is bleak, and that within their introduced society, they are treated as a horde to be dispatched, rather than individuals, therefore bringing forth the notion that physical journeys may bring about the loss of culture and identity. This opposes the physical journey shown in Singapore Airlines advertisement, an incorporeal journey designed to empower the human spirit through a secluded environment, rather than the journey undertaken by the immigrants in a detached environment that inspires bereavement of spiritual and cultural identity.

Skryznecki employs contextual symbolism to elucidate contrast between cultures, "families stood, with blankets and packed cases," suggesting that their possessions give the itinerants security and purpose, as they represent their lives being packed away, and the only thing that is sustaining their culture is their history and language which exists only between them, ultimately unable to be perpetual in their new environment. This may incline us to believe that whilst journeying, one cannot feel entirely satisfied or a part of the culture, because regardless of enculturation attempts, one cannot transpire as a member without experiencing its history and language.

The concept of time subjugates the couplet which completes the poem in the metaphor, "time ran ahead, along glistening tracks of steel," which suggests that time and life continue, and so will their experiences of isolation. Through Skryznecki associating time with steel, it suggests a harsh future for the migrants, yet upon reflection, their family ties will continue due to joint memories of tyranny and isolation.

The constant transience

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