The creativity is considered to be one of the unique features of human beings and the progress the mankind has achieved is basically predetermined by humans’ creativity and imaginative power. At the same time, often the creative process remains hidden from the public eye and even from individuals’ conscience. However, the most marvelous discoveries are made in the imaginative journey when individuals are totally absorbed by their own imagination. It is worthy of mention that the imaginative journey can be traced in many literary works and works of art and, naturally, many specialists could not fail to devote their researches to this problem.
On analyzing the concept of the imaginative journey, it is possible to refer to such a work as the film Donnie Darko where the main character suffers from a bunch of problems that put him in quite a difficult position to the extent that the viewers can easily believe that he has some serious mental problems. At the same time, it is obvious that the creators of the film attempted to show an individual, an adolescent, who is simply getting lost in the real world he lives in and it is only in his imagination he can find reconciliation and protection from the problems of the real world. Remarkably, Donnie, being a kind of outcast and lacking friends, has a hidden internal potential and his own secrets that can be unlocked only with the help of hypnosisys. This hidden secrets and potential of the main character turns to be so powerful that it saves his own life when an engine falls of the plane and destroys his room while Donnie was not their conversing with Frank. In such a way the author of the film attempts to show the internal power that may be hidden in each individual and, in actuality, the isolation of Donnie and his presumable mental problems are rather the indicators of his superiority over others than his backwardness. In fact, the film makes the audience think about this hidden potential every individual may possess, though, it seems as if Donnie Darko is too concerned on the supernatural phenomena to the extent that it is really difficult to avoid the impression of irrelevance of the events depicted in the film to the real life. However, this is probably the main point that helps fully realize the imaginative power of human mind the creator of the film probably wanted to convince the audience in.
In actuality, it is quite difficult to determine whether the author of the film manages to do it or not since the audience of the film can be quite large. On the one hand, it will be quite interesting to watch this film to the adults who have children, especially if they are in their adulthood, since the film will help them better realize the problems of their children. It is obvious that, despite certain exaggeration and probably hyperbolic depiction of the inner state of Donnie and his imagination, the main character has problems similar to those many other adolescent have and it is very important to their parents to realize these problems and help their children. On the other hand, it will be equally interesting to adolescents to watch this film and be inspired by the possibility to change their life dramatically for better by revealing their own hidden potential just like the main character of the film does.
Unquestionably, the language of the film plays an important role as the vehicle delivering the author’s message to the audience. In fact, the language is quite simple and quite close to the language of adolescent that adds a substantial degree of realism and credibility to the film. On the other hand, the supernatural moments in the film are extremely hyperbolized. No wonder that Frank, been just a purple bunny, turns to be of enormous size that probably indicates at the enormous power of Donnie’s imagination.
Remarkably, it is only the main character who is able to see Frank that indicates at the direct relationship of the film to concept of the imaginative journey since the main character starts his journey at night when nobody can see him and he communicates with his imaginative friend whom nobody else is able to communicate with. At the same time, it is actually not Donnie who finds Frank, but, in contrast, it is Frank that invites Donnie to this imaginative journey.
Sound of silence by Simon and Garfunkel
Another noteworthy work that is closely related to the concept of the imaginative journey is the song Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel. In fact, the narrator of the song attempts to convey to the audience his loneliness and his inability to open the eyes of surrounding people to his own observations. To put it more precisely, the authors of the song obviously focus on the internal world of the narrator underlying that he possesses certain knowledge that goes far beyond the knowledge of ordinary people and he receives this knowledge in restless dreams’ as he walked alone’. Obviously, the narrator realizes his solitude, notably he turns to be alone in his knowledge but he wants to convey his knowledge to other people of which they remain totally ignorant:
Fools said I you do not know,
Silence like a cancer grows;
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you
(Simon and Garfunkel)
However, he remains alone with darkness, his old friend’. In such a way, the authors of the song attempted to show the audience that often that people like the narrator, which probably possess some sacred knowledge, could be a kind of prophets but often they remain unheard by masses of people who turned to be simply mesmerized by the technological achievements of the modern world, rapid rhythm of life, and material values. As a result, the real prophets remain unheard while
¦ the people bowed and prayed,
To the Neon guide they made
(Simon and Garfunkel)
Obviously, the target audience of the authors of this song is all people who worship modernity and who are simply got lost in the modern life which leaves little room for reflections and self-expression. In fact, the narrator in his imaginative journey turns to be totally alone even though there were ten thousand people may be more’ but the problem all these people face was their inability to listen and speak to each other. As a result, the narrator turned to be the only one who realized the fact that people communication is absolutely fictitious and, even though they talk to each other they do not really perceive or send any significant and meaningful message. Paradoxically, the only person, who wants to open their eyes and whose words really have sense, remains unheard.
