Journey to the Interior

Essay by paydayS February 2005

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'Journey to the Interior' by Margaret Atwood is a text that uses physical or material things to demonstrate an inner journey. It uses the metaphor of the Canadian landscape to explain the journey of life and the inner journey of self-discovery. The title 'Journey to the Interior' implies of a journey from the exterior reality to the inner depths of the human psyche. In historical times the title would imply the discovery of a new land, exploration into the unknown that could involve danger. Similar idea is presented in this poem, Margaret Atwood is delving into the mysteries of the human mind, uncertain and apprehensive "many have been here, but only some have returned safely".

'Journey to the Interior' begins with the persona speaking to the audience in first person, which creates intimacy between the persona and the responder. The first stanza talks about similarities between the human psyche and the environment.

'There are similarities...' introduces the poem straight away; let the responder become curious and wonders to fill the empty. By using physical analogy, Atwood suggest the same theories apply in the journey within. For instance, a Prairie is a metaphor for having no obstacles or guidelines in life. It is an open expanse of land where you have many choices in where you go on that piece of land. It is the same notion when it comes to inner journey. Atwood also suggest that the journey within is not easy as people thought of it, 'cliff is not known as rough except by hand', the journey within ' is not the easy going from point to point. A dotted line on a map' implies a similar idea with the romantics that human potential cannot be mapped; science cannot explain human conditions. Although that the process of discovery is...