Discovery in Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara’s “The Motorcycle Diaries” And “Invictus” By William Ernest Henley
Discovery is a process which may be forcefully applied upon an individual, or one that an individual chooses to undergo. The process of discovery explores revealing the unknown that forces individuals to reconsider the known. This idea is demonstrated in the prescribed text, Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara’s memoir “The Motorcycle Diaries” (“TMD”) and the related text, Poem, “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley. In these texts, Discovery embodies the experience of finding something for the first time and subsequently rediscovering something that has been lost, disregarded or covered. In “TMD”, the idea is precisely explored through the hidden aspects of society such as geographical discovery, physical discovery and self-discovery, causing poverty and leading to political awaking. “Invictus” also shares this idea through new spiritual perceptions and self-determination alludes to renewed perceptions such as self-discovery. Both these texts demonstrate this process of discovery are confronting and aggressive, leaving a major impact on an individual, resulting in a change of their perspective on the world surrounding them, through perspectives of self-discovery, geographical discovery and physical discovery.
Discoveries involve a process of transformation which can result in healing, reconciliation and renewal ideologies. In “TMD”, Ernesto Che Guevara’s provoking physical discovery and geographical discovery challenges his expectations of an aesthetic adventure, stimulating reflection on the universal dilemma of middle-class families, radicalising his Marxist values and questions the nature of socialism. Firstly, this is evident when Guevara comes across with a Chilean couple “who were communists” and “had not one single miserable blanket to cover themselves with”. Within the use of emotive language and empathetic tone such as “man’s figure carried a mysterious tragic air” he creates a plea to pathos. Furthermore, through the use of anaphora in “three months in prison…his starving wife…his fruitless pilgrimage”, it can be seen that the composer strengthens the sense of injustice, and provides more justification for Guevara’s evolving political persuading. Subsequently, his speech on “a United Latin America” exposes his profound desire to help the working class people and his newfound aim to “rid of the weight of small-minded provincialism”. This is more evident through the use of apostrophe and alliteration in “it’s time that those who govern spent… more money, on socially useful works”, representing the beginnings of his change of ideology towards Marxist values. In addition to this, the atrociousness of his shift in perspective is shown by his rejection of the privileged middle-class life as an Argentinian doctor. For example, the tricolon in Guevara’s “close contact with poverty, with hunger, with disease” exemplifies the scale of the social injustice he experienced and reassesses his new views.
Furthermore, in “TMD”, Guevara’s travelling also acts as a journey of self-discovery that forces him to reconsider his understanding of his purpose and eventually leads him to discover of his capacity as a revolutionary. Through the composer’s, non-linear structure of the vignettes, the viewer is able to comprehend a shorten process of his political metamorphosis. This is highlighted in Guevara’s attitude towards the trip which “decided just like that” showing humorous as express by the hyperbole “…infinite number of paths to all ends of the earth”. However, as the travel reveals a shift towards a more serious and reflective tone occurs in his thoughts, such as “I knew…antagonistic halves…with the people”, where the metaphor of conflict foreshadows his revolutionary nature. Hence, Guevara’s thoughts on the world around him changes and in addition his comprehension of himself as a revolutionary has likewise dramatically transformed. It is clear that “TMD” conveys this process of discovery through physical discovery and geographical discovery.
Discovery can be confronting and provocative, which has a major impact on an individual’s perspective on any aspect of life. In the “Invictus” poem, the composer, Henley, emphasises on the spiritual sudden realisation made by the persona through the physical hardship. The self-discovery of “I am the master of my fate” is reflective of the composer’s foot amputation while in the hospital at the time of composition, which greatly impacted his outlook on his life. This is illustrated through the extended metaphor representing suffering in “the night that covers me” and “Horror if the shade”. The rhyme in “soul”, “pole” and “aloud” supports the steadiness of his suffering. Moreover, the use of personification of chance in “fell clutch of circumstance” and “bludgeonings of chance” conveys strong connotations of misery enhancing the challenges he faces and provides the first allusion to the determination needed to overcome his situation. Consequently, instead of being discouraged by his condition, Henley uses the occasion to strengthen his ability to survive, this is evident through the metaphor in “menace of…shall find me unafraid” illustrating the alteration from present to future tense which shows his determination to maintain a positive attitude. Additionally, the title “Invictus” in Latin means unconquered and it becomes a recurring motif, for example, “my unconquerable soul” which highlights Henley’s determination and as a result, his enormous bodily trauma required his forging of new self-discovery and determination in order to be at a renewed perception of life. It is clear that “Invictus” conveys this process of discovery through physical discovery and geographical discovery.
Both “The Motorcycle Diaries Discoveries” by Ernesto Che Guevara and “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley, demonstrated the process of discovery may be confronting, however, it leads to a transformation within an individual in a vast array of ways to result in a sense of healing, reconciliation and renewal. This is further shown after uncovering the unknown, perceptions already formed are questioned, reconsidered and altered through the new values found of the composer and personas.
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