The authors of the song manage to make their message quite persuasive due to the language of their work which is highly metaphoric and allegoric. No wonder that darkness’ turns to be the narrator’s old friend’ that naturally contributes to the creation of quite a gloomy mood of the whole song. This impression grows stronger when the silence like a cancer grows’ and nobody hears the narrators words.
Symbolically, the narrator is able to look beyond the surrounding reality only when he sleeps and sets out in the imaginative journey as
¦ a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
(Simon and Garfunkel)
Moreover, he turns to be alone who is conscious of this imaginative journey which still disturbs him for
The vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains, within the sounds of silence
(Simon and Garfunkel)
In such a way, he makes his imaginative journey at nights when nobody can watch him and this journey gives him a profound insight of the modern world.
Probably, such imaginative journeys are particularly the characteristic of children since childrens’ imagination is incomparably richer than that of adults this is why the latter often refer to children in order to reveal the concept of the imaginative journey. For instance, the image Bedtime Aviation may be viewed as an attempt of the artist to show that children can experience absolutely different emotions during the bedtime and that they are really able to free themselves from all biases and restrictions adults set on them. In fact, the artist probably intends to show that it is during the bedtime children can reveal their internal self and explore the surrounding world objectively without any external interference from the part of adults or other children.
Basically, the image shows the audience that children can have their own needs, and even their own little universe where they can journey freely and independently. As a result, there arises the possibility of unperceived existence hidden from the rest of the world and known only to a particular child. In this respect, the artist’s use of symbols is particularly important. For instance, at the left side of the image it is possible to see a forest which may be perceived as a place where children can hide from the surrounding reality and, being on their own, explore the world or even create their own one, leading a life different from the one known to other people.
At the same time, the forest is also important from the point of view of its real or imaginary existence. To put it more precisely, it is often argued that if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Obviously, in terms of this image it is the imaginary world of the child flying at the bedtime that is this tree. In actuality, using the forest as a symbol, the artist really poses a dilemma the audience is supposed to solve whether the unique world of the child really exists, being real but hidden from other people and even from the conscience of the child, or probably, it is just the imagination of the child.
Consequently, the image symbolically conveys the imaginative journey of the child and indicates at the possibility of unperceived existence which people are ignorant of but some times and for some people this hidden part of their existence becomes obvious.
The latter is perfectly illustrated by the famous novel Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie who underlines that only children are able to perceive this hidden existence which is considered to be simply imaginary. No wonder that it is only children who turned to be able in the book to travel in the mysterious Neverland and possess supernatural abilities which they gradually lose as they grow up (Barrie 1996). In all probability, the author attempted to underline that as a person grows older he/she loses the ability to create an imaginary world, to believe in miracles, and actually live in a parallel reality unperceivable for adults.
This book perfectly illustrates how contrasting the worlds of children and adults can be to the extent that even those who managed to travel to Neverland in their childhood turn to be unable to return their in their adulthood nor believe in its existence (Barrie 1996). As a result, it is even difficult to clearly define the audience the book targets at since it seems to be quite interesting and thought provoking for both children and adults. In fact, children can learn that their parents and other adults cannot fully understand them simply because the world of children is different from that of adults. On the other hand, this book reminds adults about their own childhood and their own imaginary world they believed so sincerely in but in their adulthood they are disillusioned and simply cannot view the world the same way their children do.
Actually, the main message of the book is easily perceived to a significant extent due to the simple language of the novel which is comprehensible and easy for the perception of children. At the same time, the author manages to create a distinctive difference between the position of adults and children basically due to the transition from reality to the imaginary world of children which may be quite hurtful when the child faces the adult real world that obviously symbolize the responsibilities of adulthood the children would inevitably face.
Similarly to the previous works discussed, Peter Pan also refers to the concept of the imaginative journey since the main characters sets out in their journey at night when nobody can watch them and they fly to the country which imaginative nature is evident from its name, Neverland (Barrie 1996). Consequently, it is natural to wonder whether this country has ever existed or not and what is this country like for each individual child that travels there.
