An intellectual insight to discovery in Gray’s poetry anthology ‘Coast Road’ and Kate Chopin’s short narrative
Discoveries can provoke both emotional and intellectual responses which can subsequently seem to be provocative or confrontational. These concepts are illuminated to a profound extent in Robert Gray’s poetry anthology “Coast Road” and Kate Chopin’s narrative “The Story of an Hour”. Gray’s poem ‘The Meatworks’ unveils the affronting and unsettling nature of humans treatment of animals of the abbatoir. Whereas the didactic poem ‘Flames and Dangling Wire’ explores humankind existence in a perpetual cycle of destruction and renewal. The discovery in Kate Chopin’s narrative stems from an obscured understanding of love and sprouts into a shocking loss. These texts possess captivating realizations that evoke desperate emotion and force the reader to intellectually question their own experiences and beliefs,.
The powerful epiphany in the ‘Meatworks’ uses zoomorphism and detail to intensify the horror of the confronting scenes on the abattoir. The quote “using a chompy, greasy stick shaped like a penis” uses blunt, phallic imagery to heighten the sense of sadism and volition. The moral corruption of the characters job is expressed through “scrub my hand” as it is evidence of the blood and horror of his line of duty not being easily washed away. The imminent death of animals depicted in “the way those pigs stuck there, clinging to each other” provides understanding for the reader of the composers revelation of the vulnerability of animals through grotesque imagery. The implementation of rhetorical devices grasps the challenging insight of the composer as his views and beliefs are altered dramatically through his experiences that unmasks his repugnance as an emotional response.
The oppression of the character, Louise, in ‘The story of an Hour’ is so extreme that death seems to be positive. As she understands that her husband has died in a train accident her desire to be alone with her grief is the first indication of her inclination towards freedom and independence. The inexplicable desire for freedom clashes with the sexist and inhibiting expectations of women in the nineteenth century, where this story takes place. The realization for the reader of the extreme detriment of a repressed marriage is exemplified in the simile “as a child who cries itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams”. The third person omniscient tone romanticizes the glorious idea of freedom through the motif of an open window and Louise brushes off the notions of marriage. Louise realizes the opportunity to escape from the patriarchal dynamic and has intense self-assertion that is expressed in “the strongest impulse of her being”. This narrative significantly provokes both emotional and intellectual responses.
Flames and Dangling wire exposes the ramifications of consumerism and contrasts the wasteland Earth has become with the nature of beauty. This contrast is further explored through the composers view of the violent and merciless imposition of humans on nature and the exploration of the beauty of human action in the four line stanza. The emotion in the epiphanies is emphasized through the use of more pejoratives than euphemisms, such as using the word dump rather than waste disposal. The immediate perspective and strong allusions to mythology and art, including reference to the mythological boatman of the River Styx accentuates the link between a sump and hell on Earth. The quote encapsulating the beauty of music “and the Chopin played, one time, to a coast of light” is a sad reminder of what we have lost and what we have yet to lose. Gray challenges the belief of the superiority of the human race through providing a mere revelation of the destruction of humankind’s existence. Gray utilizes visual and tactile sensory detail including the ‘lungs of the world’ and ‘amongst these grey sheds of heat’ to display his voyage of intellectual self-discovery.
The extended ideology of freedom is emphasizes through the repetition of the word ‘free’ in The Story of an Hour and the resurgence of prominent plant life in Spring encapsulate a significant, approaching revelation from outside her window, Louise is unable to articulate her sensation which is portrayed in the pathetic fallacy in “the delicious breath of rain was in the air”. The realization of her husbands death being fake suggests no malice, however her relief over-pound her remorse. Her heart troubles are a physical and symbolic malady of her loss of freedom. This small hope of change is challenged by reality that decimates hopeful beliefs and demonstrates a devastating encounter resulting in the reader’s own emotional response.
The quote “life is an endless process of self-discovery” by James Gardner is evident in Gray’s transformative poem ‘Meatworks’ as the character realizes he is just a small piece in the jigsaw of the world. His renewed perception of life finds him contentment in the ‘furthest fibro houses’ in the picturesque, beach scenery. Gray’s amalgamation of techniques in ‘Flames and Dangling Wire’ combines his spiritual background with the negative impact of man’s impact on the natural environment and reflects the epiphanies that persist throughout the journey of life. The composers affinity with nature is expressed in the simile “a waterbird rises above the swamp” to symbolize the superiority of the natural world. The life-altering realization experienced by Louise in ‘The Story of an Hour’ demonstrates that discoveries are an endless, intrinsic element of life. As the doctors determine that Louise “died of heart disease – of joy that kills” it brings the reader gratification of the irony. The removal of her intense joy of newfound freedom led to her death. Gray’s poetry and Kate’s narrative highlight the complex nature of discovery that can be both intellectual and emotional, whilst being provocative or confrontational.
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Discoveries can provoke both emotional and intellectual responses which can subsequently seem to be provocative or confrontational. These concepts are illuminated to a profound extent in Robert Gray’s poetry anthology […]