Monday, March 30, 2009

An Imaginary Life

David Malouf's "An Imaginary Life" was an ingenious and poetic approach to Ovid Naso's exile. This place in the book was unamed, as no one seems to know EXACTLY where Ovid was after exile. It allowed the reader to wander freely about the theme, experiencing life from all aspects of the self. Ovid was placed in an unkown place in which was an unknown tongue, but he soon learned the language and the people and discovered the Child who was wild.

Ovid being a poet, language was important. Well understanding a native language in place of residency is generally important. But as an upperclass poet of a distant land, he had thought that this new language was not so pretty and lyrical. He learns to accept it. In fact, upon caring for this wild boy, he decides to teach the boy language or sounds in this land's tongue. He says he once knew a language once (latin) that he must rediscover it again.

It seems that his story was of transformation, but not necessarily into anything, just change, metamorphosis. He says, "I must drive out my old self and let the universe in....the spirit of things will migrate back into us....Only then will we have som vision of our true body as men."

Its as though he must get rid of anything that he thought made him a man or human or his personality, and relearn life again in truth. Its ironic since he tries to humanize the Child, by giving him a specific language. The language in itself is ironic, since Ovid probably defined himself through his poetics. This whole time of teaching hte Child and even finding the child during hunting parties, he is conflicting wihtin with his relationship wiht his dad and deceased brother. He is also conflicting of how he fits in with the people he lives with.

Ovid seems most close and comfortable around the Child. Its as thought the Child represents what he used to be, simple, and eventually trapped, and then at last free, simple again. After the old man dies in the home, he takes the child and leaves, as there is lack of protection for them. Once they are out in the wild, and he realizes the Child has no destination, he feels free. Free from complexity of time, language, society.

Life goes on. We, individually, may die, but something else lives. While we live, we must learn from the past, learn from life. Hell, just learn to live in this universe rather than separating ourselves from everything in it. The separation seems to cause the trouble, the wars, the internal conflict, the other external conflicts with people and nature.

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