Obviously, the concept of the imaginative journey is the factor uniting all the four works discussed above since all these works refer to the problem of the confrontation of the real and imaginary world. On the one hand, there is severe and dull reality where people are isolated like Donnie, or unheard, like the narrator of the Sound of Silence, or simply live in their own childish world as the Bedtime Aviation and Peter Pan depict. All these works inevitably poses the question whether this imaginary world is real or not. In actuality, it is really difficult to definitely say that the world created in these works really exist since it is not perceived by other people but only by the main characters or narrator. On the other hand, it is really strange to ignore this world as it occupies a significant place in the life of individuals, especially children.
Speaking about the concept of the imaginative journey, it is necessary to point out that this is quite a complicated complex that may be viewed from different position, it may be criticized or supported but to properly understand it, it is necessary to carefully analyze a variety of works. In this respect, it should be said that the works may vary dramatically. For instance, I believe that Peter Pan may be not less significant in the comprehension of the concept of the imaginative journey than Charles Darwin: The Conservative Revolutionary or The Town Where Time Stands Still.
At fist glance, the three works mentioned above are totally different. On the one hand, there is Peter Pan, a literary work basically targeting at the children audience, on the other hand, there are documentary works such as Charles Darwin: The Conservative Revolutionary, representing a profound discussion of the discovery and achievements of Charles Darwin and criticism of his work, as well as The Town Where Time Stands Still which is rather a philosophical work.
Unquestionably, each author represents a particular view on the concept of the imaginative journey though it is not always directly referred to. Nonetheless, it should be pointed out that Peter Pan, for instance, rather refers to individuals emotions provoking feelings that are closely associated with the childhood of the reader regardless his/her actual age. In fact, this book is basically fabulous and does not pretend to be perceived as a scientific treatise.
In stark contrast, it is the representation of the author’s subjective view on the possibility of the existence of the alternative world which is not perceived by the vast majority of people but is open only for a few that are selected by a supernatural force, or a miraculous being that leads the main character along with the reader to the imaginary and unperceived world.
In this respect, the main characters of Peter Pan who manages to look beyond the reality resemble Charles Darwin who managed to overcome the existing biases and look at the nature and development of the Earth and life from a different point of view, perfecting and polishing the theory of evolution. Unlike Peter Pan it is a purely scientific work with serious scientific arguments assessing the work of Charles Darwin but, what is more important is the fact that the author attempts to realize how the scientist managed to overcome the boundaries of the existing stereotypes and develop a theory that revolutionized not only scientific but philosophical, religious, and social views of that epoch and affected dramatically the further development of the mankind with his book that is highly speculative, philosophical, invariably fatuous and embarrassment for later generations (Charles Darwin: The Conservative Revolutionary, p.184). Obviously, the author stands on the ground that it is basically due to the creative power of his imagination Charles Darwin turned to be able to set out in the imaginative journey and on the basis of his experience as well as the past experience of other scientists who worked on the similar problems he created the new theory of evolution that was different from those of his predecessors but without them its creation could be hardly possible.
As for The Town Where Time Stands Still, this work tends to be quite philosophical since it does not deal with purely scientific facts nor it is fully absorbed in the fairy tale world. Instead, the author attempts to show that throughout different epochs people rather tended to wait when some external power will take them into the imaginative journey with the help of which they could be able to look beyond the horizon of the perceived reality and make some discoveries which could enrich their experience dramatically and broaden their eyesight (The Town Where Time Stands Still).
Language techniques and meaning
On analyzing the three works, it should be said that the language of each of them contributes substantially to the proper perception of the concept of the imaginative journey, though the language is basically indirect and quite symbolic. In this respect, Peter Pan seems to be the easiest for perception and understanding of the difference between the real world and the unperceived world of human fantasies and imagination. The Town Where Time Stands Still seems to be more symbolic and less direct since the concept of imaginative journey is rather conveyed by means of allegoric comparison of travelers in time to travelers in imaginary world. In other words, those travelers who strived for new discoveries at different epochs may be identified with those who are different from others and, being on their own, they turn to be able to make the most important discoveries overcoming social and ideological barriers as Charles Darwin actually did at his epoch.