Physical Journeys Are Journeys In Search Of Identity Do You Agree Or Disagree

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Journeys are an aspect that is imperative for progression in life, whether it be a journey from one country to another or from one’s house to the town centre. No matter what, billions of people around the world are travelling on a particular type of physical journey. But what sets these journeys apart are their purposes. The purpose for a journey to be undertaken can vary greatly from religious enlightenment and colonising to seeking knowledge and psychological growth.

On all types of journeys, the traveler is in search of identity. Sometimes, the “search” is not intentional, but results from reaching the goal. This search can involve the traveler understanding both positive and negative facets about themselves, including articles, perspectives and traits. The identity, which they are searching for, is what makes the traveler unique and identifies them from others. The identity can help distinguish and appreciate a person or their own belief, culture and origin, as well as giving insights into who they are and the core values that are key constituents for their lives.

In texts of a variety of genre, there is an indication of a physical journey, whether it be physically moving in a fantasy world or travelling in the “real” world. The character may sometimes not indicate any revelations in a change of identity, but the reader would be exposed to this new identity through changes in tone and attitude.

However, there can be slight variations in the reception and expression of the new identity, as well as how the search of identity is conveyed to the reader. An example of texts that explore the journey of self identity and its variations include “Feliks Skrzynecki”, “Leaving Homes” and “Crossing the Red Sea” by Peter Skrzynecki, “Are we there yet” directed by Brian Levant and “Ice Station ” by Matthew Reilly.

The journey of an individual can result in the deeper understanding of one’s self whether it is intentionally or as a product of the journey. This concept is quite prevalent in journeys as conveyed through a different tone, perspective or attitude when the individual reaches their destination. “Feliks Skrynecki” contains the aspect of a journey which results in a search for identity. The poem recaps the experiences of the poet’s father and his perspectives of him. It conveys the journey that the poet is on where his purpose was to be in search for a new life, but unintentionally, it becomes also a journey in search of identity. The poet learns more about his relationship with his father, where he describes him as “never once heard him complain” and “softness of his blue eyes”.

The poet also mentions an understanding in their own personality, where he states that his father is “happy as I have never been”. Here, he provides an insight into the development of his identity and realisation which causes the gap between the two, to grow. This is also shown through the varying tones, where the poem progress from a literal to a metaphorical tone, conveying the ideas of change through deviations in the tones portrayed.
This is also seen with the film, “Are we there yet?” directed by Brian Levant. The primary character, Nick has a dislike towards kids where he describes them as “snotty little brats”. On Nick’s journey his sole purpose was to befriend a lady, but the only way to capture her heart, was through her kids. He had criticized her kids on many occasions such as “She’s got two kids and a broken down car” and “Oh man, she’s a breeder,” but through many trials and tribulations that the kids and he endured together, Nick starts to get along with the kids. The trial and tribulations, such as losing the kids and his new SUV, have allowed him to grow with a better understanding and perspective of others. This search of identity was not intentional or planned but resulted from the journey. The texts also help to reinforce the fact that the development of an identity is a fundamental and unavoidable aspect of a journey.

The concept of the search of identity can also vary in what is “found” as a result from the search. Such results can include a change in perspectives, traits and are an appreciation of one’s culture and background or the questions of who they are. This is quite evident in Peter Skrzynecki’s poem “Leaving Home” and “Crossing the Red Sea”.

In “Leaving Home”, the reader is given an insight into the poet’s experiences in finding work. On this journey, the purpose was only to find work to support his family, but there is also the investigation of the concept of being unprepared for a journey.

Whilst the poet is waiting “three hours for a two minutes interview,” it had given him time to ponder on who he is and what he is doing. This emphasizes the search of identity that the poet experiences, but his search results in confusion as compared to the surrealist images of “pall-bearers” and “severed heads”.

Furthermore, on this journey, the poet also gains a greater insight into himself, where his anger and frustration takes over him. This frustration and anger is derived from the sudden deployment he receives from the Department of Education. His anger is noted through the allusion the poet makes, to “Scipio Africanus”, a Roman Military Hero. “Scipio Africanus” was a Roman who would portray rebellious attitude to his superiors when angry. This was the feelings that possessed him which made him capable of becoming his “own Scipio Africanus.”

However, the poem concludes with a negative tone, as the poet is still in search of his full identity as well as the appreciation and understanding of himself. The imagery that fills the last stanza signifies the confusion where the “naked hairless bodies” which are “the color sour milk” are “laughing in the rain.” These images from Chagall’s paintings portray a distorted reality which reflects the thoughts of the poet as he faces alienation in a world that is foreign to him.

“Crossing the Red Sea” also conveys a journey for the search of identity. The travelers are “neither master nor slaves” emphasizing that the travelers are in a sense of limbo and are in search of who they are after the war. The search for identity is also prevalent in the poem through the isolation, as they speak of the “secrets” in “exile” and the striking images of “sunken eyes” and how they “watch a sunset, they would never see again.”
The title “Crossing the Red Sea” also contains a strong biblical allusion to the story in Exodus of how Moses saved the slaves. This has been influenced by the cultural context of the poet, Peter Skrzynecki, in which him being a strong Christian. In the same situation as the slaves, he was also in search of freedom through understanding who he was and what his purpose is.

The description of the traveler as being “unshaven” also reinforces their search as they are “dead” to the world, living a life they have no control over. Having no luxuries, the only aspect keeping them going was time passing as they searched for a new home. Along the journey, the travelers onboard also ponder and reflect on their past. Different insights are given where one is of “red poppies” and the other of “red blood” signifying a contradiction as well as the mixed thoughts that control them as they travel on this long and exhausting journey.

Matthew Reilly’s novel “Ice Station” also explores the concept of a journey having the fundamental fact of the search of identity. Shane Schofield, the protagonist marine of the story, intentionally goes in search of his identity. His mission was first to protect an object found in Antarctica, but as he fulfils this goal, he also learns more about himself. For instance, he starts to value the life of the young and innocent, where before; he had no regard for them. He also starts to understand to whom his true friendships and allegiances lies to. This is due to the fear and isolation he experiences, where his own men and government turn against him to keep the mission a secret.

Furthermore, Matthew Reilly clearly uses a pair of glasses as a metaphor for identity. Schofield is a person who, after an accident, has experienced serious distortions to his eyes. In order to feel comfortable, he wears special tinted glasses, to prevent others from seeing his eyes. But this can be interpreted into the glasses and the distortions being the barrier to him understanding and appreciating himself. As the story progresses, Schofield is forced to take his glasses off due to a particular situation he faces. The symbolic representation of taking the tinted glass off can signify his acceptance of his appearance and willingness of not to be limited in his understanding and appreciation of himself.

The search of identity is an unavoidable fundament of a physical journey where the traveler grows in knowledge as well as in appreciation of who they are. It is apparent in all text especially “Immigrant Chronicles” by Peter Skrzynecki, “Are we there yet” directed by Brian Levant and “Ice Station” by Matthew Reilly. No matter how long the journey or however complex the purpose may be, the traveler will always learn a new aspect of who they are such as the strengths of their willpower or even their nature that motivates them to journey on, even after facing the trials and tribulation which confronts them.

Skrzynecki, Peter. Immigrant Chronicle.

Reily, Matthew. Ice Station

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